Using EPC’s to cook could save electricity consumers money, timeA team from CREEC demonstrates EPC cooking at a recent public exhbition
The findings imply tangible benefits for environmental conservation, health living and electricity usage in Uganda, which is currently grappling with a huge bill from un-demanded electricity generation.
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The Electricity Regulatory Authority has introduced a discounted cooking tariff for 70kWh for every user monthly, in a bid to encourage electricity usage.
Combined with the cost reductions delivered by the EPC, consumers could maximise yield from the tariff
Consumers in Uganda could make significant cost and time savings, if they adapted to using electric pressure cookers, to cook long lead-time items such as beans and beef. The studies also found that 83pc of the dishes typically eaten in Uganda can be cooked using an electric pressure cooker, significantly expanding the potential for savings by households.
Research by the Makerere University based CREEC -Centre for Research in Energy and Energy Conservation- shows that using electric pressure cookers EPC, was the most energy and time efficient option for preparing meals that a long time to cook; saving between 60-90pc of the cost of energy and half the time. For instance, a consumer cooking beans stew would use only 0.6Kilowatt hours (kWh) using an EPC compared to 2.1kWh if they used an electric hotplate. The comparable figures for cooking matooke would be 0.35kWh and 1.1kWh respectively.
The findings imply tangible benefits for environmental conservation, health living and electricity usage in Uganda, which is currently grappling with a huge bill from un-demanded electricity generation. The Electricity Regulatory Authority has introduced a discounted cooking tariff for 70kWh for every user monthly, in a bid to encourage electricity usage. Combined with the cost reductions delivered by the EPC, consumers could maximise yield from the tariff.
An EPC is also more time efficient, saving users half the time to achieve the same level of doneness for a range of dishes. It will take just about 50minutes to cook steamed Matooke using an EPC. The comparable time using an electric hotplate or charcoal stacks in at 1.5hrs and 1.40mins. The time savings increase exponentially when dry or soaked beans.
EPC are also more efficient than other forms of energy such as charcoal and cooking gas. It would require 3hrs and 2min to cook dry beans using charcoal; 3hrs and4min with an electric hotplate, 2hrs.47 min using LPG and just 2hrs 11 min using an EPC. In terms of money, cooking soaked beans on EPC was found to be 73pc cheaper than
using a hotplate while a household can save UGX300 per cooking episode than if they used charcoal.
“When disaggregating cooking by different cooking tasks and activities, we observe the energy and cost saving potential of an EPC is particularly high for activities that require long-term steaming and boiling,” CREEC says.
Cooking Matooke to steaming stage will cost UGX 1921 using LPG, UGX 799 on an electric hotplate, UGX476 using a charcoal stove and just UGX257 on an EPC. CREEC says it is this comparative cost that has driven many households to use LPG as a backup energy source rather than a utility.
The savings are derived from the EPC’s insulation and pressurization features, which allow cooking to continue, even after the power source has been disconnected. During a typical cooking cycle for beef stew for instance, the bulk of energy demand is expended during the boil phase. That would require 1.03kWh using a hotplate and just 0.2kWh with an EPC. Comparable figures for beans are 1.5kWh for the hotplate and 0.3kWh for the EPC.
The studies also showed that on average, households in Kampala cooked beans three to five times a week. Annualised, such a level of usage could translate into huge monetary savings.
CREEC is now trying to engage EPC manufacturers to add menus for cooking local foods to the digital user interfaces on EPC electronic touchpads to ease usage by locals. Plans are also underway to procure large capacity EPC’s than can be used in institutional settings such as schools and prisons, who are among the biggest users of biomass for cooking in Uganda.