General Lab Information

Past Design Challenges

2013 – The First Challenge

The first Challenge, nicknamed the Wood Stove Decathlon, was held in a large tent on the National Mall.  It judged stoves in four areas: emissions, efficiency, innovation and affordability. Ten judges tested and assessed the 14 finalist stoves.  The Grand Prize winner was a hybrid Woodstock Soapstone stove who received a $25,000 cash prize. Two stoves shared the Second Prize – the Wittus Twinfire and a hybrid from Travis Industries. There were a series of panel discussions addressing a wide variety of stove technology issues to foster networking and engagement between teams, experts and the public. See more info on the event and the results.

2014 - The Second Challenge

The second challenge, the Collaborative Wood Stove Design Workshop, was held at Brookhaven National Lab and involved hands-on stove testing, daily review of test data, and a series of presentations by participants and other experts. Five stoves were selected to take part of the competition and they were judged based on emissions, efficiency, innovation, market appeal and safety. The winner, the Mulciber stoves made by MF Fire, received 27 out of a total of 35 possible points. See more info on the event and the results.  

2016 – The Third Challenge

The Third Challenge was also held at Brookhaven National Lab was limited to pellet stoves and included a 3-day workshop with a series of roundtable discussions, presentations, lab and testing workshops. The winning stove was the Wittus Pellwood, an extremely innovative prototype that can burn both pellets and cordwood. Second place went to Seraph’s Phoenix F25i. See more info on the event, the results and an academic publication on it.

2018 - The Fourth Challenge

The fourth Wood Stove Design Challenge was back on the National Mall in Washington, DC. Twelve teams competed in two events:  1. to automate the wood stove with 21st century technology like sensors and WIFI-enabled controls and 2. to produce electricity with thermoelectrics.  Wittus teamed up with German engineers and won first prize for both the automated and thermoelectric categories with a living room unit that heated water for space heating and generated an average of 161 watts and a maximum of 268 watts over the 2.5-hour test period.  Second prize went to Stove Builders International (SBI) for a simple, affordable stove that used a low-cost control board and thermocouple sensors to automated combustion conditions. See more information on the event and the results.


The Design Challenges were possible through funding from NYSERDA, the DOE, Osprey Foundation, the Alliance for Green Heat and many others.