Press Release: New technologies help South Africans stay warm and save money this winter

6 June 2013

Cape Town – A range of new renewable and efficient energy products is helping many South Africans to keep the lights on and fight the winter cold, despite rising energy prices and the threat of load-shedding. These include, among others, the Philips Efficient Cook Stove, The EcoZoom Plancha Stove and Barefoot Power Solar kits.

The Philips Efficient Cook Stove

The Philips stove is one of the latest additions to a growing range of highly efficient, clean-burning wood- and charcoal stoves. The stove’s unique design, coupled with its built-in fan, means that it produces virtually no smoke while its heat output easily rivals that of a gas stove – using only a few small sticks. The fan is also adjustable, which means that the heat can be controlled without difficulty. The aesthetically pleasing stainless steel body ensures that is at home in even the fanciest of kitchens.


The Zoom Plancha Stove

The Zoom Plancha stove harks back to the heyday of the cast-iron ‘Dover’ stove, but with a few important upgrades: The stove is lined with steel coated ceramic clay on the inside – which ensures much greater efficiency, a considerable reduction in smoke and other emissions, as well as far better overall heat retention. It also comes with a simple, ‘do-it-yourself’ chimney, a wood-drying shelf and, most importantly, a much friendlier price tag.


Barefoot Power solar lights and chargers

Barefoot Power is an Australian company that produces solar kits specifically for rural African households. Their products are therefore sturdy, very simple to use and extremely affordable. The solar kits range from the unassuming 1,5 Watt Firefly solar light and cellphone charger, to the impressive 5 Watt PowaPack, which includes 4 lights, a cellphone charger and outlets for a DC radio.

For more details, please contact:

Robert Aitken – Restio Energy

021 850 0771


Applications for the 2012 DBREV Scholarship open.

The Douglas Banks Renewable Energy Vision (DBREV) Scholarship was set up in honour of South Africa’s leading renewable energy advocates and Restio Energy’s founder, Dr. Douglas Banks, who passed away in 2008. The DBREV Scholarship is open to individuals willing to carry forward Doug’s passion and vision. More details on the scholarship and the man himself are available here

Julia Roberts is the new Global Ambassador for the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves

The Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, a public-private partnership spearheaded by the United Nations Foundation and supported by US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, recently announced that award-winning actress has been appointed as its global ambassador. As proud member of the alliance, Restio Energy welcomes Ms Roberts to the worldwide fight to save lives, improve livelihoods, empower women and combat climate change.

For more information, please click here


With 2011 already a month old, we thought it wise to post a quick update on our plans for the year. At the moment, Restio Energy consulting is busy with 2 projects in Africa:

1. Monitoring the off-grid Solar Home System concession utility in the Eastern Cape (we form part of the monitoring team headed up by BURGEAP and the Energy & Development Group). Client: KfW and the South African Department of Energy.

2. Creating a market for solar PV in the Kigoma region (Eastern Tanzania). Client: Millennium Challenge Account.

There are a number of very exciting consulting opportunities in the pipeline, so watch this space.

StoveTec Stoves, Barefoot Solar Lighting products and Wonderbag efficient cookers are all available from a number of retailers, including AgriMark (KaapAgri).


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Saving Trees – One Stove at a Time

For most people, Arbor week has always been about planting trees: it is something very visible, tangible and allows one to leave a legacy that will more than likely last several generations. However, when planting, we also need to think about saving trees. Most forests in the world are concentrated in the developing world. This situation is quickly changing as agriculture and especially cooking is driving deforestation in some of the world’s poorest countries. South Africa is no exception, where rising electricity and fossil-fuel prices are driving increasing numbers of people (more than 2 million households already) to use wood and charcoal to meet their daily energy needs. Worldwide, more than 3 billion people (half of the world’s population) rely on wood, charcoal or dung to cook their meals, heat their houses and boil water.

Not only does the use of open fires constitute a serious health risk (Indoor Air Pollution kills one person every 20 seconds) and contribute significantly to climate change, but it is also one of the key drivers behind deforestation. Open fires are notoriously inefficient, with the vast majority of energy being lost, forcing households to use much more wood or charcoal than necessary.

Arbor week is therefore not only a time to plant trees, but also to save them: a simple yet effective way of doing this is through using highly-efficient rocket stoves. These stoves use at least 50% less wood and emit up to 70% less smoke and greenhouse gasses. They also keep their heat for hours, serving a dual purpose as both stove and heater. The stoves are developed by the Aprovecho Research Centre in the USA, specifically for low-income households who frequently use wood or charcoal. They consist of a sheet metal outer cover, cast-iron stovetop and (most importantly) aerated ceramic clay inner. About 100 000 of these stoves are in use in India and China and they last at least 2 years if used daily.

For more information on the StoveTec rocket stoves, please contact Restio Energy on (021) 850 0771 or The stoves are retailing for between R300 and R400 (depending on the model) and wholesale prices are also available for those interested retailing the stoves in their area.