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Awards | Blogs & Information

Fire Scientists Score $2 Million in DOE Grants

Relentless Push to Eliminate Particulate Matter Air Pollution Accelerates

MF Fire has been transforming wood heat into clean, renewable energy, and eliminating particulate matter from wood fires since 2014. Today, MF Fire announced it received two (2) Department of Energy grants from the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy totaling $2 million to aggressively advance the state of the art for particulate matter reduction in wood stoves.

“MF Fire is honored to receive two of the three grants awarded across our entire industry. It speaks volumes about the capabilities and expertise of the team. These funds will fuel a dramatic increase in the size of our engineering, research and product teams, all of whom will be based in Baltimore.” said Paul LaPorte, MF Fire’s CEO.

Wood stoves remain a mainstay heating option for 50 million Americans who get some or all of their heat from wood. Worldwide, half a billion people rely on wood for heat. All those fires contribute large amounts of air pollution in the form of particulate matter (PM2.5) and climate-changing carbon dioxide (CO2).

The two grants will help MF Fire develop and validate two unique technologies in preparation for broad commercial roll-out. One technology is for a device that continuously monitors performance of key combustion indicators and delivers real-time user guidance to enable consumers to get the most efficiency from their stoves while minimizing particulate emissions. The second technology is for a “swirl stove” that induces and maintains swirling combustion, continuously achieving optimal air/fuel mixing that is expected to lead to near-zero emissions.

Ryan Fisher, MF Fire’s COO and co-founder stated, “PM2.5 is the leading environmental cause of poor health and premature death. In the United States, 40% of all particulate matter comes from burning wood. Eliminating particulate matter from wood fires would have an enormous impact on air quality and the lives of millions of people.”

LaPorte added, “Baltimore and early funding partners TEDCO’s Maryland Innovation Initiative, Abell Foundation, and the University of Maryland’s Momentum Fund believed in MF Fire from the very beginning and we are gratified that we can accelerate our efforts to deliver jobs and economic growth back into our Baltimore community.”

Headquartered in Baltimore, MD, MF Fire is transforming wood heat into clean energy. MF Fire is a technology company built by fire scientists, leveraging advanced combustion science to engineer superior fire products. MF Fire is committed to delivering the cleanest wood stove technology on the planet. There are 50 million Americans who rely on wood for heat and 500 million people worldwide. Traditional wood stoves create major health problems. MF Fire re-imagined the wood stove as a clean energy source and created the cleanest burning stove ever tested. MF Fire’s patented technologies help power the first fully automated, smart wood stove, Catalyst. MF Fire is the MIT Clean Energy Prize Winner, and the Grand Prize and Low Emissions Prize Winner of the 2015 Next Generation Wood Stove Design Challenge.

MF Fire Wins TEDCO ICE Award

MF Fire won the Maryland Technology Development Corp.’s (TEDCO) ICE innovation award in May 2016.  The annual awards recognize innovation, corporate excellence, and entrepreneurship in Maryland companies. MF Fire is proud to be recognized for our award-winning wood stove, and we’re incredibly grateful for all the support from the Maryland business community.

Here is a summary of the winners:

  • Education technology startup, Allovue, won the entrepreneurship award. Allovue is a financial application for administrators to better manage budgets & expenditures across departments.
  • Sisu Global Health Inc. was one of the three companies (MF Fire is another!) recognized for innovation. This medical device startup is developing a devices that recycles a patient’s own blood for reuse.
  • Cobrain is an intelligence engine that was also recognized for its innovation. This team leverages advanced data science and machine learning to build apps.
  • Immunomic Therapeutics Inc. won the corporate excellence award.

And of course, there’s MF Fire, who was recognized for our innovation in fire science & our award-winning stove.

Read more about other honorees. Did you know we have other wins?

Wood Stove Design Workshop – Grand Prize

In 2013, the founders of MF Fire entered a wood stove design workshop competition, sponsored by the Alliance for Green Heat. This Wood Stove Decathlon challenged teams of engineers to design an innovative wood stove, and our entry garnered the grand prize for Low Emissions.

The follow up to the very successful Wood Stove Decathlon was held in November 2014 at Brookhaven National Laboratory. The goal of these competitions is to solve consumer & industry pain points. For example, many consumers do not operate wood stoves well, often using the wrong wood. Also, the EPA has not raised is standards in many years for fear that the industry would not be able to meet them, and these competitions jumpstart innovation.

The MF Fire founders entered an improved version of the  Mulciber prototype to compete against four other finalists. This time, our innovative wood stove was judged not only for its emissions, but also for efficiency, innovation, market appeal, and safety.  The Mulciber achieved top marks, taking first place overall as well as first place in the categories of particulate emissions and innovation.

As one example, the Mulciber adapted technology used for vehicles to improve safety in the use of wood stoves. An oxygen sensor, which regulates the fuel-to-air ratio in an engine, is used to achieve The Perfect Burn. Even with unseasoned wood, the wood stove performed quite well compared to the competitors and the existing products in the market. As a result, consumers do not have to load wood as often, saving time and money.

“We want to congratulate the MF Fire team – and all the teams – for participating in a process of sharing innovation, ideas and test results,” said John Ackerly, coordinator of the event and President of the Alliance for Green Heat.  “These stoves have many of the solutions to excessive smoke from modern-day wood stoves and are challenging the EPA and the stove industry, to catch up with new technologies and new opportunities,” Ackerly said. View the write up on our innovative wood stove by Alliance for Green Heat here.

Today, the Mulciber stove is now named the Catalyst and is the most efficient wood stove available. The MF Fire team is proud to offer the best wood burning stove on the market.

RECESS – Second Place

RECESS is a music and ideas festival that brings together successful entrepreneurs, the coolest new startups, and the hottest acts in music to inspire the next generation of world changing entrepreneurs. In the first ever RECESS Campus Tour, MF Fire took first place in the University of Maryland leg of the tour and second place in the national finals for our efficient wood stove design.

In the profiles video, Taylor Meyers explains the need for this efficient wood stove design:  “I never thought of myself as much of a business man, but everything has really stemmed from my love of my field. My field is fire. I am really interested in fire. My dad studied fire engineering. When I started studying it, I started seeing all these gaps in how people handle things. I tried to bend my love of what I was doing to ways of helping other people. Ten million American homes used wood energy because it’s inexpensive, local, and a renewable resource. But emissions standards for wood stoves have not been updated in 26 years. Consequently, the EPA is afraid of the effects of wood smoke. They proposed new emissions standards that would make 95% of presently sold wood stoves illegal. Manufacturers fear that they will not be able to meet these regulations, and as a result, the industry will collapse. The Mulciber stove will fix that. Using clever engineering and a smart controller, we’ve made the Mulciber stove an easy to use, highly efficient, and ultra clean wood burning stove.”

“Regarding mentorship, that’s been the most helpful for me so far. But capital is also tremendously useful. It takes money to develop these minimum viable products, and we really need both.”

Read more about RECESS here. Read more about our efficient wood stove design and why Catalyst, the new name for the Mulciber, is the best wood burning stove.

MF Fire Won MIT Clean Energy Prize for Energy Efficiency

MF Fire won the MIT Clean Energy Prize for Energy Efficiency in 2014. The mission of the MIT Clean Energy Prize is to catalyze a new generation of energy entrepreneurs and great new companies. Each year, MIT runs a multi-stage student organized business plan competitor. It offers cash rewards to students who innovate in technology, business plans, or research.

MF Fire won the Energy Efficiency Track Prize for top performance in Energy Efficiency, as well as the People’s Choice Award, for the prototype of the Catalyst, called the Mulciber. This eco-friendly stove uses a swirl burn technique to achieve a highly efficient burn – so efficient, they say the emissions are “almost unmeasurable!” As Clarknet.eng writes, “Its chimney-within-a-chimney warms incoming air and cools exhaust, which improves efficiency and reduces emissions and heat waste. Some of the heat it generates is converted into the electrical energy that powers its fans.” In addition, the wood stove learns from it’s conditions, producing a more efficient burn each time it runs.

The founders of MF Fire used the cash prize to further develop the Mulciber into the Catalyst, an eco-friendly wood stove, now available for purchase. Thank you to MIT for the honor of winning this award!

MF Fire Reached the Final Four in the ACC Clean Energy Challenge

The ACC Clean Energy Challenge is a business plan competition. It encourages students from all universities throughout the southeastern United States to develop business plans for new clean energy companies focused on renewable energy, energy efficiency improvements and advanced fuels/vehicles. This program is supported by the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE).

The competition is similar to the NCAA tournament bracket, in which 64 teams face off to advance to the championship. The finalist went on to compete in the DOE National Clean Energy Business Plan Finals in Washington, D.C. against winners from similar brackets in other regions of the country.

In the 2014 competition, MF Fire won two rounds and reached the Final Four with our modern wood heater. Our ultra-clean, efficient wood stove shared a bracket with teams like Charging Lane from Clemson University, who are developing a technology that can charge electric vehicles at stoplights. Or EnViv from Virginia Tech, who are developing a new hydropower technology to leverage low-flow waterways.

Efficiency is one of the largest drivers of our fire science team. Our modern wood heater is designed to be efficient in multiple ways – energy, effort, materials, etc. If you haven’t already, check out the Catalyst to learn more.

Wood Stove Decathlon – Low Emissions Prize

The Alliance for Green Heat hosted first ever Wood Stove Decathlon in 2013. The event challenged teams to design and build a clean wood stove that was low-emitting, high efficiency, innovative and affordable.

A Maryland-based team of fire scientists accepted the challenge, entering a stove they called Mulciber. Ten judges tested & assessed the entries from 14 teams.

The Mulciber Stove took home the low emissions prize, emitting fewer particulates than any other stove. At 0.2 grams per hour, the Mulciber Stove is 23 times cleaner than the current EPA emissions standards. This clean wood stove actually emits less than half the smoke of a single cigarette.

Little did the team know that they had discovered the cleanest & most efficient wood stove ever tested. MF Fire was born. The Mulciber Stove is now the Catalyst and is available to consumers.

View the results at the Alliance for Green Heat here.

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