General Lab Information

Questions and Answers

A few initial thoughts. The primary purpose of proposed wood heater technologies should be for indoor residential space heating, not other functions (i.e., no cookstoves). Proposed technologies should not negatively impact indoor air quality and have a clear commercialization and certification pathway (i.e., one day the technology could undergo certification testing). Proposed technologies should also improve upon state-of-the art wood heaters (i.e., improved efficiency and reductions in particulate and gaseous emissions), be practical to use, and be something that a homeowner would install in their conditioned living space. All proposed technologies must include a completely assembled stove that is ready for operation and performance testing at Brookhaven National Laboratory at the conclusion of the SLAM in 2023!

Asked Questions

These Q&As will be periodically updated to include any question and answer that is submitted that is not already covered in the announcement so that all teams have access to the same information. The answers should be considered an official part of the rules. Feel free to ask any question by submitting it to whdc-slam@bnl.gov. All questions will be anonymous.

Do you have to submit a short form application, or can you just wait and submit the long form?

We highly recommend submitting the short form first, but it is not required. The long form is a lot more work, so by submitting the short form, you can be assured that your stove concept is eligible and competitive.

How much do I have to divulge about a new stove in the application to take part in the Slam?

In the application for the Slam, you have to disclose enough for the judges to understand what innovation you are proposing and demonstrate that you have the capability to build it. You can include a sheet marked "Confidential" that only the expert judges will see if you need to include information that is private intellectual property. The Slam itself is public so you should not disclose more than you have to. But you need to describe the innovation in enough detail that people understand the concept and in general terms, how it will be executed.

How can I be assured that my intellectual property will remain confidential?

First, we only recommend sending intellectual property as necessary, if you think it is important for the judges to consider to understand that you have something genuinely innovative. Also, make sure the intellectual property is included on a separate page that is clearly marked “Confidential” on the top. Second, this is the 5th Wood Stove Design Challenge and we have managed intellectual property in a responsible and confidential manner many times in the past. The only people who will see it are the expert judges appointed by the organizers. The retail store judges, for instance, do not see it. Expert judges sign and non-disclosure form and delete those files as soon as the application has been judged.

Can you clarify if current recipients of Department of Energy (DOE) wood heater funding are eligible to win the SLAM development funding? Primary applicants only, or any project partners of successful FOA applications?

Primary recipients or any project partners of past DOE wood heater R&D funding can participate in the SLAM but are not eligible for additional funding to advance their current Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) funding opportunity announcements (FOA) awarded topic. Technologies submitted to the SLAM should be unique and distinct from currently funded technologies, not an extension of funded work, to be eligible for SLAM funding.

Are stoves that use pellet fuel be allowed?

Yes, and both log wood and pellet fuels are allowable fuel types.

Is the "inside a home" include in a basement? Or must it be in a living room or kitchen?

"Inside a home" is defined as within the conditioned living space. If the basement is conditioned and a usable part of the home where occupants would gather, then installation in a basement is acceptable. The heater may be in any room of a house but should be suitable for a living room upstairs. Heaters that resemble boilers/furnaces installed in a home's basement (and meant to be out of sight) are not applicable. However, the organizing committee recognizes some stoves now heat water (not the entire home demand) and are installed in the living room. This type of technology is applicable.

Please define the amount of heat expected. For example, 5 kW thermal clean heat is sufficient for many moderate climates for a small house, but are you expecting 20 kW or some such power level?

There is no heat output requirement as long as the wood heater is designed for residential space heating. Larger residential heaters, with 4 cubic foot fireboxes are eligible. However, small heaters designed for heating tents or small boats are not eligible.

At the last contest there was a "Power Producing Stove" section and a "Clean Stove" section. It sounds like this contest is specifically for "Clean Stoves". Are there bonus points if the stove produces electricity?

There is only one category of heater in this competition, and low particulate matter emissions are a core underlying goal. If heaters also provide other functions, such as making electricity, then it may score higher for innovation and commercial potential, assuming the added features are well-designed and likely to succeed.

To what extent is the cost of the stove to be a factor? Are we only or primarily directed toward USA markets that can handle costs of $1000 to $4000+? What about less functions but affordable for poor countries?

Affordability is a factor, but larger heaters with more customer desirable features that add to the functionality of the stove are expected to cost more. Since we are encouraging some level or some types of automation, we expect these stoves will cost at least as much or more than what US consumers are used to paying. A very low-cost heating stove for a developing country could be very competitive if it is genuinely innovative, clean and designed to achieve more consistent performance than normal manually operated stoves.

Will "climate-smart" benefits such as accomplishing CO2 REMOVAL (via biochar creation) be encouraged, or be rejected because they are not sufficiently "typical" of woodstoves that burn the biomass to ash?

We encourage non-typical heaters and encourage features that are innovative and add value to the appliance both for the environment and for the consumer.

What sort of information will be expected in the full proposal on the August 31st deadline?

The full form application is a more detailed version of the short form so we can learn a little bit more about the proposed technology. You will need to include, at a minimum:

  • Name (Team Leader)
  • Title or Position
  • Institution/Company
  • List Other Team Members (associated title and company)
  • Stove name
  • Website of institution/company
  • Contact information (email, phone number, and address)
  • A summary description of the stove (800 words max) that talks more in detail about the innovated designs/features.
  • What stage you are at in building this stove or tech readiness level (TRL)?
  • A photo or drawing of the stove, prototype or concept, if one is available.
  • If the stove has undergone any in-house or third-party emissions testing, you’ll be asked to describe in less than 400 words.
  • A more cohesive description of the relevant experience of team members
  • The capability or capacity to build the stove by describing the facilities and equipment you own or have access to.

What are the screening criteria to advance from the application to the 10 spots to pitch?

The same criteria that we are using to assess the stoves at the SLAM are used for the screening criteria. These can be found on the website. The three main goals for each technology are: 1) innovation to reduce emissions and improve efficiency, 2) consistent performance and 3) the commercial potential.

Do you need to participate to the SLAM to participate to the 2023 Stove Competition? Is it only finalist of the SLAM that will participate to the competition?

Yes, you have to participate in the SLAM to be awarded funding and move on the testing stage and Brookhaven.

Can you clarify if an entity can submit multiple concepts to the August full application to win a SLAM spot? Can the same organization pitch multiple concepts at the SLAM?

Teams are welcome to submit multiple applications as long as each proposed technology is unique and distinct (not multiple variations of the same underlying concept) for the June 15th short form application. If the team submits multiple long form applications due on August 1st, the team should prioritize their applications.

Does my company have to be a US company to participate in the SLAM and competition?

Recipients receiving funding under this competition must be incorporated (or otherwise formed) under the laws of a State or territory of the United States. Recipients and their subcontractors must use DOE funds within the United States and United State territories. Teams are encouraged to engage with international groups outside of the DOE funding.

What if I have an idea or capability, but need or want a partner?

We've created a LinkedIn group for you to share your name, contact information, and quick description about your capabilities and needs. As this is a public group, we encourage you to NOT share confidential ideas about your design. The information shared should persuade others to contact you to form a team. Happy networking!

What level of technical detail should be given in the short form application?

The short form application should be brief and written to include enough detail for someone with a technical background and familiarity with wood heaters to clearly understand the concept. Further detail can/should be given in the full application.

Will PowerPoints/recordings from the SLAM Q&A session (Workshop 3; Breakout Session C) be posted on the website?

No. Breakout sessions were not recorded and therefore the SLAM presentations will not be posted. However, the questions asked during Q&A and their replies are included on this SLAM FAQ page.

Is it not possible to test a furnace or boiler because of the equipment needed, in other words should I not submit a central heater concept to the SLAM?

If this "furnace" were located in a conditioned space such that jacket losses from it contribute to heating the home, it would be considered a hybrid. If the system is deemed central, it should be something that a homeowner would put in their den—not necessarily something hidden in the garage/basement out-of-site. Please also refer to Question 6: "Inside a home" is defined...

Are certified stoves eligible for the Slam competition?

Certified stoves would only be eligible for the Slam if they are very recently certified and represent new innovation that isn't broadly available on the market in the U.S.