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Danjiang River Solar Cookers, China

Distributing free solar cookers to low income households, bringing health and financial benefits to more than 300,000 people

Project overview

  • Region: Asia

  • Project type: Household devices

  • Standards: Gold Standard

The Danjiang River Solar Cookers are designed to improve the indoor air quality and living conditions of 100,000 rural households in the Southwest of Henan Province, one of the poorer regions in China. The cookers consist of a 1.7m2 parabolic dish, which concentrates solar energy onto a central cooking pot and provides sufficient heat for cooking the local staple food of rice. Its design is ideal for the local diet and climatic conditions, with ample sunshine throughout the year. The cooker displaces traditional inefficient coal-fired cooking stoves, significantly reducing fuel consumption and indoor air pollution.

Sustainable Development Goals

In addition to delivering emissions reductions to help take urgent action to combat climate change (SDG 13), the project delivers a number of other sustainable development benefits. These include:

  • Affordable and Clean Energy: There are 50,000 solar cookers in operation throughout eight townships in the project area helping more than 300,000 people. The solar cookers completely displace older, inefficient fossil fuel-fired stoves through the use of renewable energy. The solar cookers eliminate the need for fuel during much of the year, reducing household expenditure for heating and cooking. Estimated annual savings are RMB 300 (US $50), which is more than 10% of the annual income of the poorest households. The thermal efficiency for a traditional coal furnace is 15%, in comparison to the solar cookers thermal efficiency of 65%.
  • Good Health and Wellbeing for People: Displacement of fossil fuel-based stoves with solar cookers bring the additional benefit of reducing indoor air pollution. As up to 58% of black carbon (or soot) emissions come from burning solid fuels for cooking and heating homes. Exposure to this indoor air pollution is a significant risk factor in respiratory-related diseases, particularly for women and children who are most frequently exposed. Exposure to smoke from open fire or inefficient fuels causes 605,000 deaths in China every year.

Read More information to find out how the project delivers other sustainable development benefits.

  • No Poverty: Within the project area, the local agricultural bureau invites households to take part in the project via local TV and posters. The bureau typically selects households which use coal as their fuel, have more than two people in the home and have a low or below (local) average income, allowing them to save a significant portion of their annual expenditure. 
  • Responsible Consumption and Production: This project enables the rural households to efficiently substitute solar energy for the fossil fuel used in daily cooking, water boiling, thus avoiding CO2 emissions that would be generated by fossil fuel consumption.

By reducing indoor air pollution and expenditure on fuel, the project is improving the quality of life for approximately 300,000 people, while generating 180,000 tonnes of emissions reductions each year.

With the support of carbon finance, solar cookers are distributed free of charge to low income households.

3 billion people from around the world depend on food cooked over pollution open fires. These cooking practices comprise 2-5% of annual greenhouse gas emissions worldwide

Project Drawdown

41% of the Chinese population uses wood, charcoal, coal and kerosene as a primary source of fuel for cooking.

Clean Cooking Alliance

Jiang Huanying’s Story

Jiang is a farmer living in Yanggang Village. She looks after her two children and her mother-in-law, while her husband works away in another town.

“The solar cooker is very useful, especially in the summer. We can boil a kettle of water in less than 10 mins. Previously it was not easy for us to buy coalball as we  live very far away from the town centre. Now with the solar cooker, it can save  us a lot of time and energy.”