General Lab Information

Fifth Design Challenge

Technology SLAM

September 29th, 2022

The Wood Heater Technology Slam provides an opportunity for teams to pitch innovative wood stove ideas to retailers, the public, and panels of expert judges. The expert judges will evaluate participant presentations and score the technologies based on innovation, consistent and low emissions with a focus on a 20% reduction in PM emissions and a 15% increase in efficiency from current EPA certification limits, and commercial potential. It is anticipated that the three teams with the highest score will win a $15,000 prize and eligibility to move forward to the R&D testing phase of the competition where they will compete for up to an additional $40,000 prize.

The Slam will be held virtually on September 29th, 2022. During the Wood Heater Technology Slam, teams will have eight minutes to virtually pitch their wood heater technology to a panel of expert judges and an audience of wood heater stakeholders. Teams can use slides, short videos, or any other props they choose. Next judges will have up to ten minutes to ask questions regarding the team's technology and development plan. Teams will then be scored based on innovation, consistent performance, commercial potential, and expected performance. It is anticipated that the winning teams will use their prize funds to travel to Brookhaven National Laboratory, engage in further R&D of their technology and compete for additional funds in the next phase of the competition.


  • The Slam will be held on Thursday, September 29th, 10:00 - noon.
  • Teams notified if they are invited to submit full application on July 1st.
  • Full applications to participate in the Slam are due by August 31st at 4:00 p.m. EDT.
  • Applicants will be notified if they will participate in the Slam on September 15th.

Who can apply

The Slam is open to any individual, company, department, non-profit who has an innovative wood heater design. The only restriction is that foreign entities must have a US partner or affiliate in order to receive DOE funding.

Eligible technologies

The Slam is open to residential wood and pellet heaters designed to be installed in the living area of a home. Large boilers or furnaces designed for basements are not eligible. Stand-alone retrofits are not eligible. However, an ESP manufacturer, for example, can submit a stove if the ESP is integrated or attached to the stove. Innovative stoves that are already on the market are eligible unless the innovation is already widespread.

How teams will be judged

At the Slam and later at Brookhaven Lab, judging criteria will include: 

  1. Innovation – is the approach innovative and represent an advance compared to traditional heater design.
  2. Consistent performance – does the design minimize the variability of PM emissions that can occur in the hands of the average operator.
  3. Commercial potential – can the unit be affordably produced, installed and maintained and offer features valued by consumers.
  4. Expected performance - is the proposed technology cleaner than what is currently on the market.

Judges may also assess:

  1. Experience – do team members have relevant experience
  2. Data – is there any initial emission data indicating a proof of concept
  3. Partnerships – does the team have partners that can add to the R&D, emission testing, in-home testing, manufacturing and distribution
  4. Facilities & resources – does the team have access to the facilities and resources to complete the project. 

The organizing committee has posted the Official Rules document and a page for Questions and Answers about the Slam. If you have a question or suggestions, send it to: and the question and answer will be posted so that all interested parties have the same information. Your name can remain anonymous.

The Wood Stove Slam is a combination of the formats used in science slams and shark tanks.

Definition: noun: /science slam/  a science-based talk where experts present their own scientific work in a given time frame - usually 10 minutes - in front of a mostly non-expert audience. The focus lies on teaching science concepts to a diverse audience in an entertaining way. The presentation is judged by the audience. 

Definition: noun: /Shark Tank/ is an American business television series that shows entrepreneurs making business presentations to a panel of five investors or "sharks," who decide whether to invest in their company.

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