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Project Advisory Committee


The Next Generation Wood Stove Design Challenge is the brainchild of John Ackerly, and he was the principal organizer of the 2013 Wood Stove Decathlon and the 2014 Collaborative Stove Design Workshop. He founded the Alliance for Green Heat in 2009 as a consumer advocacy organization for cleaner and more efficient wood and pellet heating, believing that biomass heating can be a vital renewable energy source to replace fossil heating fuels. He earned a BA from Dartmouth College and a JD at the Washington College of Law and practiced civil rights law before heading up an international human rights organization where he opened branch offices in Amsterdam, Brussels and Berlin. John serves on several boards of directors, including the Biomass Thermal Energy Council, the Advisory Board of the Maryland Clean Energy Center and is a NFI Certified Pellet Specialist. He lives in Maryland with his wife, Nina Smith, and son.


Ray Albrecht is a consulting engineer in the field of renewable fuels and combustion. Ray provides engineering services to US and European manufacturers of solid biomass-fired, combustion systems for product development, emissions testing and compliance with USEPA and State environmental regulations. He also serves as a technical consultant to the Biomass Thermal Energy Council. Ray has Bachelor of Science (Engineering) and Master of Science (Theoretical and Applied Mechanics) degrees from Cornell University. Ray has been a member of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) since 1980 and is Past Chairman of ASHRAE Technical Committee 6.10 (Fuels and Combustion) and also a longstanding member of ASHRAE Standard Committee 155 (Efficiency Testing of Commercial Boilers.) He was a recipient of the ASHRAE 2015 Distinguished Service Award. Ray is a licensed professional engineer in New York State.


Dr. Ellen Burkhard is a Senior Project Manager with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority's Clean Energy Research and Market Development group. Ellen manages projects that evaluate air quality and health effects from energy production and use. These include projects that measure diesel and wood combustion emissions from various technology designs and fuel types, long-range transport of pollutants from upwind sources, localized air-quality effects of high-emitting sources, and cardiovascular and pulmonary effects from air pollution exposure. For the past five years Ellen has co-managed NYSERDA's biomass heating program which: works with manufacturers to develop high-efficiency and low emitting heating systems; supports third-party performance evaluations of technologies; and, demonstrates new technologies in representative applications to support market transformation. Ellen earned a Ph.D. in Environmental Health and Toxicology from the State University of New York's School of Public Health


Dr. Philip K. Hopke is the Bayard D. Clarkson Distinguished Professor at Clarkson University, the Director of the Center for Air Resources Engineering and Science (CARES), and the Director of the Institute for a Sustainable Environment (ISE). Dr. Hopke is the past Chair of EPA's Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC), and has served on the EPA Science Advisory Board (SAB). Professor Hopke is a Past President of the American Association for Aerosol Research (AAAR), and was a member of the more than a dozen National Research Council committees. He is a member of the NRC's Board of Environmental Studies and Toxicology. He served as a Jefferson Science Fellow at the U.S. Department of State during the 2008-09 academic year. Professor Hopke received his B.S. in Chemistry from Trinity College (Hartford) and his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in chemistry from Princeton University. After a post-doctoral appointment at M.I.T. and four years as an assistant professor at the State University College at Fredonia, NY, Dr. Hopke joined the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, as a professor of environmental chemistry, and subsequently came to Clarkson in 1989. On July 1, 2010, he took on the directorship of the ISE that houses Clarkson's undergraduate and graduate environmental science degree programs as well as managing its sustainability initiatives. For the past 5 years, he has been actively studying solid fuel combustion systems with an emphasis on emissions and efficiency.


Mark Knaebe is a Natural Resources Specialist at the USDA Forest Service Technology Marketing Unit, located at the Forest Products Laboratory in Madison, Wisconsin. His work focuses on Bioenergy. Mark tests and evaluates wood gasification systems that are used to generate electricity from wood pellets. He advises on kiln heating systems and has designed wood heating systems for residential use. Currently, he is constructing a condensing wood boiler that he designed to maintain flue gasses below 212°F so that all the energy of boiling is recaptured. Mark is a frequent speaker on the many aspects of bioenergy and the advantages of converting biomass directly to thermal energy.


Rob is the Renewable Thermal Program Manager for the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) where he provides technical assistance on renewable heating and cooling technologies for all divisions at DOER and with initiative partners from various state agencies, municipalities, public schools, colleges and numerous other partners.

Rob’s current activities include assisting to write new regulations to provide Alternative Energy Credits for thermal energy and the development of new programs and initiatives and pilot programs totaling thirty four million dollars to increase the use of efficient and low emission biomass, air water and ground source heat pumps, advanced biofuels, bio gas, and solar thermal heating and cooling throughout Massachusetts. Rob is also coordinating the state’s efforts to encourage the expansion of the renewable heating and cooling market share by providing financial assistance to private companies expanding into this new market.

Previous to his current position at DOER, Rob worked as the Director of Sustainability and Energy Policy at Mount Wachusett Community College in Gardner, Ma. Rob provided outreach on the college’s biomass district heating system, conducted applied research for an advanced biomass downdraft gasification combined heat and power project with the US Department of Energy and completed research on the densification of wood fuel for gasification. He also developed an Associate Degree curriculum on clean energy technologies for the college. Rob also worked on numerous energy conservation measures and helped to secure the colleges 100 kilowatt solar photovoltaic system and led the college’s efforts to install a $8 million 3.2 MW wind turbine project.


Rod is a recognized wood heating appliance expert, educator, and public speaker, who works for Washington State Department of Ecology's Air Quality Program. Washington State is recognized nationally for its sector leading, conservative approach to regulating the use of wood heating appliances. Rod works closely with federal, state and regional air quality organizations and wood heating appliance manufacturers, on compliance, emissions, and standards initiatives. Prior to Dept. of Ecology Rod was a member of the teaching faculty at Washington State University. Rod received his Master of Science in Forest Resources from the University of Idaho.

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