A case for clean cooking: Injera baking stove makes its debut in Ethiopia

April 6, 2016

Injera, a staple food in Ethiopia, is usually baked at least twice a week in a batch of 25 to 30 pieces, traditionally using fuel such as wood, cattle dung or other agro waste. The Injera baking process is the most energy-intensive household activity, accounting for over 50 per cent of the household energy consumption. Women are traditionally responsible for preparing Injera, and spend quite a lot of time and energy looking for firewood.
 
However, the process of baking Injera using biogas is now possible thanks to the National Biogas Programme of Ethiopia (NBPE). NBPE has developed a biogas-fuelled Injera baking stove. 
 
Since 2012, NBPE and partners from the Netherlands Development Organisation (SNV) have been supporting a researcher and the founder of GM Plc, Getu Alemayehu, from Amhara region, Ethiopia, to design the Injera baking stove. After several attempts, GM Plc managed to get uniform heat distribution throughout the wide “mitad” (a circular pan made of clay used for baking). Successful results from five households show that the improved stove can now bake quality Injeras.
 
“The biogas Injera stove is believed to play a significant role in the uptake of bio-digesters in Ethiopia through maximising its benefits. Moreover, it will improve the well-being of women who are the front users of this stove,” said Aster Haile, Renewable Energy Advisor at SNV Ethiopia. 
 
Biogas is a priority area for the Government of Ethiopia to reduce carbon emissions and create access to clean, efficient cooking and lighting solutions in rural areas. Through the Africa Biogas Partnership Programme, Hivos and SNV have been supporting the efforts of the Ethiopian government to promote clean and sustainable energy solutions like biogas through a market-based approach and aim for impact at scale.  
 
NBPE is hosted by Ethiopia’s Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Electricity (MoWIE). The Government has also been funding NBPE through subsidies. The rest of the funding is from the Directorate General for International Cooperation (DGIS) of the Netherlands through the African Biogas Partnership Programme (ABPP). While Hivos is the ABPP fund manager, SNV Netherlands Development Organisation is the Technical Assistance provider.   
 
Hivos and its partners demonstrate that green energy is not a pipe dream or an alternative, but simply the best choice. We do that by making simple, smart and clean technologies like bio-digesters or efficient wood stoves accessible to poor people in remote areas.