The reliability of LPG/LNG cook stoves is generally considered high as the technology is mature and applied widely across the world (ENTTRANS, 2008). The same could be said about the supply chains for the LNG and LPG, although LNG transport could be vulnerable for security reasons. For example, IEA (2006) highlights supply problems due to hurricanes in North America. IEA (2006) also points out that the gas supply infrastructure is becoming more complex and more investment is required, in particular to increase transport skills and reduce investment costs. For importers there needs to be local distribution infrastructure development both for the fuel and for new stoves and stove conversions. Where LPG or LNG has been used in developing countries, as in the examples in China and Brazil below, then the governments in each case have subsidised the price of the gas and/or the price of conversions to burn LPG or LNG.
Although many developing countries already have access to LPG and LNG, the applicability of the technology to the rural poor is hampered by the required import facilities and distribution systems and complexities related to the poor quality of roads and relatively high per capita costs if the population density is low. The other main problem with LPG and LNG is that they can be expensive relative to other fuels and thus less attractive for the poor. In addition, the prices of LPG and LNG could be more volatile than the price of other fuels and feedstock for cooking. For example, in China, in the Fujian province, it was reported by Peoples Daily (2006) that people were switching from LNG stoves to electromagnetic stoves as LNG prices had been increased by the government. In Guangzhou, in south China, a LNG price increase resulted in some residents turning to honeycomb coal briquets for cooking. These possible price impacts could negatively affect the affordability of the technology and LNG/LPG fuels, in particular to rural area households (IEA, 2006).
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