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Expert Presentations

In addition to presentations by the teams who designed and built the stoves, and group reviews of each days test results, there will also be a series of expert presentations that address different aspects of the need and potential for more automated stove technology. The summaries below describe PowerPoint presentations that will be made publicly available as soon as possible.

Biomass Combustor Design
Gael Ulrich, The Bio Combustion Institute
Smoke Particle Formation Fundamental, (pdf)

Wood smoke is not intrinsic to the fuel, but a result of the way it is burned. Combustion science and technology should certainly be capable of eliminating pollution from biomass appliances. This discussion will outline my attempt to apply combustion and chemical engineering design experience to the challenges of burning wood cleanly and efficiently. Hopefully this will elicit new ideas and lead to improved equipment.More than 95% of particles emitted by residential wood stoves are fine or ultrafine, the size most damaging to human health. They do not grow larger or settle by gravity and can travel hundreds of kilometers until precipitated by rain, turbulence, or inhalation. Fortunately, their small size enhances reactivity and makes them easier to oxidize. Discussion and better understanding of smoke formation and it properties should enhance our ability to eliminate it from biomass stove emissions.


Efforts to reduce wood smoke in Fairbanks Alaska have had successes and failures over 4 years based on funding, legislation changes and voter initiatives. This talk will provide information on a mapping program designed to identify 'hot spot' locations. It is based on color-coded maps that identify areas of high PM concentrations from various appliances. These maps are used to demonstrate program success and determine priority zones when authorizing change outs, removals and repairs.


Masonry heaters are unique in that they can store a large amount of heat in their masonry mass. This allows burning at an optimized burn rate to achieve low emissions, without overheating the house. Typically, a 2-hour fire provides 12 to 24 hours of heating. Real world particulate (PM) emissions have been demonstrated to be in the 1 - 1.5 g/kg range, or on par with real world emissions for pellet stoves, and considerably better than real world emissions for most EPA cordwood stoves. Recent improvement in combustion air systems, developed in Austria, seem capable of reducing PM an additional 50%. I will report on recent testing done by several members of The Masonry Heater Association ( who have developed the capability to do field testing with the Condar portable dilution tunnel.

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Older uncertified stoves are major contributors to ambient PM2.5 pollution levels in numerous regions in the US, including our PM2.5 nonattainment area in Tacoma, WA. Fuel and device costs prevent many households from considering switching or upgrading to improved or alternate heating system. Retrofits are a plausible approach, but we are not aware of any that are robust, effective, and inexpensive enough to be widely adopted. We have launched an open, or crowdsourcing challenge to seek out new and emerging retrofit technologies. Solvers can submit their designs to the competition through the InnoCentive website, The submissions will be rated and up to the three best will be eligible to have their performance measured in an EPA accredited lab. The testing will be designed to measure performance across a range of conditions.


Chris Neufeld will speak about how catalysts can make wood stoves reliable and predictable in their performance. He will present details on the refinements that have taken place over the past 30 years. Additionally, he will analyze specific emissions data for various burn rates and the influence they might have on particulates. Dan Henry, co-founder of Quadra-Fire wood stoves, will speak on thedesign, performance, reliability and improvements of wood stoves usingsecondary combustion technology. Dan has over 30 years of experiencein designing, developing and testing secondary combustion technologywood burning stoves, inserts and fireplaces.


Renewable Heat NY is a $27 million initiative aimed at building a sustainable, high-efficiency, low-emissions wood heating sector in New York to support economic development while preserving the environment. Renewable Heat NY promotes the highest efficiency class of wood-fired heating technologies in the nation, andis expected to make New York State a national leader in developing this low-emissions industry. Environmental and public health benefits, along with a reduction in fossil-fuel use, an increase in sustainable forestry, and the expansion of the wood pellet and equipment supply chains, will benefit communities across the state. Renewable Heat NY will reduce wood smoke, fine particle, and carbon monoxide emissions by offering incentives to retire and recycle highly polluting outdoor and indoor wood boilers and wood stove technologies. These efforts seek to replace inefficient technologies with high-efficiency, low emissions wood heating technologies.


Lisa Rector will discuss the challenges and importance of measuring startup emissions in both stoves and boilers, and how automation may improve that. Start up emissions can make up a significant amount of PM emissions in a unit’s normal burn cycle but it is not part of most certification testing protocols. Lisa will also address the challenges and value of real time testing.


One of the main goals of the Collaborative Stove Design Workshop at Brookhaven Lab is to develop an alternative test protocol for automated stoves. The lack of a test protocol to test stoves that cannot be burned at the 4 adjustable burn rates is a major barrier to these stoves becoming certified and being marketed in the U.S. Dr. Butcher will review the issues and solutions to developing such a an alternative test protocol.


HearthStone, along with the HPBA, has data to share from many years that show the consumer trends with regard to preferences, demographics and stove user interactions. This will be an informative perspective on the market. David Kuhfahl has been with HearthStone for 20 years serving in various roles from Manufacturing and Product Development through President of US operations for the last 12 years. Hearthstone sells solid fuel products under 17 active EPA certificates today and has had an EPA certified Pellet stove since 2010.

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