Bboxx: Affordable tech-driven service for clean cooking devices in Africa

At A Glance:
Who: Bboxx
What: Clean cooking solutions
Where: Rwanda and the DRC
Why: Improve living standards while reducing fossil fuel usage
When: September 2023 

The challenge 

More than 759 million people in the world remain without access to electricity, of which 570 million are located in Africa. An additional 840 million are connected to volatile grids with unpredictable reliability. Some three billion do not have access to clean cooking while 1.7 billion adults do not have access to financial services like banks. 

The solution 

Bboxx’s clean cooking services provide clean energy technology and affordable financial options to empower communities while reducing the impact that cooking can have on the planet in developing countries by cutting back on fossil fuel usage and deforestation. 

How the project works 

Bboxx has launched a new technology suite aimed at scaling cleaning cooking access across Africa, with Rwanda and DRC acting as the first testing ground.  

The Smart Cooking Valve gives households and communities access to clean and cheaper liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) cooking solutions. These households would otherwise depend on fossil fuels and unreliable grids to be able to cook. 

Each device deployed allows one household to stop using charcoal, but the real benefit is that Bboxx utilises a data-driven platform to provide clean energy solutions in a cost-effective manner. 

The service offers an array of clean cooking stove solutions that can be utilised off-grid alongside financing options that makes the purchase possible for households in low-income and developing countries. 

The Smart Cooking gas-locking valve device can be remotely controlled based on the household’s mobile money payments, which are directly attached to the LPG cylinder. This creates a “pay-as-you-cook” model which allows customers to access gas at a daily rate, when needed, that frees them from the high upfront cost that purchasing a cylinder would otherwise require. It also grants them just the amount of gas they need, further reducing costs. 

Additionally, Bboxx can monitor the clean cooking uptake at the household level – enabling full transparency and generating trusted impact and carbon reporting, meaning that businesses can also fund and support the initiative, comfortable in the knowledge that their funding is delivering carbon savings. 

Bboxx launched the product in Rwanda and DRC and will roll out the product across all 10 of its operational markets in 2024. Bboxx plans to partner with LPG companies to scale access to clean cooking LPG to reach more than 10 million households by 2028, impacting more than 50 million people, and saving more than 60 million trees each year. 

The results 

Each device deployed allows one household to stop using charcoal, and therefore avoids the cutting down of 6 trees and the emission of 2 tons of CO2 each year. In addition, it will help to eliminate household air pollution, which causes a wide range of ill health effects and is responsible for an estimated 3.2 million deaths per year. 

Business benefits 

Based on five years of testing, the Pay-as-you-cook subscription model helps promote the sustained uptake of gas to fully displace charcoal. Customers are also able to gradually acquire ownership of their LPG cylinder, further lowering the barriers to clean cooking adoption and building a more equitable model of energy distribution. 

The solution has also been designed to address multiple Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including reducing household reliance on harmful biomass fuels such as charcoal, providing affordable clean energy, improving health outcomes, and contributing to carbon emissions reduction across the continent.  

Investment savings 

The solution offers a cheaper alternative to traditional charcoal basins and reduces the average daily cost of cooking energy by 10%. 

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