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Organizing Committee

Updated August 22, 2017

The Organizing Committee of the 2018 Wood Stove Design Challenge oversees the selection of finalist teams, developing and implementing the rules, fueling and testing protocol and other key issues to ensure the integrity, fairness and success of the Challenge. The Committee includes national experts and representatives of key stakeholder groups and is still in the formation stage.

John Ackerly, President, Alliance for Green Heat

The Next Generation Wood Stove Design Challenge is the brainchild of John Ackerly, and he was the principal organizer of the 2013 Wood Stove Decathlon and the 2014 Collaborative Stove Design Workshop. He founded the Alliance for Green Heat in 2009 as a consumer advocacy organization for cleaner and more efficient wood and pellet heating, believing that biomass heating can be a vital renewable energy source to replace fossil heating fuels. He earned a BA from Dartmouth College and a JD at the Washington College of Law and practiced civil rights law before heading up an international human rights organization where he opened branch offices in Amsterdam, Brussels and Berlin. John serves on several boards of directors, including the Biomass Thermal Energy Council, the Advisory Board of the Maryland Clean Energy Center and is a NFI Certified Pellet Specialist. He lives in Maryland with his wife, Nina Smith, and son.
Ellen Burkhard, Senior Project Manager, NYSERDA

Bio coming soon
Thomas Butcher, Research Engineer, Brookhaven National Laboratory

Dr. Butcher received his Ph.D. from the State University of New York at Stony Brook in 1987. He is a Research Engineer at the Senior Scientist level and Head of the Energy Conversion Group at Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, NY. His long-standing research interests include advanced concepts for building heating and cooling and the application of conventional and biofuels in stationary combustion applications. He has been a part-time lecturer at Stony Brook University since 2008 and acts as a mentor at BNL in programs for visiting engineering students.
Bill Clarke, President, Osprey Foundation

Bill Clarke serves as President of the Osprey Foundation, which seeks to empower individuals and communities in Maryland and overseas through education, health, economic opportunity and human rights in a sustainable way. He is very involved in an initiative to build clean cook stoves in Guatemala, and is also a promoter of the electric car. He and his wife also travel regularly to Cuba and Guatemala to do mission work through the Baltimore Presbytery.

Prior to creating the Osprey Foundation, Bill was a partner in the investment advisory firm Campbell & Company, starting in 1977 as one of four employees. When he retired in May 2007 as executive vice president of research, the company had grown to 140 and was the largest commodity trading advisor in the country.
John Crouch, Director, Public Affairs, Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA)

John Crouch is the Director of Public Affairs for HPBA. With 35 years’ experience in the industry since beginning as a retailer in Colorado, he has been the industry lead on several field studies in Klamath Falls, OR; Crested Butte, CO; and Libby, MT. John has organized or advised countless woodstove changeouts, beginning in Seattle in 1990, as well as the two whole-town changeouts in Crested Butte and Libby. He currently advises on changeout programs throughout both the U.S. and Canada and has worked with U.S. EPA since they began the Burn Wise program. Mr. Crouch has represented North American manufacturers at the ISO technical committee on wood heater emissions and has presented expert analysis at industry gatherings in the U. S., Canada, and Australia. He has participated in several specialty conferences around particulate matter and wood smoke with the Air and Waste Management Association.

Most recently, John helped organize the industry’s participation in the most recent review of the New Source Performance Standard (NSPS) for New Residential Wood Heaters and is currently the co-chair of the Cordwood Test Method Development Group, a joint effort of the wood heat industry, EPA, and state and local officials. John received a B.S. from California State Polytechnic University at Pomona. He resides with his family in Sacramento, California.
Philip K. Hopke, Bayard D. Clarkson Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Clarkson University and Adjunct Professor, Department of Public Health Sciences, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry.

Dr. Philip K. Hopke has a long career of studying atmospheric chemistry and aerosol science with an emphasis on ambient particulate air pollution. Dr. Hopke is the past Chair of EPA's Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC), and has served on the EPA Science Advisory Board (SAB). Professor Hopke is a Past President of the American Association for Aerosol Research (AAAR), and was a member of the more than a dozen National Research Council committees and a past member of the NRC's Board of Environmental Studies and Toxicology. He served as a Jefferson Science Fellow at the U.S. Department of State during the 2008-09 academic year. Professor Hopke received his B.S. in Chemistry from Trinity College (Hartford) and his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in chemistry from Princeton University. After a post-doctoral appointment at M.I.T. and four years as an assistant professor at the State University College at Fredonia, NY, Dr. Hopke joined the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, as a professor of environmental chemistry, and subsequently came to Clarkson in 1989. For the past 9 years, he has been actively studying wood pellet combustion systems with an emphasis on emissions and efficiency and issue related to stored wood pellets.
Mark Knaebe, Natural Resources Specialist, USDA Forest Service

Mark Knaebe is a Natural Resources Specialist at the USDA Forest Service Forest Products Marketing Unit, located at the Forest Products Laboratory in Madison, Wisconsin. His work focuses on Bioenergy. Mark tests and evaluates wood gasification systems that are used to generate electricity from wood pellets. He advises on kiln heating systems and has designed wood heating systems for residential use. Currently, he is constructing a condensing wood boiler that he designed to maintain flue gasses below 212°F so that all the energy of boiling is recaptured. Mark is a frequent speaker on the many aspects of bioenergy and the advantages of converting biomass directly to thermal energy.
Steven Law, Professional Engineer, Province of Ontario

Steven Law is a licensed Professional Engineer in the Province of Ontario with a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Engineering from the University of Guelph (1996).  Steven began his career as a consulting engineer and progressed through several privately and publicly held firms, but for the last 7 years he has worked at the Ontario Ministry of Environment and Climate Change as the Renewable Energy Engineer within the Standards Development Branch.  Beginning in 2014, Steven led a project to update the regulatory requirements for the control of air emissions from small wood fired combustors with a fuel input capacity of less than 3 megawatts. This project included a significant air emission testing and research program that was conducted at a college campus in northern Ontario. This work resulted in the development of Guideline A-14 and the inclusion of small wood fired combustors in Ontario Regulation 1/17, known as the Air Emissions EASR regulation which was published in January 2017. Most recently Steven has been invited to serve as a technical advisor for Ontario’s Wood Stove Exchange Program.
Elliott Levine, Vice-Chairman, DC Chapter of the Technology Transfer Society

Elliott has 25 years of experience at the US Dep’t of Energy managing Federal energy R&D programs for renewable biomass energy applications and industrial energy efficiency technology development. Elliott’s more recent experience focused on providing strategic direction for biomass power, renewable heating fuel and enhanced technology for healthier cookstoves for lesser developed countries. Elliott also managed the Federal Biomass R&D Technical Advisory Committee which informs the US Government on strategic biomass energy R&D needs and applications.

Elliott is vice-chair of the DC Chapter of the Technology Transfer Society which conducts forums on regional activities and programs and also hosts an introductory class on this subject. Elliott serves on several boards and committees. Elliott maintains an interest in developing and integrating technology for application to sustainable development, wildlife and habitat conservation. Elliott resides just outside of Washington DC.
James E. Rannels, President, Rannels Consulting

Mr. Rannels is an electronics engineer specializing in renewable electric power technology development, efficient use of energy, project deployment, market analysis, and government policy and incentive formulation. His expertise is in project development, integration and utilization of grid-connected and off-grid renewable energy systems including wind, solar, geothermal, hydro, biomass and ocean energy systems interconnected with conventional electric power generators. He has managed large projects for the government and its partners on many applications. He has served as the Director of the Office of Solar Energy Technologies at US Department of Energy. He has participated in the growth of the solar energy industry and directed the development of new technologies, techniques, and innovations to solve some of the country’s most pressing security, energy and environmental problems.
Lisa Rector, Senior Policy Analyst, Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use management (NESCAUM)

Lisa Rector is a Senior Policy Analyst at NESCAUM. For almost 20 years she has worked on a wide variety of technical and policy issues related to climate and air quality impacts including biomass, stationary source testing and permitting, and climate change. At NESCAUM, Lisa is the project manager for many biomass projects including the Thermal Biomass Roadmap, Elemental Composition of Wood Fuels, Comparative Emission Testing for ICI Boilers, Change-out Analysis, Modeling and public health impacts, Residential Wood Test Methods, and Wood Pellet Standards. Lisa also manages NESCAUM Committees focused on biomass, compliance and enforcement issues.
Norbert Senf

Norbert Senf has been building masonry heaters since 1979. He joined early efforts to write codes and standards, and was a founding member of the Masonry Heater Association of North America (MHA). As the need to measure masonry heater performance and emissions became evident, he worked through MHA to develop in-house testing expertise and build a database on PM emissions performance. He hopes that the recent development of simpler testing technology will accelerate the search for the cleanest ways to burn cordwood.