Research article

Controlled cooking tests comparing the financial, energy and time costs of different food and stove combinations in Nairobi, Kenya

  • Tash Perros orcid logo (University of Liverpool)
  • Mark O'Keefe (University College London)
  • James Mwitari (Kenya Medical Research Institute)
  • Lewis Gichane (Sun King)
  • Elisa Puzzolo (University of Liverpool)
  • Daniel Pope (University of Liverpool)

This article is a preprint and is currently undergoing peer review by UCL Open: Environment.


With a wide range of stoves and appliances available in the ever-evolving Kenyan cooking market, it is important to understand which options are the most cost, time and energy-efficient to use. This information can help households to make more informed decisions about their energy use and policy makers to better understand which solutions to promote. Despite its importance, the existing literature offers scant evidence to guide optimal stove and fuel choices. The prices of LPG, charcoal and kerosene varied considerably by variables such as brand and location, whereas ethanol and on-grid electricity were more stable. The electric pressure cooker (EPC) was the most cost and energy-efficient device. For LPG and charcoal, combining pre-soaking beans with a pressure cooker substantially reduced fuel consumption, but was still costlier than the EPC. The longitudinal comparison highlighted the dynamic nature of fuel prices in Kenya and how a household’s cost-optimal cooking stack can change at short notice. These findings demonstrate how comparative affordability varies both temporally and spatially and can be heavily affected by wider market and policy incentives.

Keywords: Controlled cooking tests, clean cooking, fuel savings, Kenya, sub-Saharan Africa, energy efficiency, Sustainability

Preprint Under Review