Millions of households in India still rely on inefficient, smoky traditional biomass stoves for their daily cooking needs. Despite this huge potential market for more fuel-efficient, cleaner-burning cookstoves and fuels, and more than three decades of government support, sales of clean cooking products are meagre and the sector is critically weak.

In 2012, researchers from SEI and the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi carried out a survey of key actors in the clean cooking sector in Delhi to gain a better understanding of what was going wrong, and to seek possible ways to stimulate the market. They applied a technical innovations system approach, looking at how the sector is structured, what rules govern it, and what was the status of a range of concurrent and mutually reinforcing processes that are needed to underpin a vibrant, self-sustaining commercial market.

This policy brief summarizes the findings of their research for a policy-making audience. It also introduces another strand of research under the project, carried out by the Department of Applied Environmental Science at Stockholm University together with the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology. This measured the contribution of biomass burning to the health- and climate-afflicting black carbon aerosols in the brown cloud of atmospheric pollution over India.

The policy brief is based on the SEI working paper Technology Innovation in the Indian Clean Cooking Sector: Identifying Critical Gaps in Enabling Conditions (forthcoming).

Download the policy brief here.