Screening Observations at the Wood Stove Decathlon

By Norbert Senf
The Wood Stove Decathlon was a historic celebration. It was the 1st at any time attempt to get a selection of stoves in the discipline (practically, in this scenario) and take a look at them for particulate subject (PM) emissions.
Norbert Senf, right, with Neils Wittus,
heart, and John Ackerly
For one thing untried until now, the side-by-side area-screening can declare many firsts.&nbsp
It effectively in contrast stoves in a shocking range of groups which includes masonry heaters as well as retrofit kits. The undertaking was a success not only as a media function but also in advancing the actual planet tests of wood burning stoves.
Cordwood is an extremely difficult gasoline to get repeatable knowledge with simply because it is so inherently variable. To incorporate to the obstacle, PM is specifically difficult to measure, even in a laboratory. While the test results from the Decathlon ended up not adequate to offer PM numbers that allowed comparison with EPA quantities, they did allow a position of the stoves from every other. This is a considerable accomplishment in alone.
PM is the wooden gasoline pollutant of biggest desire given that it leads to the most public wellness considerations. Carbon monoxide (CO) is one more pollutant.&nbsp It is produced by incomplete combustion like PM, but it is a lot simpler to measure. It is usually not considered a overall health hazard in low atmospheric concentrations exterior of densely trafficked city locations, and sooner or later oxidizes to CO2 on its personal.

Owing to new wood burning emissions rules in Germany, two new moveable instruments for measuring PM in the subject ended up recently created there. Thankfully, this occurred just in time for the Decathlon to consider them out. The instruments are minimal to the 15-minute test cycle that is mandated in the German regulation, and as a result can only evaluate what occurs during a portion of the burn up. Measuring an whole examination cycle will definitely be a aim for foreseeable future Decathlons.

Frequent knowledge retains that minimal carbon monoxide (CO) emissions, which are easy to evaluate, will also make sure lower PM, which is hard to measure. The contest final results did not bear this out. The stove with the most affordable PM had the second highest CO. For the stove with the least expensive CO, there were 4 stoves with reduced PM. To be sure, the data set is restricted. The 15-minute check window did not enable for common values to be calculated in excess of the melt away of an whole gas load.
Repeatability is a single of the most crucial actions of information quality. Considering that each stove in the Decathlon gained two (in theory) similar take a look at runs, we can get a transient glimpse here, as effectively. Discarding obvious outliers, we see a coefficient of variation (CV) in repeat operates of forty three% on PM, 40% on CO and seven% on efficiency. This compares favorably with EPA inter-laboratory repeatability scientific studies, in which the two stoves with the biggest info sets equally arrived in at forty four% CV on PM. For masonry heaters, an MHA (Masonry Heater Affiliation) laboratory research on repeatability with dimensional lumber fuel cribs yielded 10% CV on PM, 1.5% on CO, and .26% on effectiveness.
The repeatability metric provides a useful baseline for judging information good quality in long term decathlons. There is an ongoing fueling protocol debate in the testing group among the repeatability achievable with fuel cribs, and the actual world randomness of cordwood. EPA screening is at present done with cribs. To get a repeatable EPA cordwood number could need running a big number of (costly) laboratory examination operates and taking an average. To day, very minor function has been carried out to offer information for both facet of the discussion.
All in all, the Wood Stove Decathlon was a wonderful energy in the direction of advancing our understanding about how wooden stove emissions compare in the real globe. This was notably beneficial to see for various lessons of appliances with no frequently outlined EPA tests approaches.
Useful lessons and insights have been had for developing a long term obstacle. Seeing the complicated tests issues enjoy out in true life was a distinctive academic chance for contestants, organizers, judges, regulators and the testing group by itself.

Norbert Senf was 1 of the 10 judges at the Wood Stove Decathlon. He joined early efforts to publish codes and requirements, and was a founding member of the Masonry Heater Affiliation of North America (MHA). He presently chairs the MHA Technical Committee.

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The Expenses of Working the Wooden Stove Layout Obstacle

From inception, to announcement, to selecting the groups, to holding the Wood Stove Decathlon, the Wood Stove Layout Obstacle unfolded more than a 2-year time period.&nbsp The complete cost came to about $ 200,000 more than individuals two a long time, and $ 157,000 of that was in 2013.
In 2013, the Wood Stove Design Obstacle value about $ 157,000 in direct funds bills.&nbsp In addition, tangible, in-type donations that we would have normally had to pay out for accounted for a lot more than $ fifty,000.&nbsp The premier spending budget items were salaries ($ 39,000), the tent ($ 33,000), prize money ($ 30,000) and screening ($ 23,000).
General, our premier funders ended up NYSERDA ($ forty seven,000), the Osprey Basis ($ forty,000), and the District of Columbia ($ 10,000).&nbsp In addition, we had very huge in-sort assist from ICC Chimney, which was almost certainly in the $ 20,000 assortment, the Chimney Security Institute of America, the cell particulate sampling companies Wohler and Testo, Brookhaven Countrywide Lab, Common Mechanics, Travis Industries and other individuals.
1 cause the Alliance was ready to maintain this competitiveness for a whole cost of $ two hundred,000 is that salaries ended up lower, and we kept a lot of costs to a bare minimal.&nbsp If the Alliance had been to do one more equivalent Style Obstacle, we would have to program for a total of about $ 300,000 over a two 12 months interval, and use at minimum $ two hundred,000 of that for the calendar year of the occasion.

2013 Decathlon Expenses
(Jan. one – Nov. thirty, 2013)
President (50%) $ 23,000
Study Fellow $ 3,two hundred
Research Fellow $ 1,875
Net/IT $ one,000
WSDC assistant&nbsp (fifty%) $ 6,000
Taxes, advantages &amp payroll (fifty%) $ 4,500
Sub-complete $ 39,575
First prize $ twenty five,000
2nd prize $ 5,000
Sub-total $ 30,000
Brookhaven Countrywide Lab $ 23,000
Media specialist $ two,500
Sub-complete $ twenty five,500
Celebration charges
NPS price restoration deposit $ 1,800
NPS police $ two,244
Tent, generator, tables, chairs, and many others. $ 33,117
Transportable restrooms $ 535
Signs $ 690
Add’l legal responsibility insurance policies $ 809
Lunches/meals $ 950
Regional Journey $ 200
Judges lodge $ two,three hundred
Transportation $ 1,500
U-Haul Rental &amp scaffolding $ 680
Misc. celebration materials $ 3,500
Sub-complete $ 48,325
Other fees
Jan. Brookhaven
Judges Meeting
$ 3,000
Supplies $ one,000
Copying/printing $ 600
Hire, telephones, and so on. (fifty%) $ seven,450
Misc. $ 1,600
Sub-complete $ thirteen,650
Overall 2013&nbsp
Decathlon expenses
$ 157,050

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EPA Inaction and an Industry Faction Are Holding us Back

On Oct 9, seven states and five environmental teams sued the EPA for failure to promulgate new emission specifications for household wood heaters.&nbsp If EPA had carried out its occupation many years ago, as it was obligated to do below the Cleanse Air Act, the stove sector and customers would be much far better off nowadays.

Rather, we have all been dragged down by an agency that has not taken residential wooden heating seriously ample.&nbsp And some the outdoor wood boiler producers have opposed realistic condition and local regulations on their items, top to controversies with condition air organizations and environmental groups that could be averted.
Privately, most people in the wooden heating industry concur that outside wooden boilers have presented us all a black eye.&nbsp These gadgets, notably concentrated in the Excellent Lakes location, are contributing in direction of a damaging view of wooden heating at a time when the public and policymakers could have been building a a lot more optimistic check out, as they have in Europe.&nbsp
But some outside boiler manufacturers, even though officially declaring that they want to be regulated, have fought in condition after point out to keep promoting old-fashioned polluting boilers.&nbsp And now they are fighting the EPA above what they feel are considerably also burdensome rules.
In the meantime, in Europe, exactly where such technologies really don’t exist, governments are vigorously supporting wood heat systems through rebates and incentives.&nbsp
A single purpose Europe has been in a position to incentivize wood heating is that virtually each place has a inexperienced label to identify the cleanest and most successful stoves and boilers, which presents lawmakers the potential to give rebates and incentives to the very best merchandise.&nbsp In the US, there is no Vitality Star system for wooden heaters and market has place the brakes on a state initiative to develop a environmentally friendly label program.&nbsp When we have a eco-friendly label program, I believe we will start to see the tide flip, with states starting to shift consumer buys in direction of the cleanest and most productive wood and pellet stoves and pellet boilers.
In polluted city locations, like Denver and Montreal and areas of the Pacific Northwest, we are likely to see much more bans on the new set up of wood stoves and a shift toward pellet stoves.&nbsp This may possibly not be ideal, but it is also a sensible response.&nbsp Cordwood is not an proper energy answer for lots of people in densely inhabited city locations, especially these that knowledge temperature inversions, when the technology is so dependent on operators utilizing seasoned wood and giving the equipment adequate air.&nbsp
In coming months, our neighborhood will be increasingly in the community spotlight as these lawsuits from the EPA get underway and we have a ninety-working day community comment period of time over the EPA’s extended awaited regulations.&nbsp We are in an period exactly where engineering can make wood and pellet stoves considerably cleaner, even though nevertheless becoming cost-effective. &nbspNumerous of these stoves had been on show the National Shopping mall at the Wooden Stove Decathlon in mid-November.&nbsp There, plan makers noticed what stove engineers are functioning on and are capable of generating.&nbsp They saw very first hand that wood warmth technological innovation is developing quick and can be a vital part of our renewable strength future, not just a relic of the earlier.
Outside wooden boilers are the most polluting class of residential wood heaters on the market these days, and as this sort of they will be the most in the information. &nbspBut the EPA restrictions are still essential in demanding equally wooden and pellet stoves to turn out to be cleaner and a lot more effective.&nbsp As soon as that takes place, public opinion can get started to change in a more favorable way toward deploying present day wooden and pellet engineering to reduce our reliance on fossil gas, and shrinking the divide between US and European coverage.

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A Brief Examination of Stoves at the Wooden Stove Decathlon

The threat of naming a winner at a opposition like this is that the a lot of achievements of the non-winners obtain little emphasis. Here we list the best 6 stoves in every single classification: General Overall performance, Innovation, Affordability, Particulate Matter Emissions, Performance, Marketplace Attractiveness and Carbon Monoxide Emissions. We attempt to note the traits between stove courses and the stand out performances of stoves that did not acquire prizes.

The scoring was completed by 9 judges. 3 of the locations — PM emissions, performance and CO emissions — had been scored only by the tests gear, indicating the judges had no discretion to adjust the grade of the stoves for these three areas. Each and every stove was analyzed at the very least two times. For much more on scoring see:


one) Woodstock Soapstone
2) Travis
2) Wittus
four) Intercontinental
four) Ecolabel Tile Stove
four) Hwam

Woodstock Soapstone

The Grand prize went to a finely tuned, by natural means drafting catalytic wood stove with no any electronic controls. In reality, the winning Woodstock Soapstone hybrid is really equivalent to the style of one of the 2nd spot stoves, the Cape Cod by Travis.&nbsp Wittus is also a in a natural way drafting metal stove that has a distinctive downdraft burn up into a reduce chamber. Technically, this is a non-cat stove, but its design and style has little in typical with the classic non-cat stoves on the market right now.

The fourth and fifth top total stoves have been masonry stoves, and even though they did not just take residence any prizes (due to their substantial pricetags and perceived absence of innovation, as the fundamental designs and principles are so aged), it is clear that they carried out very nicely overall.&nbsp Two of the leading 6 stoves all round had digital sensors and personal computers.



2) Wittus
3) IntensiFire
four) Woodstock Soapstone
five) Mulciber
six) Travis

The two prime innovation scores went to a Danish stove and a German stove.&nbsp 1st area went to the Hwam Autopilot stove with its onboard personal computer and oxygen sensor. If testing lasted many hours, not just 15 minutes, these attributes would have likely assisted the stove acquire increased total factors. The stove also alerts the property owner to the ideal time to reload and how significantly wood to reload. There is no control on the stove for customers to adjust they can just load it and go away, knowing that the stove will do the rest.

The IntensiFire claimed the variety three spot since it is a reasonably basic, sophisticated solution for old, uncertified stoves. And Mulciber, the College of Maryland stove, took fifth place with a pressurized, admirer pushed combustion chamber and co-axial stack.


one) Woodstock Soapstone
two) Walker Stoves
two) IntensiFire
4) SmartStove
five) Travis
six) Intercontinental

Tom Morrissey’s hybrid Best Metal from Woodstock Soapstone is obviously a wonderful price presented its size, BTU output and functionality. The company has fully commited to retail it for $ 2,000 and ideally that doesn’t indicate it’s a loss leader for the company. The Walker stove, a hybrid rocket stove that can be made with much more thermal mass, also impressed the judges and has lots of potential to get on the marketplace for much less than $ two,000.

This is the one particular region that the SmartStove appears in the top six rankings for its control technique that can automate virtually any non-catalytic stove, drastically lowering its total emissions for about $ two hundred on leading of the stove cost.



one) Mulciber
2) Intercontinental
three) Woodstock Soapstone
four) Wittus
5) Ecolabel Tile Stove
6) Travis

In the emissions classification, noticed by numerous professionals as the crucial goal of substantial carrying out stoves, the underdog staff from the College of Maryland took a surprising initial area with a the very least one operate where the PM 2.five particulates have been so reduced they had been scarcely measurable. The pupils employed a property-manufactured catalyst and a exclusive self-cleaning particulate trap to achieve these results.

Once more, the masonry stoves did extremely nicely along with the other catalytic stoves. The Travis Cape Cod has the least expensive PM measurement of any licensed wood stove at .45 grams an hour, one tenth of the a lot more stringent Washington State restrict, when analyzed with dimensional lumber.


one) Wittus
two) Tulikivi
3) Ecolabel Tile Stove
4) Mulciber
5) Intercontinental
6) IntensiFire


All the masonry stoves done extremely properly in the effectiveness class, even although the prime spot went to the downdrafting German Wittus stove that has a fairly small firebox. Because effectiveness is calculated using a stack heat reduction strategy, the masonry stoves could shed most of their heat to the masonry mass ahead of exiting the chimney. The University of Maryland’s Mulciber stove frequently had stack temperatures close to two hundred levels, fifty percent that of some of the other stoves.

What is surprising listed here is that neither the Woodstock Soapstone nor the Travis positioned in the top six, even however they have 3rd social gathering efficiency tests that charges them close to eighty two% in the EPA wood stove listing. This could indicate that these other stoves could hit efficiencies even larger, all around eighty four or 85% employing the EPA’s examination, or it may possibly simply suggest that the effectiveness screening and methodology at the Decathlon favored masonry stoves or was not good ample to measure extremely minor variances among extremely productive stoves.


Industry Attractiveness

one) Travis
2) Wittus
three) Woodstock Soapstone
4) Ecolabel Tile Stove
5) Hwam
six) Tulikivi

The much more polished stoves that ended up already in creation gained out below, with the catalytic and masonry stoves vying once again for best places. The judges appeared to vote based mostly on what they believed was probably to appeal to the typical customer based mostly on aesthetics, with no regard to price.


1) Travis
2) Woodstock Soapstone
three) Tulikivi
four) Tile Stove
5) Intercontinental
six) IntensiFire

Once more, this class was a fight between the catalytic stoves and the masonry stoves, with the catalytic stoves using the best spots. The University of Maryland crew also utilized a catalyst but inadequate air on at least one particular run harm their CO levels. It is noteworthy that the IntensiFire manufactured it into the leading six, presented that it utilized a quite easy, cost-effective modify to an outdated, uncertified stove.

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