The website for the 5th Wood Heater Design Challenge that runs from 2021 through 2023 is here, on the Brookhaven National Lab page. The first activity of the Challenge is a series of 3 online workshops. Registration is free and open to the public.
The Alliance for Green Heat initiated the Wood Stove Design Challenge series in 2013, modeling it after the DOE’s Solar Decathlon. The Alliance conceived it as an inclusive technology competition that engaged all stakeholders, not just the teams building innovative stoves. Partnerships and funding came from multiple institutions, including Brookhaven National Lab, NYSERDA, the Osprey Foundation, the US Forest Service, the Masonry Heater Association, and many others. The Department of Energy was a primary partner in the 4th Design Challenge in 2018 and has now become the primary funder. The Alliance for Green Heat extends its utmost appreciation to all involved. Let the competition begin!
Wood heat innovation
Many of the best wood stoves in the world capable of primary home heating are made in the US. This is the result of decades of experience of stove manufacturers meeting stricter emission standards in third party labs that use federal testing protocols. Federal emission certification standards, dating back to 1988, preceded federal standards in almost all European countries, giving our industry a head start in designing and deploying secondary air tubes and catalysts, which are still the primary tools for post-combustion emission reduction. The US Department of Energy (DOE) has also begun to provide modest R&D assistance to modernize the wood heating sector to help US made stoves be even cleaner and more efficient.
Increased engagement and R&D in the stove community will help bolster US leadership in this sector and increase the export of US stoves. Most importantly, it will accelerate the design and deployment of clean and more efficient wood and pellet heaters in the United States.
Domestically, state renewable energy incentive programs, the increased interest in stove change out programs and the possibility of federal change out funding are helping to bolster sales and give manufacturers incentives to design and build more efficient wood and pellet stoves that meet the frequent stricter eligibility requirements of these programs.
These opportunities need innovative technology solutions, and collaborative input from experts at air quality agencies, industry, academic institutions, and non-profits to ensure that wood heating technology continues as a mainstream renewable energy option in our changing energy landscape. The Wood Stove Design Challenge is designed as an impetus to innovate and to reward and recognize manufacturers for their innovation.