Qualcomm says Climate Credit Pilot Project to use SootSwap mobile app for clean cooking technologies

Telecom Lead India: Qualcomm says Project Surya’s Climate Credit Pilot Project (C2P2) will use SootSwap, a mobile application, for monitoring the use of clean cooking technologies in 2,000 households in India.

Over the past three years, SootSwap has been tested and validated both in the laboratory and through a pilot project involving more than 100 rural Indian homes in villages around Jagdishpur, a town in Uttar Pradesh.

The pilot phase of the initiative was aimed to demonstrate the benefits of the adoption of clean cookstoves. The mobile app can also be used for incentivizing the adoption of clean cooking technologies in India.

The 2,000 households will receive a clean cookstove via bank financing and a mobile phone equipped with a temperature sensor and the SootSwap application. Using these tools, these families will be allowed to link their reductions in black carbon emissions to carbon credits.

The project collaborators — Qualcomm Wireless Reach, Nexleaf Analytics, the Energy and Resources Institute New Delhi (TERI), Project Surya and the UK Department for International Development (DFID) — hope that the potential for earnings will motivate more families to use clean cookstoves.

According to Global Burden of Disease Study 2010, four million people die each year as a result of inhaling the smoke produced by cooking over these open fires.

At a cost of approximately $50–$100 each, clean cookstoves are currently unaffordable for the estimated three billion people worldwide living on less than $2 a day.

Estimates suggest that a family could earn enough money selling carbon credits on the carbon market to directly finance the purchase price of a clean cookstove within two to five years through a loan.

However, it is difficult and expensive to verify the reduction in carbon emissions produced by clean cookstoves, making it a challenge to apply carbon credits to the use of improved cooking technologies.

To address this issue, the SootSwap system includes a mobile phone-based temperature-sensing application and a thermal sensor that connects to a Brew CDMA or Android phone.

Each time the cookstove is fired up, the temperature increase activates the sensor. This temperature data is then wirelessly uploaded from the cellphone to a server where it is analyzed to indicate the number of times a stove is used and the duration of each use, enabling remote verification of stove usage.

This capability will create an opportunity to make data available to carbon market investors as proof of reduction in carbon emissions. Investors can then purchase the validated credits and transmit money directly to the families using the clean cookstoves.