In conjunction with a Global Clean Cooking Fuel Initiative (GCCFI) project that is being planned by the International Energy Initiative (IEI), Williams and Larson will carry out analyses to understand the technical feasibility and global energy and environmental implications of major shifts across the developing world to clean fluid cooking fuels. Among the topics they will examine are potential limits on LPG supplies, and the technical and economic prospects for providing some of the needed clean cooking fuels with DME made from natural gas, coal, and biomass in different regions of the world (building on our past research on DME production). They will also make comparisons of the LPG and DME cooking fuel options with other promising options such as ethanol gels.

Williams is a founding Board member of IEI and Larson just ended his term as IEI President. The IEI is a small independent non-governmental, international organization based in the developing countries whose mission is to promote the efficient production and use of energy for sustainable development. Williams and Larson recently helped define the GCCFI as a major new IEI activity aimed at helping catalyze the complete replacement of highly-polluting biomass and coal currently used for cooking by 2.6 billion people in the developing world (mostly in rural areas) with clean gas or liquid cooking fuels during the next 10-20 years.

The GCCFI is motivated by considerations that: (i) indoor air pollution from solid fuels is the second largest global environmental risk (after unsafe water) as a cause of premature mortality, and (ii) the drudgery of fuelwood gathering raises fertility (due to the need for children as fuelwood gatherers), gives women little opportunity to seek work outside the home, and limits education opportunities for children.

Much of the GCCFI activity will be carried out by IEI staff in Latin America (Brazil), Asia (India, China, Philippines), and Africa (Tanzania). These groups are beginning to develop analysis in support of recommendations and advocacy for national and regional strategies and policies for creating universal access to clean fuels and for guaranteeing universal provision of such fuels to the extent needed to satisfy basic human needs. The effort will eventually include major demonstration and implementation activities, as well as outreach and advocacy efforts to catalyze larger actions by governments (in developing and industrialized countries), international development assistance agencies, non-governmental organizations, and the private sector.