Why the Challenge?
The first Wood Stove Design Challenge, nicknamed the Wood Stove Decathlon, was held on the National Mall in 2013. It was inspired by and designed after the Solar Decathlon and organizers met and talked frequently with the managers of the Solar Decathlon. Prominent partnerships with Popular Mechanics Magazine and Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), positive coverage in the New York Times and excitement within the stove industry helped lead to a second, third and fourth Wood Stove Design Challenge.
Two of the Challenges have been held at BNL and two have been on the National Mall. The series of Design Challenges has sparked healthy competition among manufacturers and universities and led to some of the cleanest and most innovative stoves on the market today. A prominent theme in all Design Challenges is the use of sensors, automation and multiple types of secondary combustion to help ensure that stoves are not only clean in the lab, but also in the hands of consumers.
The fifth Wood Stove Design Challenge, proposed here, continues this tradition with some new twists. Based on stakeholder feedback, we plan to use more engagement tools to explore technology innovation, share experiences and perspectives and reach a larger and more international community of innovators, suppliers, students, manufacturers and other experts. We will begin with virtual workshops of invited experts and stakeholders, mainly from North America and Europe, then hold a technology pitch event (similar to a 5-minute elevator pitch used in NSF I-Corps program or the Research SLAM conducted at the National Labs) and end with the core activity of funding selected US teams to design and build next generation stoves. Emission testing will take place over a longer time span at BNL and we will bring the winning stoves to be showcased at industry and consumer expos and engage in extensive online exposure. Expertise from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) will also be utilized for the fifth challenge.