Is cooking on batteries really a good idea?

Is cooking on batteries really a good idea?

Conventional wisdom tells us that using batteries for thermal applications is generally not a good idea, as they are expensive and using high-grade electrical energy to produce lower grade heat energy would be inefficient. However a new article published in Sustainable Energy Technologies and Assessments explores this proposition in the context of ever decreasing battery costs and increasing battery performance. Find out more at or go directly to the article:

Brown, E. et al., 2017. eCook: What behavioural challenges await this potentially transformative concept? Sustainable Energy Technologies and Assessments. Available at: [Accessed June 21, 2017].


This paper aims to identify and understand the challenges that may confront the scaling up of a proposed battery electric cooking concept (Batchelor 2013), eCook, which offers the potential for emission free cooking, with time/money savings and broader environmental benefits from reduced fuelwood/charcoal consumption. By drawing on the literature on the transition to electric cooking in South Africa and more broadly, literature from across the Global South analysing the uptake of ICS (improved cookstoves), LPG (liquid petroleum gas) and solar home systems, this study identifies the factors (e.g. successful delivery models and marketing strategies) that have enabled these innovations to reach scale. This knowledge is then related to the eCook concept, by identifying the potential users of this promising technology and outlining potential marketing strategies, as well as a user-focused iterative design process, that will enable social enterprises to reach them. Uptake is predicted to be most rapid in hot climates where fuelwood/charcoal is purchased and low energy diets and low power cooking devices are the standard. Mobile enabled fee-for-service (utility) business models, the establishment of a service network, awareness raising campaigns on the benefits of clean cooking, female-focussed training programmes and bundling eCook systems with locally appropriate appliances to enable productive activities are seen as key to reaching scale.

Jon Sumanik-Leary

Appropriate renewable energy technology has been the defining theme of my research to date - creating technology that is accessible and adaptable to the needs of the people that use it. I work across the academic disciplines, borrowing techniques from both the social sciences and engineering to give a more complete understanding of both the technology itself and the role it plays in people's lives. I am currently a Research Associate with the LCEDN at Loughborough University and the coordinator of the Wind Empowerment association.

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