Wood stove competition to focus on automation, electricity
The Alliance for Green Heat has announced the fourth Wood Stove Design Challenge, returning to the National Mall in Washington, D.C., in November 2018.
The 2018 event will be free and open to the public, and includes rigorous testing of the next generation of technology that can make wood stoves consistently cleaner, more efficient, easier to use and, like solar energy, a renewable source of electricity.
The fourth Wood Stove Design Challenge is modeled after the U.S. DOE's Solar Decathlon, a competition between teams from universities worldwide to design more efficient and cheaper residential solar power. Like the Solar Decathlon, the Wood Stove Challenge also attracts teams from around the world and focuses energy and resources on innovation and improved performance. The stove competitions have been in partnership with the DOE Brookhaven National Lab, the New York State Energy Research and Development Administration (NYSERDA), the US Forest Service and others, the Osprey Foundation, among others.
Participants will compete in two events, one of which will automate the wood stove with 21st century technology like sensors and WIFI-enabled controls that improve combustion efficiency, reduce air pollution and improve ease of use. The second competition will focus on thermoelectric wood stoves that generate electricity to power lights, cell phones, and WIFI-enabled controls. Thermoelectric generators are similar to solar PV systems except they turn heat instead of light into electricity. When integrated with a residential solar PV system, a thermoelectric wood stove and battery power system, like the TESLA Powerwall, could effectively double the wintertime output of solar PV system in areas like northern U.S., Canada and northern Europe.
Wood stoves are still used by 30 to 60 percent of homes in hundreds of rural and suburban counties around the country. Yet, the technology revolution that has swept household appliances in the last 20 years has bypassed wood stove technology. Teams in the 2018 stove challenge will be competing for up to $50,000 in prizes. The teams and exhibitors will also have a chance to showcase new technology on the National Mall just blocks away from the DOE, the USDA and U.S. EPA.
“This is a chance for students, back yard inventors, and wood stove manufacturers to reinvent this age-old technology for today’s environmentally conscious and time-conscious consumer,” said John Ackerly, founder of the Wood Stove Competition and president of the Alliance for Green Heat. “An affordable, smart wood stove is achievable and could help millions of families reduce their reliance on gas and oil while significantly reducing pollution,” Ackerly added.
“This is the first Wood Stove Challenge to promote wood stoves that generate electricity to power everything from a cell phone to an entire home. Thermoelectric wood stoves, when integrated with solar PV systems and home batteries like the TESLA Powerwall, have the potential to make solar energy more affordable, reduce air pollution, and pave the way for a more sustainable energy future," said Ken Adler, senior technology advisor at the Alliance for Green Heat and formerly with the EPA.
Previous Stove Design Challenges brought innovative stoves and a diverse array of stove and energy experts together on the National Mall in 2013, Brookhaven National Lab in 2014 and 2016.Further details about participating and competing in this competition will be available late March, 2017.