Wednesday, August 13, 2014

NYSERDA Provides Grant to Develop Automated Wood Stove

In an effort to bring more automation to the wood stove, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) is providing a $49,000 grant to support the Alliance for Green Heat to test and work towards improving automated wood stove designs.

The project will bring some of the world’s leading automated stoves and prototypes to Brookhaven National Lab in November to test their performance and assess which designs hold the most promise in smoke reduction, reliability and consumer demand.  Seven companies with different approaches to automation are competing in the event.
John Rhodes, CEO of NYSERDA
announcing Renewable Heat NY
funding in August 2014

 NYSERDA support is part of Governor Cuomo’s Renewable Heat NY initiative, which encourages the expansion of sustainable markets in New York State for high-performance wood-fired heating technology and encourages the use of renewable biomass fuel, such as cord wood and wood pellets. NYSERDA has become the largest supporter of research on residential wood and pellet heating technology in the U.S. 

This project, called the Collaborative Stove Design Workshop, is a follow-on to the successful Wood Stove Decathlon on the National Mall in November 2013 that was also supported by NYSERDA.  Unlike the Decathlon, which was a more formal technology competition, this Workshop will bring a variety of experts together to study and help improve the automated designs, some of which may be open sourced so anyone can build from them.

“A wood stove is only as good as its operator and its fuel,” said John Ackerly, President of the Alliance for Green Heat (AGH).  Automation can eliminate the widespread problem of operators who don’t give their stoves enough air at the right times, leading to excessive smoke in rural communities, suburban neighborhoods and towns.  It can also mitigate the problem of using unseasoned wood. “Pellet stove technology represents the biggest breakthrough in residential wood heating in the past quarter century but we believe more breakthroughs are possible,” Ackerly said.

The Organizing Committee that oversees the project consists of John Ackerly, Alliance for Green Heat; Ellen Burkhard, NYSERDA; Tom Butcher, Brookhaven National Lab; Craig Issod, founder of; Mark Knaebe, US Forest Service; Ben Myren, Myren Consulting; Norbert Senf, Masonry Heater Association; Dean Still, Aprovecho Research Center; Rod Tinnemore, Washington Department of Ecology; and Rebecca Trojanowski, Brookhaven National Lab. Additional funding comes from the Osprey Foundation and the US Forest Service.

Applications to attend and take part in the workshop are being accepted until September 1.

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