A panel of expert judges has selected nine teams as finalists in the U.S. Department of Energy Bioenergy Technologies Office’s (BETO) Wood Heater Design Challenge (WHDC). The finalists will now advance to this year’s Technology Slam—a “Shark Tank™”-style competition where teams pitch their innovative residential wood heater designs to retailers, the public, and a panel of judges who will narrow down the finalists to three teams. Those selected at the Technology Slam on September 29, 2022 will share $120,000 in prize money and move forward to the testing phase of the competition at Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, New York.

The goal of the WHCD is to rapidly develop cleaner and more efficient wood heaters to help meet the challenge of decarbonizing residential heating. “Wood stove technology is not developing fast enough to meet the needs of a renewable energy future,” said Dr. Valerie Sarisky-Reed, Director, U.S. Department of Energy Bioenergy Technologies Office. “But we believe the technology has great potential and this competition is a way to share innovative ideas for the marketplace.”

Wood and pellet stoves are a popular renewable heating technology in most of the United States. They have become even more in demand as electricity and fossil fuel heating prices rise, however wood stoves often emit too much smoke, especially in more densely inhabited towns and cities.  DOE is now investing in wood heater technology to jumpstart research and development among U.S. innovators and manufactures and to advance American leadership in this field.

Register to watch the virtual Technology Slam on September 29, 2022, from 10 a.m.-noon ET. The nine teams will give short presentations of their wood heaters and answer questions from judges in what is sure to be a lively and informative virtual event that is free and open to the public. There will also be an Audience Award conducted during the Slam where all attendees can vote on the heater they think has the most potential.

The nine finalists selected are:



Innovative Technology

Aprovecho Research Center

Cottage Grove, OR

Airflow optimization in pellet stove

Chimney Cherry

Los Angeles, CA

Innovative electrostatic precipitator

Davidon Industries

Warwick, RI

Automatic combustion control device

Kleiss Engineering

Cloverdale, IN

Computer algorithm-controlled stove

MF Fire

Baltimore, MD

Automatically engaging catalyst

Stony Brook University

Stonybrook, NY

Scales & sensors modulate airflow

Stanford University

Stanford, CA

Electronic afterburner


Pound Ridge, NY   

Multi-fuel, catalytic stove with ESP

Woodgas Pyrolytics

Normal, IL

Pyrolytic micro-gasification of fuel

The Wood Heater Design Challenge is a collaboration between BETO, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and the Alliance for Green Heat. The Challenge was created to engage and expand the wood heater community; foster relationships between academia, industry, and other stakeholders to develop innovative wood heaters that are cleaner and more efficient; and to build strong teams to create and design new wood stove technologies.

Dr. Mark A. Shmorhun
Dr. Mark A. Shmorhun is a Technology Manager with the Bioenergy Technologies Office at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).
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