Frugal energy innovations for developing countries - a framework

Glob Chall. 2016 Sep 30;1(1):9-19. doi: 10.1002/gch2.1012. eCollection 2017 Jan.


Frugal innovations have recently emerged to feature low-cost technologies and business innovations to serve consumers in emerging markets and improve their quality of life. Although the concept of frugality is well known, the present literature on frugal energy innovations, or energy frugality, is scarce, which could lead to overlooking its true characteristics. Therefore, we propose a framework for defining energy frugality based on a detailed analysis of several low-cost sustainable energy technologies. The five-criteria assessment method developed will help to identify potential frugal energy innovations and will increase the adoption of these technologies through better matching to local needs. Fuel-efficient biomass cooking stoves, small-scale photovoltaic systems, and pico-grids are examples of such frugal energy technologies.

Keywords: Developing countries; energy frugality; frugal innovations; frugality; renewable energy; resource‐scarcity; sustainable energy.