Clean Cooking Program

Enabling a successful long-term energy transition with household data.

Our Goal

Uncover insights that will enable all households to transition to clean cooking. We are committed to tackling complex questions, testing new solutions, and working alongside our partners to guide the adoption of clean cooking solutions for everyone, everywhere.

The Challenge

Every day, 3 billion people rely on indoor fires fueled by biomass or coal to cook their daily meals.

Not only is the resulting household smoke a significant contributor to climate change, but it is also responsible for nearly 4 million deaths from respiratory diseases each year—more than malaria, TB, and HIV/AIDS combined. The solution to this life-threatening issue lies in the energy transition: enabling households to rely on cleaner fuels and technologies. As a result, large-scale efforts and resources are being directed towards low- and middle-income countries to replace unsafe and polluting cooking practices with clean cooking solutions.

Yet, clean household energy continues to be out of reach for many communities worldwide.

The distribution of clean stoves does not always result in actual sustained usage of cleaner energy over time. At Nexleaf, we are committed to discovering the ground truth about cookstove usage in order to make a real impact on the lives of millions of people. We have developed and innovated ways to use technology to monitor cooking and better understand household behavior and the barriers to a successful clean energy transition.

How We Use Data to Chart the Path Forward

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1 Our Approach

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Collecting Objective Data to Understand Women’s Needs

We operate on the principle that we should not expect women to adapt to new cooking solutions, but that cooking solutions should be designed and adapted to meet the full range of women’s needs. Directly measuring cookstove use reveals insights that can inform the design of delivery infrastructure. For example, using our sensor monitoring technology, we have found that clean cookstove use often declines over time due to poor durability, lack of maintenance services, and other discrepancies between what is provided and what the user needs.

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Measuring Impact Based on Usage, Not Just Access

Globally, the success of clean cooking initiatives is measured by access to improved stoves and clean fuel supply. While access is the first vital step to a successful energy transition, in order to have any impact on health and climate, clean stoves must be utilized as a long-term alternative to traditional fuels. By developing models for the direct measurement of stove use, we aim to provide more robust approaches to assessing clean cooking impact.

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Getting Reliable Data to the People Who Need It

Millions of dollars each year are invested in new clean cooking interventions from both the private and public sectors. Yet, data from households using the cookstoves does not always make it to governments, key decision makers, or financial systems. Nexleaf works alongside partners to raise the bar for data in the clean cooking sector and build systems for data-driven financing.

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Learn More About Our Clean Cooking Work


Seeking the Ground Truth in Clean Cooking: Will the Cleanest Stoves Actually Reduce the Most Emissions?

There is far too much evidence of improved stoves falling into disuse for us to assume that distributing a clean stove will have the intended impact on air quality, wood fuel use, or health.

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Mirage or premonition? An apparition gives us a rare view of a clean energy future

On the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day the COVID-19 crisis has shown us how quickly our collective action can help the Earth heal.

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Clean Cooking: Let the Data Speak for Itself

Getting to full adoption of clean cooking solutions is something we continue to investigate and advocate for.

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Read Our Data-Driven Reports

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Beyond Monitoring and Evaluation: 
Continuously Tracking Improved Cookstove Adoption Over Time to Achieve Lasting Success

We can’t fix problems we can’t see. If we do not track adoption of improved cookstoves continuously over time, stakeholders have little to no insight into ICS performance, user acceptability, or when design solutions are required to address these barriers.

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Transparent Climate and Health Metrics: An Open Data Dashboard and Wireless Platform for Cookstove Monitoring

This project lays the groundwork for sensor-enabled results based financing for improved cookstoves globally. A tremendous amount!of work was accomplished in developing new sensor integrated wireless platforms, climate and health metrics that can be implemented in a real-time platform for results-based financing, an open data platform, consensus across diverse  stakeholders on precise frameworks for monitoring, and a large amount of sensor data from  rural households across four states in India.

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StoveTrace: How Data Can Help Steer Clean Cooking in the Right Direction

Every year, four million people die from illnesses attributable to household air pollution. Black carbon (BC) is the second largest contributor to global warming, and emissions from traditional cooking practices are a significant global source of BC. For these reasons, changing how people cook has become a major public health and climate change priority.

The world rallied around a solution: introduce cleaner-burning, manufactured cookstoves for the rural poor. The only question that remained was how to make these “improved cookstoves” affordable for people who live on less than $2 a day…or so we thought.

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Scaling Clean Cooking Responsibly: Tackling air pollution through a woman-centered model in Abuja, Nigeria

Through this joint initiative, Nexleaf Analytics and Rural Women Energy Security (RUWES), with support from CCAC, set out to reimagine how we tackle household air pollution. Rather than focusing on changing deeply-entrenched and culturally-driven behaviors of local communities, we used data to understand household behavioral patterns (adoption) to guide the pilot and ultimately learn which cooking solutions are worth scaling up.

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Lessons learned from sensor-based monitoring of liquid fuel stoves in Nigeria

In 2019, Nexleaf applied Stovetrace to liquid fuel stoves— LPG, ethanol, and ethanol gel—for the first time as part of a pilot project in partnership with Rural Women Energy Security (RUWES) and with support from the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC). The pilot involved the distribution of 5 stove types to 50 women (10 women per stove) and a 6-month monitoring period using Stovetrace. The pilot aimed to identify the most reliable stoves for rural Nigerian women, and offered valuable lessons-learned on how sensors can play a role in clean cooking data collection.

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Program Manager

Megan Bomba

If you’re interested in learning more about
our work or how to partner with us,
contact Megan Bomba at