Frugal Eco-innovation for Addressing Climate Change in Emerging Countries: Case of Biogas Digester in Indonesia

Cynthia Ismail, Fabian Wiropranoto, Takeshi Takama*, Jenny Lieu, Luis D. Virla

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeChapterScientificpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
35 Downloads (Pure)


Technological innovation is considered to be one of the key strategies to maintain the global temperature below 2 °C. Since emerging and low-income countries are now responsible for reducing greenhouse gases (GHGs) under the Paris agreement, there is an implied need to balance their development mandate and climate change policies. This chapter highlights frugal eco-innovation as a means of providing basic needs while including the requirement to urgently address climate change in these regions. The characteristics of frugal and eco-innovation are explored to identify the appropriateness of technologies within the context of emerging and low-income regions. These characteristics are applied to demonstrate the economic and social benefits of the low-carbon technologies at the local level. Meanwhile, the eco-innovation’s characteristics demonstrate a potential for cascading positive impacts at a larger scale. Finally, the Alternative Pathways framework is applied to describe the trajectory of frugal eco-innovation through low-carbon narratives. This framework also helps to make explicit the dominating fossil fuel pathway and powerful actors while identifying alternative technology pathways and different (nondominating) actor groups that could potentially transform the rural energy system. Portable biogas is identified as a frugal eco-innovation that represents an alternative pathway which can potentially lead to wider transformation for the cooking energy sector in rural Indonesia. The innovation can create knock-on socioeconomic benefits for lower-income communities while contributing to GHG emission reduction at national level. This frugal eco-innovation process is led by the private sectors with the support of policy environment and acceptance and implementation at the local community level.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Climate Change Management
Subtitle of host publicationResearch, Leadership, Transformation
Number of pages27
ISBN (Electronic)9783030572815
ISBN (Print)9783030572808
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository ‘You share, we take care!’ – Taverne project Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


  • Alternative pathways
  • Clean cooking energy
  • Climate change
  • Frugal eco-innovation
  • Indonesia


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