Tuesday, September 3, 2013

NYSERDA provides funding for Wood Stove Design Challenge

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) has awarded nearly $50,000 to support the technical aspects of the Wood Stove Design Challenge, contest officials have announced.
The purpose of the contest, which is run by the Alliance for Green Heat, is to inspire engineers and manufacturers to create more efficient wood stoves, which can produce more heat with reduced emissions.
Funding from NYSERDA, which will go towards technical support and operations costs, comes from the Biomass Heating R&D Program, which takes a comprehensive approach to developing a high efficiency and low emissions biomass heating industry.

NYSERDA works with manufacturers, universities, engineering firms, research institutions, and federal and private labs to improve wood combustion designs and conduct third party evaluations. Additionally, NYSERDA supports studies to investigate the air quality and public health impacts of wood combustion.

Much of the technical preparation for the Wood Stove Design Challenge will happen at the Brookhaven National Laboratory, where NYSERDA funding will enable testing and calibration of the test equipment and the fueling protocols. Dr. Thomas Butcher and his team will be testing portable emission analyzers next to a dilution tunnel to determine their applicability for on-site testing at the National Mall in Washington D.C. in November.

Biomass heating has increased over the past decade as the price of home heating oil has increased. But much of that increase comes from older, less efficient wood burning technologies that can cause high wood smoke concentrations, especially in rural valley communities.

The Wood Stove Design Challenge is using cordwood to test the stoves, so it’s representative of how the stoves are used in homes. Traditionally, stoves have been tested with 2 x 4s in an attempt to maximize consistency and replication of the results.

The grand prize winner will receive a $25,000 cash prize. Between two and five prizes for second place will share a $10,000 pot. Awards will be based primarily on such attributes as innovation, emissions, efficiency, affordability and most consumer friendly. Prize money was raised through various private sponsors.

The winning stoves will receive extensive publicity, and Popular Mechanics, who helped design the Challenge, will cover the winning designs in its magazine and website.

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