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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.

Wood Stove 101: The Best (and Worst) Firewood Types

When choosing firewood for your wood stove or fireplace, you have a lot of options. There are two main factors you must consider when choosing the best logs for a wood burning stove: wood type and wood moisture content. In this post, we’ll explain which types of wood make the best logs for a wood burning stove or fireplace. To learn about firewood moisture content, check out our how-to guide post Wood Stove 101: Using Seasoned Firewood.

Why does it matter what type of wood I burn?

Firewood wood stove

Seasoned oak burning efficiently in the Catalyst wood stove

Choosing firewood wood is more complicated than you think. What you burn in your wood stove is critical to your wood burning stove’s performance and longevity. Whether you harvest your own firewood or use a delivery service, you need to know about wood species when choosing firewood. Wood species affects how well your stove performs in several areas.

1. Efficiency: The efficiency of your wood stove can depend significantly on the type of wood you are burning. Softwoods and resinous (oily) woods may burn inefficiently. For this reason, pine, eucalyptus, birch, aspen, and a few other species do not make the best logs for a wood burning stove.

2. Appearance: Choosing firewood from a typically resinous species may create thick black smoke, which clouds the front glass of your wood stove. Once clouded, cleaning the glass can be more difficult.

 

 

 

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3. Reliability: Choosing firewood that is soft and resinous also negatively affects the reliability of your wood burning stove. Softwoods and resinous firewoods produce chemicals that are harsh on the internal components of a wood stove. Specifically, the catalytic combustor and the combustion fan of Catalyst can be negatively affected over time. For this reason, hardwoods provide much less wear and tear on wood stoves and make the best logs for a wood burning stove.

4. Safety: Burning resinous woods also creates a potential safety hazard in your home. Resinous woods produce significant amounts of creosote, which builds up within the chimney and is the main cause of chimney fires in wood stoves.

Best Firewood Types to Use

So, what are the best logs for a wood burning stove? Any non-resinous hard wood can give you a good burn, but our three favorites are:

Oak firewood wood stove

Well seasoned oak firewood

1. Oak: Known for its long, slow burns, oak is likely the best firewood wood. Oak is a dense hardwood available throughout most regions of North America. While oak wood can take a little longer to become properly seasoned than other firewoods, the fire from well seasoned oak in your wood stove can’t be beat. This is the mainstream firewood favorite for wood stoves, and probably one of the all-around best logs for a wood burning stove.

2. Maple: Maple firewood burns very similarly to Ash. When properly seasoned, it produces long and steady burns in your wood burning stove. Maple can be found throughout the entire continental United States, making it a favorite firewood choice for wood stoves.

 

Check out our beautiful, modern, and easy to use wood stoves!

3. Ash: Burns steady and is easy to split — what more could you ask for? Ash provides some of the best wood for burning in a wood stove. It is largely found in eastern and central North America, but is available in other wood burning regions as well including the West Coast of the United States. The emerald ash borer, an invasive species native to northeast Asia, has killed many ash trees throughout the United States. These affected trees are perfect for responsible firewood harvesting.

While oak, ash, and maple are our top three, there are many other types of firewood wood that are acceptable for wood stoves:

  • Hawthorn
  • Beech
  • Cherry
  • Mulberry
  • Apple

Worst Firewood Types to Use

Not all wood is created equal. Just as there are firewood types we recommend, there are also several we do not recommend using. Most of these are not recommended because they are either softwoods, highly resinous, or both! Softwoods burn quickly in,efficiently and produce harmful chemicals. Resinous woods produce thick oils that blacken glass and foul the inside of your stove. We do not recommend using the following firewood types:

  • Pine
  • Poplar
  • Cedar
  • Eucalyptus
  • Alder

With this guide, choosing the best wood for burning in your wood stove is easy! Have any questions or comments on your experience using these or other firewood types? Need some more help with choosing firewood wood? Leave your comments below!

Ryan Fisher is the Chief Operating Officer of MF Fire

Top 10 Wood Stove Dealer Takeaways from HPBExpo

If you couldn’t attend HPBExpo this year, it was eye-opening as the majority of the industry is finally rushing to adapt to the new EPA 2020 wood stove emission standards. In talking with dealers, distributors and other manufacturers, several key takeaways emerged.

  1. Most manufacturers are severely behind. Less than 1/3 of manufacturers have any compliant 2020 models, meaning dealers need to start evaluating their showroom and inventory mix or get caught with big holes in selection.
  2. Many new models are getting rushed to market and lack proven real-world customer use. Look for manufacturers that have been delivering 2020 compliant models between 2016 and now to minimize your risk. MF Fire has been delivering 2020 certified models since 2016, leading the industry.
  3. Dealers who don’t carry much inventory stand to win, as dealers loaded with non-2020 inventory are forced to sell old units and not invest in new inventory. This will limit the 2020 models available in competing stores and should be used to your advantage. Educate your customers and seize the day.
  4. Dealers should look for 2020 manufacturing partners with low minimum order quantities to avoid market uncertainty in 2019, while gaining the benefit of selling new models – your customers do their homework and will be seeking new models.
  5. Beware distributors or manufacturers promoting non-2020 certified inventory. The risk of buying non-2020 inventory is high and you only have a year to sell it.
  6. If you are a dealer with substantial inventory, know that everyone in the supply chain with inventory, including other dealers, distributors (not just yours), and manufacturers will be trying to liquidate that inventory. Expect deep discounts everywhere in non-2020 compliant models. By some estimations at the show, discounts in the 70-80% range will happen by mid-season.
  7. Dealers holding substantial inventory should consider when to discount and at what level. Watch your competitors to keep a real-time pulse on what will be a rapidly deteriorating situation. This will minimize impact to your business while still selling through all your inventory.
  8. Expect to see extreme sales of older inventory online as manufacturers and distributors unable to sell direct will unload inventory to online retail sites who are willing to buy deeply discounted inventory.
  9. Customers will naturally segregate into those willing to buy bargain non-2020 compliant wood stoves and those seeking more efficient and cleaner burning stoves. Educate your sales staff to ask relevant questions to immediately determine which type of buyer they are talking to. Successfully determining the buyer type will allow you to maximize revenue by selling to 2020 buyers while liquidating old inventory to bargain hunters. At this point, all your costs for old inventory are sunk cost. Any revenue you can derive from sales of these units is money in the bank. The later in the season you go with inventory the less valuable it becomes. Some dealers will take a wait and see strategy, while others will provide strong discounts early to move inventory. Figure out which you are so you can implement pricing strategies and follow through.
  10. Have patience – this too shall pass. Market demand remains strong for wood heat, particularly as pellet fuel availability is expected to be unusually tight this year helping wood stove sales. A sufficient number of manufacturers, including MF Fire, have made the investment in 2020 technology and new models to keep the industry strong. There will be manufacturer fallout for sure – in fact more than 50% of wood stove manufacturers are likely to not have 2020 compliant models and will exit the market over the next year. Find your new favorites and start preparing your wood business today.

MF Fire has been committed to delivering only EPA 2020 compliant stoves since we entered the market in 2014.

We are growing our dealer network and are looking for dealers to join our family as official suppliers for our line of EPA 2020 certified wood stoves and firepits. If you want a manufacturer focused on proven innovation, quality, customer and dealer satisfaction, contact us today.

Click here to join our growing family of dealers.

Paul LaPorte, MF Fire CEO

4 Facts on the Future of Modern Wood Stoves

Modern Wood Stove in the nation's capital.

This isn’t the first time wood stoves and Washington have intersected. MF Fire won the low emissions prize at the the 2013 Wood Stove Decathlon in Washington D.C.

Wood stoves made big news recently because of the new two-step emissions regulations by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The first step of the new EPA wood burning stove regulations, which went into effect in May 2016, prohibits the sale of any wood stove that emits greater than 4.5 grams per hour of particulate matter (or soot). The second, and far tougher, step of the new EPA wood burning stove regulations begins January 1, 2020. The 2020 EPA rules prohibit for sale any stove emitting more than 2.0 grams per hour of particulates. It’s hard to understate just how big of a shake up this will be in the wood stove world. Consequently, these market shifts pave the way for modern wood stoves.

Contemporary Wood Stove Market

Contemporary wood stove manufacturers in the United States sell more than 200,000 wood burning stoves each year, with models ranging dramatically in performance. Many articles discuss how the new stringent standards from the EPA will weed out under-performing models, but we at MF Fire decided to perform our own analysis to see how our ultra-clean modern wood stove, Catalyst, will fare compared to our competitors in the future.

Here are four quick facts about how the contemporary wood stove industry will change forever:

  1. 85% of the current wood stove models listed by the EPA will retire as they fail to meet the new standards for modern wood stoves.
  2. 41 manufacturers have no modern wood stoves that meet the second step of the EPA wood burning stove regulations slated to take effect in January 1, 2020.
  3. Experts project that 86% of approximately 60 wood stove manufacturers will leave the market in the next 4 years as a result of having 1 or fewer viable models for sale.
  4. Even the largest wood stove manufacturer, Hearth & Homes Technologies, will retire an estimated 35 of its 49 models (69%).

Modern Wood Stoves

Clean wood stove

MF Fire got it’s start in the University of Maryland Fire Lab, and we believe that more research is the way forward.

Suffice to say, a massive hole exists in the U.S. residential wood stove heating market. The solution, that we at MF Fire embrace, is aggressive research and development, as well as radical innovation.  But, what makes an innovative and modern wood stove?

Most importantly, our modern wood stove, Catalyst, easily exceeds the stringent 2020 EPA wood burning stove standards. This means that Catalyst will be a smart choice for years to come.

Do you have a friend or family member that would be interested in the Catalyst contemporary wood stove? Share this article on Facebook by clicking the button below.

 

 

 

Wood Stove Heating is Actually Growing

One of the biggest misconceptions we’ve run into since we first built the Catalyst wood stove is that wood heat is a dying industry. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Wood stove heating is actually growing dramatically across the U.S. and especially in the Northeast. Many people are realizing the benefits of a wood burning stove. In fact, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, all nine states in the New England and the Middle Atlantic Census divisions saw at least a 50% jump from 2005 to 2012 in the number of households that rely on wood as the main heating source.

graph of states with highest percentage increase in homes using wood as main heating source, as explained in the article text

In total, about 12 million homes use wood as a primary or secondary heat source, and wood stoves are the most common source of heat (fireplaces are second). Why do customers switch to wood? It’s inexpensive, it’s local, and it’s renewable. Those wood burning stove benefits are hard to beat!

With growth comes attention, and with attention comes regulation. The EPA has issued updated emissions standards for wood stoves that many stoves in the current marketplace do not meet. That’s why MF Fire built the Catalyst Wood Burning Stove to be the most efficient stove out there.

To learn more about potential wood burning stove benefits visit: http://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.cfm?id=15431

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