Wood stoves are great generators of heat, but some are not the most efficient in terms of dispersing that heat and when it comes to generation of particulate matter and smoke.
With an aim to improve on those efficiencies, the Wood Stove Decathlon will be coming to the National Mall in Washington, D.C., this fall to see who can design and build "the most innovative and affordable next generation wood stove."
The decathlon, which will draw international teams, is scheduled for Friday, November 15, to Tuesday the 19th and will be staged in a large tent on the National Mall in front of the Whitten USDA building, near the Smithsonian metro station. Fourteen teams will compete for a grand prize of $25,000. There is also an audience award, and you can cast your vote now for what you think is the most innovative stove.
This event is being billed as "the first high profile technology competition for wood stoves since Ben Franklin’s time, when deforestation compelled a drive for more efficient stoves."
"Today, the main driver is particulates and the need to reduce levels of smoke. The biggest breakthrough in modern times was the pellet stove, which was invented in Washington State in the 1980s and has become far more popular in Europe than in the U.S.," notes a story from the Alliance for Green Heat. "For wood stoves, there could be major breakthroughs with automation – microprocessors and low-cost sensors that will maximize efficiency and minimize emissions."
Sponsors of the decathlon include the U.S. Forest Service, and partners include Popular Mechanics magazine, DOE's Brookhaven National Laboratory, and the states of Washington and Oregon.
An awards ceremony announcing the winners and discussing the technology will be held on Tuesday, November 19th.