About the 5th Design Challenge

Updated: June 2022

The website for the 5th Wood Heater Design Challenge that runs from 2021 through 2023 is on the Brookhaven National Lab page. This Challenge consists of three webinars, a technology Slam and the final competition at Brookhaven National Lab.

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 and host. The Alliance for Green Heat extends its utmost appreciation to all involved.

Wood Stove Slam
The 2022 Wood Stove Slam is an opportunity for teams to pitch innovative wood stove ideas to judges who will assess whose stove is the most innovative and should move forward to the testing phase at Brookhaven. The Slam will be held virtually via Zoom on Sept. 29, 2022.

Teams will have 8 minutes to pitch their heaters and they can use slides, short videos or any other props they choose. The expert panel can ask questions for up to 10 minutes. Three teams will split a pot of $120,000 that they can use to build, alter or finalize a wood heater or prototype. Ultimately, the heaters will receive intensive testing at Brookhaven National Lab in 2023. Click here for more details.

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 funding 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 cleaner and more efficient wood and pellet heaters in the United States.

As of 2022, wood and pellet stove sales are soaring, due mostly to higher oil and gas prices, and tens of thousands of homes will get new stoves for the first time. Most will be in more rural areas, but some will be in more densely populated areas where manually operated stoves can vastly underperform their emission profile in the lab. Currently, there are few incentives for manufacturers to design anything beyond what meets the EPA regulations of performance in the lab. The Wood Heater Design Challenge seeks different kinds of automation that can help stoves perform more consistently once they leave the lab and into the hands of owners.

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.

  2021 Stove Challenge
  2018 Stove Challenge
  2016 Stove Challenge
  2014 Stove Challenge
  2013 Stove Challenge