By John Ackerly
|The first day of testing, showing Ben Myren Prof. |
Phil Hopke and Rebecca Trojanowski.
The 2018 Wood Stove Design Challenge took place from Nov. 9 - 13, featuring 10 stoves in competition and 3 showcase stoves. The stoves were selected and judged by members of the
|Large screen monitors provided real time data during|
a test run of the Integrated Duty Cycle fueling
protocol under development. Photo: Kittner/BNL
|The Wittus team from New York |
and Germany. Photo: Kittner/BNL
In the automation stove category, there were three market ready stoves that successfully went through a rigorous fueling protocol and proved that they could burn relatively cleanly and efficiently even when an operator tried to turn down the heat setting too far and at the wrong times. An SBI stove and the VcV stove that had been in development for many years showed the value of multi-year R&D and testing, resulting in stoves that may only cost $500 more than a similar,
non-automated version. To us, this is a major breakthrough and stoves like these should show a path to far cleaner cord wood heating in America.
|Staffers from EPA, DOE, USDA and Congressional |
offices were able to learn about stove testing and
engage with teams and judges. Photo: AGH
|The SBI team. Photo: Kittner/BNL|
|Ben Myren, one of the top wood stove testing experts|
in the US, talking with Larry Brockman of the EPA's
BurnWise program. Photo: Kittner/BNL
Automated stoves are regarded as one of the best, and only ways to help ensure that manually operated EPA certified stoves perform well not just in the testing lab, but in the homes of consumers. For automated stoves to start gaining a foothold in the market federal, state and local government recognition and support will be required.
An automated pellet boiler by Maine Energy Systems capped with a Stirling Engine was the most
futuristic of the entries, especially since it was charging a Tesla car in front of the tent. This compact unit could heat a business or multi-family dwelling and provide up to 5 kW of electricity.
|A Tesla owned by Osprey Foundation head, Bill Clarke,|
being charged by Maine Energy System pellet
boilers with a Stirling engine. Photo: Kittner/BNL
|The five testing teams used different equipment |
to gather a variety of data. Photo: Kittner/BNL
|This is a Swiss-made electrostatic precipitator for|
residential wood stoves that reduced PM by 50 -
90% in our testing.
It was clear that stoves or boilers with Thermoelectric Generators (TEG) could produce 100 to 250 watts of power. While this is a relatively modest amount of electricity, larger automated stoves or boilers operating 15 to 20 hours per day may help supplement limited solar power output during winter months.
|Fred Legget of Vulcan Energy |
with a TEG adapted to a Wiseway.
The Wittus cord wood stove was by far the most market ready and was able to make 250 watts, and it peaked at over 300 when using low moisture pressed wood logs. Ken Adler, AGH’s Program Director of Thermoelectrics, coordinated the thermoelectric side of the competition and the thermoelectric testing.
|University teams have been a key part of the Design|
Challenge with SUNY Stony Brook competing this year.
And the awards goes to …
|The Wittus team won both first prizes.|
· Second prize for automated stoves: SBI. A fully automated non-catalytic stove using only 2 sensors that may only cost $500 more than if it were non-automated.
· * First prize for thermoelectric stoves: Wittus - again; The highest electric output of up to 250 watts, and an integrated design that can maintain stable electric output.
· * Second prize for thermoelectric: Vulcan Energy, using the Wiseway pellet stove that produced more than 100 watts and good PM reduction.
|Stove testers Tom Butcher, Jake Lindbeg, Rebecca |
Trojanowski Photo: Kittner/BNL
· * The People’s Choice Award: 509 Fabrications. Despite being a new, small company without an extensive social media network, the 509 Fabrications pressed log stove was a consumer favorite, garnering more votes than any other stove.
|The MHA testing crew: Ron Pihl, Jim |
Schales, Norbert Senf, Mark Seymour
and Boris Kukojl. Photo: MHA
Unique and rigorous testing
The 2018 Wood Stove Design Challenge pushed the limits of rigorous wood stove testing both in terms of the amount and variety of technology used, and the fueling protocol, which is far more rigorous than any standard fueling protocol. More details about this will be forthcoming. Data produced by this event will show the extent to which automated stoves can navigate fueling protocols where testers try to make stoves go into smolder mode, to see if the automation is robust enough to avoid that. Data is also more valuable for understanding real world venting conditions, as EPA approved test labs terminate in a warm indoor space, not the colder outdoors.
|Real time emission displays allowed testers teams |
and judges to learn more about performance patterns.
This shows exceptional CO and stack temps on the
Wittus. Photo: Senf
|Jonathan Male, head of DOE's Bioenergy|
Technologies Office introducing the awards
Air quality testing during the Design Challenge
During the Challenge, we monitored indoor and outdoor air quality to get some sense of the impact
from 9 – 13 wood and pellet stoves operating under one roof. We used a Thermo Scientific pDR-1500 Aerosol Monitor, an Speck indoor PM monitor and a Purple Air PA-II - SD monitor. Results were mixed, with most indoor readings between 20 - 35 micrograms per cubic meter, but with far higher spikes. The EPA short term PM standard is 35 micrograms per cubic meter. Outdoor numbers were usually around
10 micrograms per cubic meter. Often the Speck showed moderate to elevated inside the tent, but on several occasions, prototype stoves released excessive smoke into the tent – and outside of it. We will issue a more detailed report on this.
|Tinted stove pipe donated by Olympia Chimney, |
showing mostly invisible smoke during the event
|Les Otten, right, with Maine Energy Systems|
Okofen Pelletmatic E-max CHP unit. Photo: MYSys
A note of gratitude
|Julie Tucker of the USDA Forest Service, with |
DOE's Jonathan Male and AGH's John Ackerly
The Wood Stove Design Challenge is a collaborative process involving three major donors - the Department of Energy's Bioenergy Technology Office, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and Osprey Foundation and scores of in-kind and volunteer partners. Olympia Chimney and Masonry Heater Association were key in-kind partners, along contributions by West Penn Power
Sustainable Energy Fund, HPBA, Schott-Robax, Lignetics, Chimney Safety Institute of America, Society for American Foresters, National Fireplace Institute, Catalytic Hearth Coalition, Biolite local sweeps and installers and others were key in enabling the event to occur.
|Dusty Henderson with the 509|
Fabrications pressed wood log stove
that won the People's Choice Award.
|The GW University Team. Photo: Kittner/BNL|
|The innovative rocket stove entry from|
ASAT being tested by Ben Myren
Photo: Norbert Senf
|Our tent was right between the Capitol and the Washington Monument.|