Why is Kerosene so Bad for the Environment?

One of the reasons we’re on a mission to eliminate the need for kerosene lamps is their hugely detrimental environmental impact.

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Not only are kerosene lamps an ongoing expense and health hazard for families, they are also significant sources of CO2 and black carbon.

Every year, each kerosene lamp emits c. 135kg CO2. Now multiply that by over 1.1 billion people without access to electricity and you can start to see the significant contribution each lamp makes to climate change!

What is Black Carbon?

Black carbon is essentially soot - caused by inefficient burning of bio-fuels like kerosene. And kerosene lamps are extremely inefficient.  When they are burnt, 7-9% of their emissions are black carbon as opposed to diesel engines which only produce 0.01% black carbon during combustion.

Why is it so bad?

Black carbon is very bad for the environment as it absorbs sunlight at an even higher rate than CO2.  This means that it has a greater impact on global warming and climate change. In fact, 1kg of black carbon produces the same amount of atmospheric warming in a month as 700kgs of CO2 does in 100 years.

Collectively, kerosene lamps are responsible for 3% of global black carbon emissions.

It’s not all bad news!

Black carbon particles stay in the atmosphere for a fairly short period of time. This means that the sooner we can eradicate their use the sooner we can start seeing changes.  By eliminating kerosene lamps, we will be having a direct and rapid impact on climate change.As the Nobel Peace Prize winner Kirk R. Smith says:

There are no magic bullets that will solve all of our greenhouse gas problems, but replacing kerosene lamps is low hanging fruit.  We don’t have many examples of that in the climate world.

So by designing and producing clean, safe and affordable energy, we are not only working to empower homes and families but also to reduce the environmental footprint of these families.