How big is the global market for kerosene?
From a recent article in the New York Times about the move in international development beyond charity (toward more effective for profit oriented models):
The poorest people on the planet together spent almost $40 billion last year on kerosene and other rudimentary and dangerous fuel-based lighting. Scientists say fuel-burning lanterns release 190 million tons of carbon dioxide each year: about the equivalent of 30 million cars.
Now leaders in the field of solar portable lighting believe they can push kerosene lamps out of markets in much of the developing world and make a profit while they’re at it.
“If you compare what the poor spend on kerosene, it’s 10,000 times more than what we pay when we use basic electricity from the grid. It’s crazy when you think that the poorest people spend the most, and get so much poor light and poor health in return” said Patrick Avato, an energy specialist in Kenya with the International Finance Corp. (IFC).
Avato manages a 3-year-old program called Lighting Africa, based in Kenya, that tries to help the private sector provide clean and affordable lighting on the electricity-starved continent. The organization — like the Lumina Project, which is based out of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory — is part of a small but growing field of market-based initiatives targeting what economists call the “bottom of the pyramid” consumers.
You can learn more at Lighting for Africa and the Lumina Project. Also, the Lumina Project has a developers toolkit which might prove helpful/insightful for those wanting to further off grid lighting models (particularly via alternatives to kerosene).