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To learn more about the winners of the Cylinder Prize click here.

Access to reliable energy is essential for providing running water, heat, light, food and transport.

Poor access to energy has severe impacts on health, quality of life, education and economic productivity. There is also an important climate change dimension to energy issues, and international donor countries have, in recent years, increasingly looked to the developing world to pursue low-carbon pathways for economic growth.

Following consultation with around 100 experts in the sector, the Ideas to Impact Energy Access team has decided to focus on promoting clean alternatives to cooking with wood and charcoal.

The Clean Cooking Prize

Currently, 2.8 billion people rely on biomass for cooking, contributing significantly to global warming and resulting in a major public health issue. Household air pollution leads to conditions such as lung cancer and chronic lung disease, and increases the risk of women delivering low birth-weight babies.

Much of the activity in the clean cooking sector to date has focused on stoves which offer fuel efficiency but cannot meet WHO health standards for indoor air quality. This is primarily because healthy stoves (and fuels) are too expensive for many of the people who need them.

The main components of the Clean Cooking prize aims to induce innovation around delivery of truly clean cooking options for poorer households, specifically through the use of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). LPG is a clean-burning, portable and efficient fuel. Its unique properties make it a versatile energy source – it is a multi-purpose energy with many applications, is portable, and can be used virtually anywhere in the world.

The LPG prize will have several components, the first of these (the Cylinder Prize), launched on July 7, 2015 and more than 180 solvers from over 40 countries proposing solutions to address the problem of large numbers of aging and unsafe LPG cylinders that flood the market. The winners have been announced and the $37,000USD in prize money has been distributed. 

Future prize components include:


Our Energy Access team is focusing the remaining components of the Clean Cooking prize in Ghana, where there is considerable potential to reach large numbers of households with LPG.

We are discussing a number of options with government officials, private sector representatives and other stakeholders in Ghana. Options include improving access to LPG for less well-off households through new distribution models, and designing an innovative public education campaign to promote further LPG access. The prize will be integrated with other activities being implemented in Ghana including new policy initiatives currently being considered by the government.

The government of Ghana aims to have 50% of its population cooking with LPG by 2020 and Ideas to Impact hopes to play a significant role in helping achieve that goal.