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Philips Supplies Cooking Stoves and Solar LED Lighting in South Africa
Dec 16, 2011
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Royal Philips Electronics supplied sustainable cooking stoves and solar-driven LED home lighting to 200 households in the South African Ilembe district. Philips was the private partner in an event held last week that showcased its low-carbon solutions to improve the lives of those in rural communities without access to the electricity grid.

The event was initiated by South African President Jacob Zuma and attended by UN officials Helen Clark (UNDP) and Kandeh Yumkella (UNIDO).

30 new woodstoves were provided to improve the lives of those who rely on biomass for daily cooking. The specially designed stoves:
• are extremely efficient
• significantly reduce the cutting of trees for cooking as they use small twigs as fuel
• cuts carbon emissions by 90%
• cuts toxic fumes 95%, slashing the health risks of indoor cooking.

Because fuel is found quickly and easily close to home, women – who traditionally spend hours daily doing the home cooking - do not need to collect wood in unprotected areas. They also have more time for other occupations.

Philips Design won a 2008 IDEA industrial design award for its Chulha – low smoke biomass stove. It was designed to be easily and inexpensively made from local materials and to significantly reduce indoor pollution. Philips designed it to be used by those in developing societies who still cook indoors with biomass fuels (such as wood or dung). It quotes estimates that more than 1.6 million of such people die from respiratory illnesses each year.

Philips also supplied 200 LED solar home lighting systems, solar lanterns, and solar torches. The home lighting system has a central solar panel-charged battery pack that powers two LED lights. Eight hours of charging in the sun will provide enough light for an evening. The lights are cheaper to run than kerosene lamps, provide a higher quality light, and pose no fire risk.

"Today an estimated 560 million Africans live without electricity,’’ says JJ van Dongen, CEO for Philips Africa. “For these people nighttime means either darkness or the flickering light of a candle or kerosene lamp. However the disadvantages of Kerosene lanterns are many, including safety and health risks, high costs due to the link with oil prices. And the light output of these lanterns is so low as to make visibility almost impossible. Using the energy of the sun to power lighting solutions can make a true difference here."

Philips' partners in the project are UNIDO, the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the Industrial Development Corporation South Africa (IDC).

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