Delegates being served lunch made by the EPC at the Collge of Engineering Design Art and Technology, Makerere University

In the month of August 2019, CREEC carried out a survey in 174 households in five districts with the intention of assessing the cooking needs for Ugandan communities and the acceptability of EPCs in a project funded by UKaid. On Monday I got the chance to join a very interesting meeting. The research project is part of a strategy by the UKaid to change the way of cooking in poor households in Africa and Asia. The program called Modern Energy Cooking Service (MECS) is aiming to get people away from using charcoal towards clean alternatives for cooking.The household cooking survey assessed what people use for cooking, cooking duration, cooking fuels and other cooking alternatives available to them and there willingness to adopt the EPCs. This survey will inform the funder  For those that have electricity MECS recommend electric pressure cookers (EPC) that are very efficient and already quite cheap on the international market. Preliminaliry, CREEC carried out a demonstration at the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development where officials experienced fast hand the effectiveness of the EPCs.

Since the main challenge was to explain to people that this technology can also handle traditional foods without compromise in taste, CREEC carried out a cooking demonstration using local foods. Other demonstrations were carried at Makerere University’s College of Engineering Design Art and Technology (CEDAT) to cook several traditional local dishes for demonstration. The introduction took place in a meeting hall at the college of engineering in front of around 50 people. The features of automatic control, insulation and pressurisation also enable the EPC to save a lot of energy, and therefore money.  What is more, the insulation allows it to continue cooking during short blackouts and also keeps food warm after cooking has finished.

The EPC (or multicooker) simply combines an electric hotplate, a pressure cooker, an insulated box and a fully automated control system. Unlike other cooking fuels that rely on combustion, electricity does not need air flow to create heat. It therefore opens up the possibility of the food being cooked in a highly insulated environment. This principle is used in many popular electric cooking appliances, such as rice cookers, slow cookers and thermo pots.  Having raised the temperature of the device to the cooking temperature, the insulation drastically reduces heat loss, meaning that little to no extra energy is required to continue to cook the food. Indeed this is the basis of the ‘fireless’ cooker, sometimes called Wonderbag or Lindamoto. 

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