An independent assessment of popular pellet stoves conducted by the Alliance for Green Heat found that pellet stoves, unlike most wood stoves, can achieve low levels of emissions in real world settings that are in line with laboratory results.
The Alliance for Green Heat ran a battery of tests on popular pellet stoves designed to approximate how they would perform in the real world.
The group found that half of the stoves operated as clean at the end of the thirty-day test than they did at the beginning and the others were only slightly dirtier.
All six stoves, from the least to the most expensive, operated well, and produced enough heat for a small to medium- sized home in most of the United States.
One of the biggest differences was that the three more expensive stoves tested (above $ 4,000) needed very little weekly cleaning and maintenance.
The less expensive stoves ($ 1,200 to $ 3,300) needed daily or at least bi-weekly cleaning of their burn pots and glass.
The study also found a lack of accepted reporting standards, leading to exaggerated claims about efficiency, BTU output and pellet hopper size on manufacturer websites and promotional literature.
The Alliance for Green Heat tested the stoves to give consumers better tools and make better purchasing decisions.
The study is part of a yearlong Pellet Stove Design Challenge
that assesses the state of existing pellet stove technologies.
The Design Challenge will culminate in a competition for the cleanest and most efficient stoves, modeled after the Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon.
Approximately one million American homes are heated with pellet stoves, more than twice the number that have solar panels. In Italy alone, 2 million households heat with pellets.
Pellet stoves often serve as primary heat sources, enabling homes to eliminate or drastically reduce fossil heating fuel.
Last year, about 40,000 pellet stoves were sold in the U.S. and they may outsell wood stoves in the near future.
The Alliance tested the England Stove Works 25-PDCVC, the Enviro M55 insert, the Harman Accentra 52i insert, the Piazzetta Sabrina, the Quadra-Fire Mt. Vernon AE, and the Ravelli RV80.
The group assessed each stove on its cleanliness, efficiency, maintenance, heat output and visibility of glass.
The overall winner was the Quadra-Fire Mt. Vernon AE, which received top marks in three of the five categories. The Harman Accentra received top marks in two of the five categories.
The results of this study underscore that pellet stoves tend to burn substantially cleaner than wood stoves in real world settings, but it challenges the notion that pellet stoves generally have higher efficiencies than wood stoves.
The efficiencies of the six stoves were low to medium, which is partially the result of companies not having to test and report actual efficiency numbers.
“Our testing confirmed that pellet stoves are an effective and affordable renewable energy technology,” said John Ackerly, President of the Alliance for Green Heat. “We hoped to see higher efficiencies, but efficiencies should improve in coming years,” Ackerly added.
The Alliance for Green Heat promotes modern wood and pellet heat as a low-carbon, sustainable and affordable residential energy solution. The Alliance works to advance cleaner and more efficient wood heating appliances and focuses on low and middle-income families. Founded in 2009, the Alliance is a 510(c)(3) non-profit organization based in Maryland.
|Rosalie Bianco established Boulder-based mostly
New Earth Pellets employing bark beetle-broken
trees to make the pellets.  Her organization, like
other individuals, will  have to begin filling out this
survey in 2016.
The US authorities is poised to get started a regular monthly survey of pellet producers, considerably like it conducts similar surveys for coal, oil, gas, and other renewable technologies like photo voltaic panels.  The Alliance for Eco-friendly Warmth has been part of a coalition urging the government to incorporate thermal biomass in reviews, insurance policies and data selection initiatives.
Some pellet producers may say, “be mindful what you wish for, lest it might appear real.”  Attempts by the Pellet Fuels Institute and others to collect info about how numerous pellets are becoming developed each and every year have been achieved with resistance by several companies.
In contrast, response costs to surveys by the Power Information Agency (EIA) are typically one hundred% according to EIA employees since response to the EIA energy surveys is mandatory pursuant to Segment 13(b) of the Federal Vitality Administration Act of 1974.  Failure to answer to EIA surveys is punishable by considerable fines.
The EIA-63C “Densified Biomass Gasoline Report” will demand any firm that generates much more than ten,000 tons (the EIA expects there to be about a hundred and fifty) to fill out the survey monthly, which the EIA estimates will just take one hour to complete.
The EIA aggregates the survey responses and does not release any business certain data, a strict rule that follows with all strength surveys.
The EIA is an unbiased info agency within the Section of Vitality.  Its extended hallways are crammed with wonky number crunchers who generate some of the most important information that sector and government count on to understand power marketplaces.  Thermal biomass currently being picked at prolonged previous to join the club of key power producers displays recognition of its contributions to warmth residences and institutions throughout America is increasing.
The EIA wants to know how considerably PFI accredited and non-accredited pellets producers are making for the two the bulk and bagged marketplace.
For the PFI licensed pellets, the EIA wants to know regardless of whether they are premium grade, standard or utility quality.
The study also asks if pellets are becoming marketed domestically or to international markets and even why crops could not be running at entire capability.  The survey asks if extrusion equipment was not totally used, was it a scarcity of uncooked resources, drying capability, grinding capability, or lack of a industry for them?
As pellet exports for European electric vegetation have grow to be far more controversial, one related part of the study addresses the origin of wood fiber.
The survey lists 10 feasible sources of fiber: from pulp wooden quality roundwood to wood chips to logging residues to sawdust.
Then, it asks if this fiber is from a all-natural private forest, a planted personal forest, or community land.
See far more in chart beneath:
In addition to pellets, the survey contains other densified biomass such as wooden bricks, wooden logs and briquettes.
The benefits will probably display a rapidly growing wood brick/log sector, which has the prospective to create considerably cleaner fuels than cordwood in household wood stoves.
However, there is no top quality certification procedure for these kinds of densified biomass in area yet, as there is for pellets.
As this market place matures and offer begins to meet up with demand in forthcoming years, there is very likely to be a lot more focus on the elements utilised in the fuel, just as there is now with pellets.
“This survey is a sign that the US government is taking thermal biomass a lot more critically,” explained John Ackerly, President of the Alliance for Eco-friendly Warmth.
“Pellets can give a cleanse and successful option to fossil fuels to heat our homes and properties.
We applaud the EIA for agreeing to undertake this survey so that all stakeholders can have a level of element and transparency,” Ackerly added.
The survey has currently been by way of one public comment interval, the place main stakeholders, like the Alliance for Inexperienced Warmth, provided feedback and recommendations to the EIA.  It is now being sent out for a second 30-day public remark interval.