|Patricia Fritz of the NY Office of Wellness and
Dr. Barbara Panessa-Warren, a nano particle skilled
from Brookhaven.  Their panel was a single of the most appreciated!
|Dave Atkins, moderator of the wood stove retrofit panel,
introducing Jeff Hollowell, a retrofit builder.
|Stove set up and set-up prior to the celebration. (Norbert Senf)
|Marius Wöhler came from Germany to share ordeals of BeReal, a
European round robin tests task and a multi-yr European
Union funded study of how people in fact use their stoves at home. (AGH)
|Geoffrey Johnson and the Torrefire Pellet Stove. (BNL)
|SUNY Buffalo college students (from left: Kevan Darmawan, Kyle Hinman,
and Steven Widdis) making use of the Testo 320. (BNL)
|The VibraStove, invented and
designed by Stephen Spevak.
|A drawing of what the PELLWOOD, first place winner, by Wittus,
could search like when it goes to marketplace. (Wittus)
|Geoffrey Johnson, inventor of the Torrefire stove, with Jytte
Illerup, a Danish researcher and Ricardo Caravahlo, a
Portugese Ph.D. pupil from Denmark. (AGH)
|Mark Knaebe, from the US Forest Support and John Crouch, from
HPBA at the automatic twine wood stove panel. Ben Myren
was presenting the VcV valve technologies via telephone. (AGH)
|The Alliance for Inexperienced Heat staff: Board members Dave Atkins,
Jonathan Kays, and Norbert Senf with AGH President John
Ackerly in blue and staff member Gabriella McConnel. (AGH)
|René Bindig, a member of the initial
area team,Wittus – Fire by Design and style.
|Craig McKim of Testo,  discussing
tests methods with the SUNY Buffalo crew. (AGH)
|Tom Butcher and Rebecca Trojanowski, biomass tests
experts from Brookhaven Nationwide Laboratory. (AGH)
|John Ackerly and Gabriella McConnel, of the Alliance for
Green Warmth, presenting two of the commercial
demonstration stoves. (Norbert Senf)
Invoice Clark of the Osprey Basis (proper) exhibits off the
Mimi Moto, an extremely thoroughly clean pellet fired cook dinner stove
that he distributes in Africa. (AGH)
|Norbert Senf of the Masonry Heater
Affiliation presenting results on PM
repeatability testing. (AGH)
|Judges conference ahead of the Closing Ceremony.  From the remaining:
Rebecca Trojanowski, Mark Knaebe, Tom Butcher, Ray
Albrecht, Ellen Burkhard and Phil Hopke. (Norbert Senf)
|Stephen Spevak, inventor of the VibraStove, explaining
his design and style to the learners of SUNY Buffalo.  (AGH)
|Staff Wittus – Fireplace by Layout, seconds right after listening to
the information that they gained very first place. (AGH)
|Rebecca Trojanowski, Craig McKim, Geoffrey Johnson,
and Mark Knaebe admiring the testo design able of
measuring PM. (Norbert Senf)
|Scott Williamson, Pelletstoveservice.com,
touching on the greatest and worst of
innovation in the pellet stove industry. (AGH)
|Jock Gill, representing Jerry Whitfield,
talking about the heritage of pellet stoves
and the potential of biochar. (AGH)
|Dr. Joseph Mollendorf, advisor to the SUNY Buffalo team,
speaking on the automation and controls
his students are doing work on. (Norbert Senf)
|Adam Baumgart-Getz of EPA with Geoffrey
Johnson and the Torrefire stove, which
burns torrefied wood pellets. (AGH)
|2nd and initial area teams congratulating every single other
(From still left: Vance Hirst Sr., Vance Hirst Jr., and
Vance Hirst III of Group Seraph and Niels Wittus and
René Bindig of Crew Wittus – Fireplace by Style) (AGH)
|Alliance for Environmentally friendly Heat personnel (correct) congratulating Niels Wittus and
René Bindig, who received first area at the 2016 Pellet Stove Style Challenge.
|Rene Bindig and Niels Wittus,
designers of the Pellwood stove.
A German designed Wittus stove that is dispersed by a New York company, and a stove created by Seraph Industries, the smallest U.S. pellet stove manufacture, gained very first and next spot in the 2016 Pellet Stove Design and style Challenge.
This was the 3rd Stove Style Obstacle
marketing innovation in wood and pellet heating to assist buyers minimize fossil heating fuels with appliances that burn up considerably cleaner and far more proficiently than common stoves.
The Wittus Pellwood stove is an really modern prototype that can burn up each pellets and cordwood, bringing innovative technologies from basement furnaces up into the living room to accomplish quite reduced emissions of significantly less than fifty percent a gram for every hour.  The next place stove, Seraph’s Phoenix F25i, is practically ready for certification testing.  It also reached a quite clean burn up, persistently beneath 1 g/hr. and has modern characteristics to assist and inspire the client to maintain the stove working well.
|The Seraph group with AGH President
John Ackerly (proper).
Other stoves highlighted really modern patterns, which includes the futuristic searching, radiant warmth Torrefire stove with a glass burn up pot. In addition, the gravity fed Vibrastove, with a melt away plate instead of pot, employed only one tiny admirer and made its personal electrical power for off-grid use.
The Section of Energy’s Brookhaven Nationwide Lab hosted the function. The Lab carried out in depth tests of the opposition stoves and will offer valuable data for the EPA, business and other stakeholders about the strengths and weaknesses of tests protocols.
Each stove was examined 3 instances, to see if the stove operated persistently or regardless of whether the screening protocol could direct to variable benefits.
|The Torrefire pellet stove.
“Designing a very inexpensive, high carrying out pellet stove should not be rocket science,” stated Dr. Tom Butcher, Head of the Power Resources Division at Brookhaven National Laboratory
. “But in some techniques its tougher than rocket science due to the fact reliable gasoline combustion is extremely challenging to design for and check,” he mentioned.
“What helps make this competitors wonderful is the new concepts from the competing teams and the spirit of collaboration.”
Pellet stoves are extensively seen as a modern, cleaner, and a consumer-friendlier substitute to twine wood stoves.
A lot more states and applications are beginning to give more substantial rebates and incentives for pellet stoves than cord wooden stoves, and are starting to target on the stricter emission specifications that will consider influence in 2020.
This Style Obstacle showed that the 2020 expectations for particulate issue would not be hard for pellet stoves to achieve, but that numerous pellet stoves have mediocre efficiencies.
|Steve Spevak, designer of the
Vibrastove and Dr. Tom Butcher
(right) throughout testing.
The Pellet Stove Design Problem is a partnership in between numerous organizations and organizations that are interested in checking out the prospective of technology to satisfy a increasing need for renewable strength.
The principal funder,
the New York State Strength Investigation and Advancement Authority (
NYSERDA), operates Renewable Warmth New York
, a multi-layered incentive software for pellet heating equipment at the residential, commercial and industrial scale.  Other partners
contain the United States Forest Service, Brookhaven Nationwide Lab and point out agencies from Massachusetts and Washington, alongside with major specialists from Clarkson College, the Masonry Heater Affiliation and the Osprey Foundation.
The Design and style Problem brought virtually a hundred college students, stove builders, backyard inventors,
lecturers, regulators and authorities with each other to talk about and discussion the condition of the pellet stove engineering, indoor and outdoor air top quality problems and deployment approaches.  Of distinct notice had been a few college teams that are designing stoves from engineering departments at SUNY Buffalo, SUNY Stony Brook and the University of Maryland.  The speakers
incorporated Adam Baumgart-Getz from the EPA, Marius Wohler from the European BeReal initiative, nanoparticle skilled Dr. Barbara Panessa-Warren and scores of other people.  Presentation abstracts
are available along with most of the powerpoint displays
|Marius Wohler, a single of the European
presenters, describing the BeReal survey
and tests, foremost to new screening
protocols in Europe.
The occasion coordinator, the Alliance for Environmentally friendly Heat, is discovering a return to sophisticated twine wood stove technologies and employing the Countrywide Shopping mall in Washington DC yet again as a location in 2017.  Stakeholders are invited to get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org
with enter about the following Design and style Problem.
– – –
The Alliance for Green Warmth promotes modern wood and pellet heating systems as a reduced-carbon, sustainable and inexpensive energy solution. The Alliance performs to progress stove innovation by way of engineering competitions and advises state and federal organizations on strengthening plans that require wooden and pellet heating. Founded in 2009, the Alliance is an impartial non-profit organization based in Takoma Park Maryland.
Posted by Earth Stove on April 2, 2016 with No Comments
This is an except of a much longer, and more technical paper by Prof. Gael Ulrich’s -“BioCombustion Institute Bulletin #3.” Gael calculated the efficiency of six popular pellet stoves, finding a wide difference. The highest, the Italian made Piazzetta Sabrina was 76% efficient and the lowest was the Enviro M55 Insert at 51% efficient. In between were the Ravelli RV80 (62%), Englander PDCV55 (63%), Quadrafire Mt Vernon AE (64%) and Harman Accentra 52i (71%).
He did this by using performance data produced by the Alliance for Green Heat, who tested these 6 stoves over a 30-day period. The Alliance operated the stoves, often for 24 hours a day, testing them almost every day at various heat output settings and averaging the results. All the stoves were purchased new, without the knowledge of the manufacturers and operated with the same PFI certified pellets. The Alliance produced an in-depth report about the findings, but we did not report the efficiency values because the instrument we used was a Testo 320, which produces a proprietary European (LHV) number, not the kind of efficiency values that are used and reported in North America.
Gael’s full paper can be downloaded as a PDF here, which is quite technical. We reproduced the less technical parts which are accessible to a wider audience.
One conclusion is that many pellet stoves lack a very simple solution to increasing their efficiencies – larger heat exchangers. Gael found that “All [the stoves], except the Enviro and Quadrafire, appear capable of adding another 5 to 10 percentage points by increasing heat exchange area to reduce the flue gas temperature.” This solution may only add $ 100 – $ 200 to the price of a stove but would save consumers far more in fuel costs.
One thing is clear: more expensive stoves do not necessarily provide consumers with higher efficiency. The Englander is sold by big box hardware stoves for $ 1,100, and is on par or better in efficiency than stoves that sell for $ 3,000 or $ 4,000. This is significant because the big pellet stove manufactures do not release the actual efficiency of their stoves to consumers and consumers have virtually no way to tell which models are lower or higher efficiency. The EPA contributed to a myth that pellet stoves have high efficiencies by giving them a default efficiency of 78%. Emerging data shows the average pellet stove is likely around 70% efficiency, but many big name brands make pellet stoves that have efficiencies in 50s and 60s. This analysis begins to dismantle the lack of transparency in efficiency values that manufacturers have tried to maintain for many years.
Biomass Combustor Efficiency
BioCombustion Institute Bulletin #3
(Gael Ulrich: 16 March 2016)
|Gael Ulrich was a professor of
Chemical Engineering at the
University of New Hampshire
If flue gas temperature and composition are known, one can calculate the efficiency of a biomass combustor using the so-call “stack loss” technique. This paper explains in detail why that is possible and how to do it. Fortuitously, during the preparation of this bulletin, the Alliance for Green Heat published data from their testing of six pellet stoves this past September. Test equipment used in the AGH study delivered composition, temperature, and efficiency numbers. Investigators declined to report the efficiency numbers for various reasons, although they do mention a range of 60 to 75%.
Using the AGH temperature and concentration data, I made independent calculations as described in detail herein. I find one of the six stoves operating at 51% efficiency, three in the low 60s, and the remaining two operating at 71 and 76%. I also conclude from my analysis that some of these units use “dilution as the solution to pollution.” If we consider actual emissions in grams per hour or milligrams per MegaJoule of heat delivered instead of parts per million in flue gas, the rating is rearranged with one stove deemed second dirtiest becoming the cleanest and that ranked third cleanest becoming the dirtiest. Factors that influence efficiency and cleanliness and how to improve these important performance properties are also discussed herein.
As pointed out in BCI Bulletins #1 (Units) and #2 (Emissions), biomass is intrinsically a clean fuel composed primarily of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and ash. If burned properly, with ash un-entrained, flue gases from biomass can be as clean as those from natural gas and perhaps even cleaner than from oil. The problem, of course, is that biomass is neither a liquid nor a gas like these fossil fuels. Burning a solid cleanly and efficiently is much more difficult. Bulletin #2 dealt with cleanliness and the standards expected. This one focuses on efficiency and how it can be measured for a biomass burner.
Instruments and software are available to deliver efficiency ratings and other data even to an ignorant user with enough money to buy them. But to use these tools intelligently, one must know how they function and should be able to calculate efficiency separately and from scratch. This bulletin describes how to do that.
Efficiency is a concept that everyone understands, but different people often define it differently. Let’s solve that problem first. For simplicity, visualize a biomass combustor as a black box with fuel and air flowing in; flue gases and ash flowing out. … As defined by logic, efficiency is the ratio of useful heat released to fuel energy provided. Fuel Energy is the Higher Heating Value, a quantity that has been carefully measured over the last couple centuries by scientists for all common fuels.
1. Burn with the least amount of excess air possible.
2. Operate with the lowest feasible flue gas temperature.
3. Use dry fuel.
Alliance for Green Heat Data
The AGH study ran for a period of 30 days. Investigators found results that showed little drift with time. Five of the six stoves operated with more than 200% excess air; beyond maxima considered in Figure 7. One could derive additional curves for these high air rates just as was done for the lower percentages of excess air, but I chose to extrapolate instead, creating the dashed lines in Figure 9.
Efficiencies for the six AGH pellet stoves as read from Figure 9b are listed in Table 6.
Table 6. Calculated efficiencies of pellet stoves studied in the September 2015 Alliance for Green Heat test series.
Stove O2 % X’s Air Flue Gas Efficiency e
Brand Conc. (Figure 8) Temp. (oC) (Figure 9b)
Enviro 18.7% 800% 150 51 %
Ravelli 16.8% 400% 195 62 %
Englander 16.0% 315% 222 63 %
Harman 15.0% 245% 205 71 %
Piazzetta 13.5% 175% 203 76 %
One of the six operated at 51% efficiency, three in the low 60s, and the remaining two operated at 71 and 76%. These numbers are consistent with the range mentioned in the AGH report.
Piazzetta achieves superiority through low excess air rate. Enviro, at the other end of the spectrum, would have an even lower efficiency if its flue gas temperature were as high as the others. All, except Enviro and Quad, appear capable of adding another 5 to 10 percentage points by increasing heat exchange area to reduce the flue gas temperature.
What about Pollution? The AGH data demonstrate an interesting application of using “dilution as a solution to pollution.” The Harman emitted flue gases containing about 820 ppm CO while the Enviro emitted 534 ppm. But the Harman operated with about 240% excess air; the Enviro with 800%. And, the Harman was 22% more efficient.
At the same pellet burning rate, the Enviro produces roughly 900/340 or 2.6 times as much flue gas as the Harmon, and its useful heat delivery rate is only 82 percent as great. Thus, in terms of mass of CO per kJ of delivered heat, a better measure of actual pollution, the Enviro is (2.6/0.82)*(534/820) = 2.1 or about twice as bad as the Harmon. Based on the data provided, I calculated mg of CO per MJ of useful heat delivered for the six pellet stoves. Results are listed in Table 7.
Table 7. Calculated CO emissions of pellet stoves studied in the September 2015 Alliance for Green Heat test series.
Brand % X’s Air Efficiency e (ppm) heat normalized**
Enviro 800% 51% 534 3000 850 (2.7)
Ravelli 400% 62% 428 1100 365 (1.2)
Englander 320% 62% 542 1200 387 (1.2)
Quad 480% 64% 318 930 318 (1.0)**
Harman 240% 71% 821 1300 487 (1.5)
Piazzetta 170% 76% 648 780 370 (1.2)
*Normalized to Quad as the reference.
**Normalized to Quad as the reference using Wikipedia formula.
In terms of mass per unit of useful heat, the Enviro emits about four times as much CO as the Piazzetta (3000 versus 780 mg/MJ or roughly 130 versus 35 milligrams per hour).
What about non-steady-state? My analysis assumes the appliance operates at steady state with feed rates and temperatures invariant with time. This is valid for automatic-feed pellet stoves but not for wood stoves that are fed batch-wise. There, the burn mode migrates from de-volatilization and combustion of light organics, gradually progressing to char or carbon burn-out. Fortunately, stage changes are slow relative to combustion kinetics. At any given time, the analysis described herein can be used to analyze the appliance at that instant. To more accurately reflect the performance of a batch-fired wood burner, one must record data over a complete firing cycle and then integrate results to obtain an average. This is further complicated by the fact that heat of combustion changes with time. That for carbon, for instance (near burn-out), is about 30,000 kJ/kg. Since the overall HHV for biomass is 20,000 kJ/kg, that for the volatiles must be lower than this.
What about moisture condensation? Mark Knaebe advocates improving efficiency by increasing heat exchange surface to the extent that water in the flue gas is condensed, adding its latent heat to the useful Q. This requires dropping flue gas temperature below the dew point. With low amounts of excess air, the dew point might be as high as 60 deg-C, but with 400% excess air, where many pellet stoves operate, the dew point is nearer 30 deg-C.
As cleaner appliances develop, the prospect of taking advantage of this extra heat becomes more intriguing because the condensate will be purer and non-fouling. The added heat transfer surface and increased capital cost, however, may not be practical.
Ray Albrecht suggests that temperatures in the range of 1000oC or greater are needed to achieve good burnout of flue gases. He stresses the importance of preserving flame temperature by insulating the combustion chamber to make sure reaction is complete before gases enter the heat exchanger.
Staging the air feed can promote gasification and partial combustion at low excess air conditions where temperatures are higher. Preheat can almost deliver a one-to-one increase of flame temperature with increased feed air temperature. Staging and preheat are common in newer biomass burners.
Catalysts are another important way to promote oxidation at lower temperatures than those needed otherwise.
Posted by Earth Stove on March 22, 2016 with No Comments
March 22, 2016
– The Alliance for Environmentally friendly Warmth acquired a $ fifteen,600 grant from West Penn Energy Sustainable Energy Fund (WPPSEF) for a wooden stove adjust out evaluation.
The grant money will be utilized to suggest alternatives for plans that remove present older stoves, and substitute them with new, wood burning appliances that fulfill or exceed the U.S. Environmental Defense Company (EPA) 2020 New Source Efficiency Requirements wooden heater restrictions.  This kind of a software must also consist of a measurement and verification ingredient that ensures existing wooden stoves are taken off, taken off the market, and disposed of.
In addition, the venture will check out the integration of a wood stove modify out system into existing funding or incentive packages, as properly as a household vitality performance software that will drastically minimize wooden smoke emissions and deal with home ease and comfort and air high quality security worries.
“Woody biomass is an plentiful renewable warmth feedstock which has been employed by generations to offer low-value heating for residences throughout Pennsylvania.  WPPSEF seeks to much better comprehend how older wooden burning stoves can be changed by point out-of-the art stoves that fulfill or exceeds EPA’s 2020 New Supply Performance Specifications even though making certain the outdated stove is removed from the marketplace.  WPPSEF is striving to build a price-effective plan that support homeowners exchange their old wood stove and although enhancing neighborhood air top quality and residence comfort” suggests Joel Morrison, Director of the WPPSEF.
The Alliance for Eco-friendly Heat encourages present day wooden and pellet heating programs as a minimal-carbon, sustainable and inexpensive energy solution. The Alliance operates to progress cleaner and much more productive household heating engineering, particularly for reduced and center-cash flow households. Launched in 2009, the Alliance is an impartial non-profit group and is tax-exempt beneath part 501c3 of the tax code.
The West Penn Energy Sustainable Strength Fund (WPPSEF)
is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that invests in the deployment of sustainable strength systems that gain West Penn Electricity ratepayers in Pennsylvania. WPPSEF investments are targeted in a few broad groups:
Deployment of sustainable and clear vitality systems
Deployment of vitality effectiveness and conservation systems and
Facilitating financial growth, environmental betterment, and community training as they relate to sustainable strength deployment in the WPP services location.
Posted by Earth Stove on March 8, 2016 with No Comments
Two New York teams are among the finalists
Alliance for Green Heat and the New York State Energy Research and
Development Authority (NYSERDA) today announced that seven pellet
stoves have been chosen as finalists in the Pellet Stove Design
This international competition, administered by the Alliance for Green
Heat, identifies innovative low emissions and high efficiency pellet
stoves for the residential home heating market. The competition
supports Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s Renewable Heat NY initiative,
which is building a sustainable, high-efficiency, low-emissions wood
heating sector in New York.
The Pellet Stove Design Challenge supports the commitment of New
York State, the Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National
Lab, the U.S. Forest Service and a number of other states, agencies
and institutions to understand and improve the technology,
engineering and smart deployment of pellet stoves to reduce reliance
on fossil heating fuels.
The stoves will be judged for particulate matter emissions, efficiency,
safety, innovation and market potential. The winner of the
competition will be the team that best blends these qualities. The
stoves present a wide range of design approaches, including gravity
feed, downdraft burners, a combination cordwood/pellet stove, a
$ 300 stove and more traditional designs.
In April 2016, the teams will showcase their stoves at Brookhaven National Lab during the workshop and conference that are open to
the public. The event includes several days of panel discussions
and informal roundtables on pellet stove technology, public health,deployment, policy and innovation in pellet and cord wood stoves.
The technology competition will be followed by a multi-year initiative to exhibit the winning stoves and educate consumers and agencies that deal with wood smoke issues and the deployment of residential renewable energy systems. NYSERDA is providing support for this competition with additional support being provided by the Osprey Foundation and U.S. Forest Service.
NYSERDA President and CEO John B. Rhodes said, “The Pellet Stove Design Challenge is an innovative way to advance new technologies that can potentially provide consumers with higher efficiency pellet stoves. This competition aligns with Governor Cuomo’s Renewable Heat NY initiative, which is building a sustainable, high-efficiency, low-emissions wood heating sector in New York.”
Three stoves will be extensively tested and compete for a grand prize and four demonstration stoves will provide comparative, baseline data. The three competition stoves are:
1. A prototype that will burn cord wood or pellets and is controlled
by sensor technology made by DBFZ, a German company,
that markets in the U.S. through Wittus Fire by Design of
Pound Ridge, New York.
2. A new stove coming to the commercial market later this year,
made by Seraph Industries, a small Illinois company, known
for robust heat exchangers and a track record of
transparency and high efficiency multi-fuel stoves.
3.The Torrefire pellet stove, made by Seattle inventor
Geoffrey Johnson, which is a prototype that employs radically
different combustion and heat transfer strategies.
The four demonstration stoves are:
1. The Vibrastove, made by Noble Metals Recovery, a small
Virginia company that is a downdraft, gravity feed stove,
inspired by rocket stoves.
2. A modified Quadra-Fire pellet stove made by a student team from the State University of New York at Buffalo.
3. One of the cleanest commercial pellet stoves on the market today that is certified at less than .3 grams per hour.
4. Another very clean commercially available pellet stove, certified at less than .6 grams per hour.
The event is also bringing attention to the need for cleaner cord wood stoves. A student team from the State University of New York at Stony Brook and MF Fire, a company that grew from at University of Maryland team, will be showcasing automated, sensor controlled wood stoves.
The 2016 Pellet Stove Design Challenge is the third stove challenge that the Alliance for Green Heat will host. The first was a cord wood stove competition held on the National Mall in Washington DC in 2013 and the second was held at Brookhaven National Lab in 2014. The Alliance for Green Heat, a non-profit education and advocacy organization manages the Challenge, which was inspired by the Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon.
“We strive to foster a community that shares ideas and data to push
this technology forward and get pellet stoves the recognition they
deserve as a mainstream renewable energy technology,” said John
Ackerly, President of the Alliance for Green Heat. “Like solar and
wind, pellet stoves have huge potential in the United States to
drastically reduce household use of fossil fuels if the technology can
raise efficiency and reduce emission levels,” Ackerly added.
According to the Alliance for Green Heat, the average pellet stove in the U.S. is believed to be around 70 percent efficient but many of the
most popular models are in the low 60s and the best ones are
around 80 percent efficient. About one million homes are heated
with pellet stoves in the United States, with sales averaging about
75,000 per year. An efficient pellet stove can pay itself back in
three-to-five years, depending on the heat source being replaced.
Currently, the federal government offers a $ 300 tax credit for new
pellet stoves. Eight states
including Idaho, Maryland, Maine,
Montana, Oregon and New York, offer incentives of up to several
thousand dollars for pellet stoves.
The Advisory Committee that oversees the Challenge includes representatives from NYSERDA, Brookhaven National Lab, the USDA Forest Service, the Washington State Department of Ecology, the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources, Clarkson University and others.
About Reforming the Energy Vision
Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) is New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s strategy to build a clean, resilient and affordable energy system for all New Yorkers. REV is transforming New York’s energy policy with new state-wide initiatives and regulatory reforms. REV will grow the state’s clean energy economy, support innovation, ensure grid
resilience, mobilize private capital, create new jobs, and increase
choice and affordability for energy consumers. REV places clean, locallyproduced power at the very core of New York’s energy system. This protects the environment and supports the State’s goal to reduce greenhouse
gas emissions by 40% while generating 50% of its
electricity from renewable energy sources by 2030. Successful
initiatives already launched as part of REV include NY-Sun, NY Green
Bank, NY Prize, K-Solar, and a commitment to improve energy
affordability for low-income communities. To learn more about REV,
and follow us @REV4NY.
NYSERDA, a public benefit corporation, offers objective information
and analysis, innovative programs, technical expertise, and support to
help New Yorkers increase energy efficiency, save money, use
renewable energy, and reduce reliance on fossil fuels. NYSERDA
professionals work to protect the environment and create clean
energy jobs. NYSERDA has been developing partnerships to advance
innovative energy solutions in New York State since 1975. To learn
more about NYSERDA’s programs, visit nyserda.ny.gov
or follow us
, or Instagram
About the Alliance for Green Heat
heating systems as a low-carbon, sustainable and affordable energy
solution. The Alliance works to advance cleaner and more efficient
residential heating technology, particularly for low and middle-
income families. Founded in Maryland in 2009, the Alliance is an
independent non-profit organization and is tax-exempt under section
Posted by Earth Stove on February 20, 2016 with No Comments
When it comes to listing accurate efficiency and BTU output on their websites, there are only a handful of companies that you can trust.
|The Enviro EF2 pellet
stove is one example
If a consumer calculates the pay back period of am Enviro EF2 pellet stove based on the 87% efficiency listed on the Enviro website, they may be sorely disappointed. The independent lab that tested the stove found that the stove is only 58% efficient, meaning nearly half of the energy in the pellets goes up the chimney and does not heat the home.
Enviro is not alone in exaggerating their efficiency.
Most wood and pellet stove manufacturers use a variety of ways to say their stoves are more efficient than they actually are, and that they put out more heat than they actually do.
BTU output is the other area where manufacturers routinely report misleading data to consumers and in the case of BTU output, even the EPA is willing to post those exaggerated numbers on its website, further contributing to the problem.
These issues are coming to light in the wake of new EPA regulations that require more accurate reporting and require manufacturers to post the test reports of independent labs that certify wood and pellet stoves.
Many stove manufacturers are not complying with the new rules and will not post their certification reports for consumers to see, but some companies are complying.
A few companies stand out for providing the same efficiency numbers to their consumers as the independent test lab provided to the EPA.
They are: Blaze King, Kuma and Seraph, Travis and Woodstock Soapstone.
These companies also tend to make higher quality stoves and have good efficiency numbers.
Consumers can trust the efficiency numbers that these companies post on their websites and in their promotional materials.
The same is not true of other companies, including many leading brands.
Most companies list efficiencies using the European (LHV) method, which can produce efficiencies of more than 100% and make their stoves appear 5 – 8 points higher than they actually are.
But some companies go further, publishing efficiencies that are 15 – 29 points higher than they actually are.
The most extreme examples come from Enviro and American Energy Systems. Enviro posts 87% efficiency for their EF2 on their tax credit page, but the lab tested it at 58% efficiency, a 29 point difference. (The company did not reply to a query about the discrepancy.) American Energy Systems claims its Little Rascal pellet stove is 99% efficient, 28 points higher than 71% the lab posted.
(A company representative explained that when they say “efficiency” they mean combustion efficiency, not the thermal or heating efficiency that all other companies list.)
Another company, St. Croix pellet stoves, tells consumers their Hasting pellet stove is 83% efficient but the lab tested it at 66% efficient, a 17 point difference.
The largest stove maker in the country, Hearth & Home Technologies, that owns Dutchwest, Harman, Heatilator, Quadra-Fire, Vermont Castings and others brands, is notably absent in disclosing test lab reports or actual efficiencies of their products.
One of the foremost experts in the hearth industry is Dr. James Houck, an adjunct faculty member at the University of Portland in Oregon. Houck used to work for Omni Test labs, the most well known test lab in the US. He says, “Many of the pellet (and cordwood) stove efficiency values have been produced by commercial labs which optimized conditions and calculation methods.”
|A wood stove test lab.
|Under the new EPA stove regulations, known as New Source Performance Standards (NSPS), labs are restrained from optimizing conditions and calculation methods and will be producing more accurate efficiency and BTU output numbers for consumers. Still, labs are under pressure from their clients to produce the best possible emission, efficiency and BTU numbers, or they may take their business to another lab.
The new EPA rules are requiring the test labs to produce more accurate BTU output data, which is crucial for consumers to right size the appliance for their home.
The result will be that BTU figures posted by the EPA after May 2015 when the new rules began will be lower than the figures posted before May 2015.
The EPA has not started enforcing many provisions of the 2015 regulations which are being ignored by many companies. And, its enforcement capabilities are slim, a fact that is not lost on the industry that is regulates. State agencies could help enforce the new regulations, particularly for manufacturers based in their states and if stakeholders in the state pressure them to do so.
Under the new rules, an independent lab testing the St. Croix Hastings pellet stove reported that it produced 7,000 – 27,000 BTU per hour.
However, the St. Croix website says the stove produces up 40,000 BTU per hour.
Many manufacturers used to use the BTU input, which is the amount of BTUs available in the fuel, rather than the BTU output from the stove.
But The EPA has been recording estimated and often exaggerated BTU figures on its list of certified stoves for many years and it will be a slow process for them to start recording more accurate BTU figures from new test reports.
The Alliance for Green Heat has urged the EPA to remove all exaggerated BTU data from their list of certified stoves and only post actual BTU output that is determined by an independent lab using an approved calculation.
“The problem with companies using all manner of efficiency and BTU calculations is there is a disincentive to report more accurate numbers that would make your stoves look less efficient and less powerful,” said John Ackerly, President of the Alliance for Green Heat, a consumer focused wood heating non-profit organization.
“The new EPA rules are starting to change what gets posted on its list of certified stoves, but manufacturers can still virtually post whatever they want on their websites and no state or federal agency monitors that, as they do with cars and most consumer appliances,” Ackerly said.
Some companies are beginning to post their lab reports on their websites, so consumers who want extensive technical details can have access to them.
The reports are dense, often long and hard to digest, but can provide useful insights for those who want very detailed, technical information.
Blaze King, Enviro, Kuma and St. Croix post test lab report for all their stoves, a move that shows a level of corporate transparency that is not common in the wood stove industry.
For St. Croix, however, those test lab reports reveal that they have far higher efficiency and BTU numbers in their promotional materials. Lab reports can also help consumers understand what air settings or power levels their stove is likely to be cleanest, dirtiest, most efficient and least efficient.
Lab reports from testing that was done prior to 2015 usually do not have efficiency numbers or have been whited out.
Some of the posted lab reports are from as early as 1989, are hundreds of pages long and by test labs that no longer exist such as EEMC, Lokee Labs and Northwest Testing.
Advice for consumers
Beware of efficiency and BTU output claims on websites and promotional literature of wood and pellet stove manufacturers.
The only companies who accurately report their efficiencies on their websites that we are aware of are Blaze King, Kuma and Seraph, Travis and Woodstock Soapstone.
The EPA’s list of certified wood stoves
contains more and more actual efficiency numbers and is one of the few reliable places for efficiency information.
Most companies, such as all the brands owned by Hearth & Home Technologies, are still holding out disclosing lab reports to consumers.
If you want to be certain you are buying a higher efficiency stove, buy one that discloses their actual efficiency on the list of EPA certified stoves.
For more information on this topic and a list of stoves that have actual efficiency numbers, check our blog post, A Review of Wood and Pellet Stove Efficiency Ratings.
(This blog will be periodically updated as more data becomes available or if the companies mentioned reply to queries)
Posted by Earth Stove on January 12, 2016 with No Comments
The Internet is full of opinions and reviews of wood pellet brands. However, data of actual properties of various wood pellet brands is hard to locate. It cost under $ 100 for a lab to test ash, moisture and BTU content of a pellet. We tested 4 popular brands, along with corn kernels, to see the variability between brands. Our overall conclusion: much less variability than we expected (except for the corn).
Conventional wisdom is that you should buy a couple bags of pellets to see how they work on yourstove before buying a ton or more. That’s good advice, as some stoves handle a much wider range of pellets, while others do not. It’s especially good advice in light of the lab testing we did, that shows little variation between moisture, ash and BTU content of four popular brands.
The four brands we bought – made by American Wood Fiber, Curran, Pennington’s, and Nation’s Choice – are all major brands but only represent a small fraction of available brands. Two of them are PFI certified, which means that they must meet certain quality guarantees and cannot have more than 1.0% ash, 8.0% moisture, and 0.5% fines, among various other requirements. All four brands of pellets we tested fell within the parameters required by PFI premium grade, for the criteria that we tested – ash and moisture. We did not test for fines or for durability or bulk density or chlorides – things that can be important for performance. The cost for testing those qualities is about $ 250, more than we wanted to spend for each test.
Pellet manufacturers, whether they are PFI certified or not, usually do not disclose actual BTU, ash or fines, but just say that they do not exceed a certain level.
Ash content: Ash is one of the biggest concerns of consumers since high ash pellets can clog up some stoves and require more cleaning. Of the four brands we tested, the ash content was relatively similar, ranging from about 0.3% to 0.6%, far below the acceptable level under the PFI certified standard of 1.0%.
Whether your stove is 60% efficient or 80% efficient, you will get more heat from a pellet with more BTUs. Some pellet brands may have up to 8,800 BTUs per pound and some only 8,000. Still, only a 9% difference, would be $ 250 a ton and $ 272 a ton. The higher BTU pellets we tested had 8,439 BTUs per pound, 5% more than the lowest BTU brand, which had 8,011.
Moisture content varied even less than ash and BTU content between the four brands we tested. The low was 5.1% and the high was 5.8%. PFI allows up to 8%.
Price on all these 4 brands can vary depending on the time of year, the location, the seller, and whether or not a ton is purchased. Pennington’s, Nation’s Choice, and Curran have all been available at big box outlets in the $ 250/ton range over the past several months. The American Wood Fiber Ultra Premium White Pine is more expensive, as 100% softwood pellets tend to be, especially on the east coast.
Options for future testing
Testing and publishing the BTU, moisture and ash content of dozens of common wood pellet brands would be a great resource for consumers. Please let us know if you agree or have suggestions about how to develop and maintain a reliable, independent data base of pellet characteristics.
This report and the pellet testing was supported in part by a grant from the Maryland-based Rouse Charitable Foundation.
Posted by Earth Stove on December 19, 2015 with No Comments
|Labs test wood and pellet heaters for
efficiency and ones that are 75%
efficiency or higher can qualify
for the $ 300 tax credit.
The United States Congress is on the verge on finalizing a massive omnibus spending bill that would fund the government and provide tax breaks to businesses and individuals. Among them is the $ 300 tax credit to purchase a wood heating appliance. The bill extends that credit through Dec. 31, 2016 and is retroactive to Jan. 1, 2015.
In a far more widely anticipated move, Congress is poised to extend the 30% tax credit for residential solar panels through 2019 and then gradually reduce it. This credit was set to expire at the end of 2016 and offers that industry a level of support and certainty for strong growth.
For wood and pellet heaters, the bill extends the $ 300 tax credit, contained in Section 25C of the IRS tax code, which states taxpayers are entitled to a $ 300 tax credit for the purchase of a wood or pellet heating appliance that is 75% efficient or greater. Consumers need to obtain a certificate from the manufacturer, stating that the appliance is qualified for the credit.
For consumers who purchased a wood or pellet stove in 2015, or who will do so in 2016, they will likely be entitled to the $ 300 credit if they have not used up their $ 500 lifetime maximum credit for energy efficient property.
For wood, pellet stove, and boiler manufacturers, the process of issuing a certificate claiming their appliance is 75% efficient may be more complicated than in the past. In previous years, manufacturers claimed that every single stove they made was at least 75% efficient, flouting the letter and intent of the law, which was to only qualify stoves at 75% efficiency or higher, measured by the lower heating value (LHV). As of May 15, 2015 all stoves and boilers certified in the US are tested for efficiency using the CSA B415.1-10 efficiency test. This efficiency test provides a guideline for how to test and not all stoves will achieve an efficiency of 75%.
“Higher efficiency wood and pellet heaters deserve renewable energy incentives to help American families reduce reliance on fossil fuels and to encourage companies to build higher efficiency appliances,” said John Ackerly, President of the Alliance for Green Heat, an organization that advocates for wood and pellet heating. “In the past, some in industry has made a mockery of this tax credit, misleading tens of thousands of consumers into thinking they are buying higher efficiency stoves. Its time to start measuring efficiency and reporting it honestly and only qualifying those heaters that are 75% efficient or higher, using the lower heating value,” Ackerly said.
The Alliance for Green Heat estimates that up to half of all wood and pellet stoves and boilers could meet the 75% efficiency threshold, giving consumers a wide range of choices. Appliances that are 75% efficient using the European lower heater value (LHV) are usually between 69 – 71% efficient using the North American higher heating value (HHV).
A leading industry expert, Rick Curkeet concluded in a 2008 letter to an industry trade association
that “the intent of the solid fuel appliance incentive program recently enacted by Congress is … to require a minimum of 69.8% efficiency.”
Stove manufacturers do not have to publicly disclose their efficiencies and very few of them doA few stove companies, such as Blaze King, Jotul, Kuma, Seraph, Travis, Woodstock Soapstone publicly disclose actual efficiencies of most of their models on the EPA website and almost all of those models appear to qualify for the tax credit. The EPA considers higher heating value as a more accurate measure of efficiency for devices in the U.S. and therefore uses only those number on its list of EPA certified wood and pellet stoves.
Unlike other heating and cooling appliances, prior to May 2015 wood and pellet heating appliances did not have to test or report efficiencies and there are still few accepted norms on advertising practices. Websites and promotional materials of many major stove brands contain exaggerated efficiency claims, some of which may come from the company’s internal laboratory, not from a reputable, third party lab.
Posted by Earth Stove on December 9, 2015 with No Comments
|29 Republican House members
sponsored the bill to repeal the new
EPA heater regulations
An energy bill passed the House of Representatives with an amendment that repeals the EPA’s new residential wood heater regulations. The bill is not likely to pass the Senate and President Obama vowed to veto it, if it comes to his desk.
The passage of a bill that includes repealing the EPA’s residential wood heater regulations came as a surprise to most in the hearth industry, as well as in relevant state and federal agencies.
The bill, the North American Energy Security and Infrastructure Act of 2015, H.R. 8, was passed the House of December 3 with 240 Republican votes and 9 democrats. In addition to core issues in bill, it repealed more than 20 energy and energy efficiency studies and programs, including the EPA’s wood heater regulations which “shall have no force or effect and shall be treated as if such rule had never been issued.”
The underlying bill, H.R. 1986
, dubbed “the Stop EPA Overregulation of Rural Americans,” had 29 Republicans and no Democrat co-sponsors. The sponsors of the bill are almost all from very rural parts of the country but members of Congress representing districts with the highest levels of wood heating did not co-sponsor the bill. Most of the sponsors come from the southern half of the United States and likely reflect their deep-seated opposition to the EPA regulations generally.
Some of the sponsors of the bill refer to a “War on Rural America.” One of the most vocal advocates for the bill, Congressman Jason Smith (R-MO-8) repeatedly says the EPA is regulating existing stoves, not just new ones. He said in a statement that there are 12 million stoves in 2.4 million homes, probably referring to the distinction between the estimated total of 12 million stoves and the 2.4 million homes that use wood or pellets as a primary heating source.
None of the industry groups representing sectors of the hearth industry, including Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA), Biomass Thermal Energy Council (BTEC), and Pellet Fuels Institute (PFI), supported H.R. 1986, and it is unclear if any major company in the hearth industry supported the bill. One small Michigan company, Eco-Fab Industries that makes Eco-Maxx outdoor wood stoves which do not meet EPA emission regulations and cannot be sold in the residential market after Jan. 1, 2016, supports the bill.
Hearth industry leaders indicate that they are vested in broad parts of the NSPS and think that a judicial challenge to certain parts is the best strategy for the solution they want.
HPBA had mounted a legislative push in 2014, urging members of Congress to sponsor H.R. 4407that would have prohibited the EPA from setting emission regulations lower than 4.5 grams per hour. Some of the members who supported H.R. 4407 became co-sponsors of H.R. 1986.
“Thousands of hard working industry, non-profit and agency officials put years of work into these regulations and they are truly a compromise of competing interests,” said John Ackerly, President of the Alliance for Green Heat. “If no major stakeholder group is supporting the repeal of the regulations, why is the House of Representatives voting to do that?” Ackerly added.
Posted by Earth Stove on November 16, 2015 with No Comments
The EPA issued its long-awaited voluntary hangtag, which will help consumers identify the cleanest burning wood and pellet heaters on the market. Only manufacturers who make stoves and boilers that already meet the stricter 2020 emissions standards can use the hangtag.
The hangtag is a major step towards a “green” or “eco-label” for wood and pellet stoves for designating those stoves that emitted the least amount of smoke in the test lab. The hangtag has a line to record efficiency, if the manufacturer chooses to disclose it, but disclosing efficiency is not required. The Alliance expects some stoves with higher efficiencies to list their efficiency on the hangtag, and stoves with lower efficiency numbers to not disclose their efficiency.
Most European countries have had eco-labels specific to stoves for many years that have helped drive the market to exceed the minimum emission and efficiency standards. The EPA designed this hangtag “to provide an incentive to manufacturers to meet the federal 2020 standards early” but the main industry stove association, the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA) is suing the EPA to prevent those stricter 2020 standards from taking effect. It is still too early to tell if the big stove manufacturers may decline to use the hangtag because they may view it as a step toward the 2020 standards. Some smaller companies, that are not members of the HPBA, are already taking steps to display the hangtag.
The current emission standard for wood and pellet stoves is 4.5 grams per hour and the more stringent 2020 standard will be 2.0 grams per hour. There are 76 models of pellet stoves on the EPA’s list of certified stoves and 48 of them are already under the 2 grams per hour limit, so 63% of pellet stove models already meet these 2020 standards and are eligible to display the consumer hangtag. Eleven stoves, or 14% of all pellet stoves are already less than 1 gram per hour.
More than 2-dozen non-catalytic stoves and more than 2-dozen catalytic stoves are eligible to use the hangtag. (Unlike pellet stoves, the emissions from wood stoves are not designed to estimate emissions from in-home use and homeowners will typically emit far more smoke than labs can achieve during a certification test.)
Among EPA certified wood and pellet boilers, there are 72 models on the market and 38 of them meet the 2020 emissions standards and can use the hangtag. Of those 38, only 5 of the models use cord wood achieve the 2020 standards but virtually all of the pellet units (33 out of 35) achieve the 2020 standards. Most of the certified pellet boilers are technologies imported from Europe and emit about one tenth of the emissions that certified cord wood boilers emit.
The development of the hangtag posed a number of concerns for the EPA, including whether they should list heat output in BTUs per hour, which is already included on the EPA’s list of certified stoves. The EPA decided to use a more general estimate of heat output, “Heating Area” in square feet,
estimated by the companies themselves, because BTU per hour claims have become too unreliable and prone to exaggeration. In the past, the EPA did not require that test labs use actual efficiency numbers in heat output calculations, allowing test labs to use a range of efficiency estimates to make stoves look far more powerful that they actually are.
The hangtag also provides a box for companies to designate if they test with cordwood. So, for the first time ever, consumers can start to identify stoves that are designed and tested with the fuel that they would typically use themselves. No stove has been certified with cordwood yet and the ASTM cordwood test method is still in progress, but several companies are expected to test with cordwood in coming months.
The EPA is using the back of the hangtag to list important educational messages. Among those messages is the strongest endorsement yet of certified pellets, a move that will irritate many pellet manufacturers who have been resisting getting their pellets certified. The EPA went so far as to claim that “non-certified pellets may be high in ash content, low and energy output, and have impurities that could harm your families health.” While some cheaper pellets have high ash content, low heat output and possibly even contain impurities, the quality of many uncertified pellet brands are on par with those that are certified and some of the highest quality pellets are not certified.
The EPA’s willingness to strongly endorse pellet certification comes at a time when the main certifying body, the Pellet Fuel Institute (PFI), is also suing the EPA over some of the finer points of requirements that the EPA puts on pellet certification.
The success of the EPA’s consumer hangtag, like many eco labels, may hinge on branding and how recognizable the hangtag is to consumers. If the EPA, states, and non-profits put resources into promoting the hangtag, consumers will be more likely to ask for it and base their purchasing decisions on it. The first companies to start using the hangtag could see a boost in their sales and it could put pressure on the mainstream companies to use the hangtag, if they aren’t already.
“This hangtag will help consumers not only choose cleaner stoves, but also to choose companies committed to making cleaner stoves,” said John Ackerly, President of the Alliance for Green Heat. “If the stove you buy today already meets the 2020 standards, the parts and service for that stove are more likely to be available 5-10 years from now, when you need it,” Ackerly added.
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