The background for our new “Sustainable wood stoves”-project is that bioenergy is important in Norway and wood log combustion has long traditions,
- constituting above 40% of the total use of biomass for stationary energy purposes,
- and accounting for about 12% of the domestic heating.
Increase security of supply and reduce power peaks
Using wood logs is important for security of supply in Norway, where we today rely heavily on the electricity grid to deliver the needed space-heating for our houses, which are typically wooden (with relatively low thermal mass).
With a high nominal power, wood stoves can significantly reduce power peaks in the electricity grid, prevent blackouts and act as backup heating system. In a context of increasing electricity use in households, including electric cars, reducing peak electric power is strategic as it enables to prevent or postpone large investments to reinforce the distribution grid.
New houses, as well as retrofit/upgrading of old houses, have increasingly focused on improved energy efficiency. The space-heating effect (power) required for these highly-insulated buildings is drastically reduced, i.e. lower heating effect is needed compared to a new stove in an old house.
Still things to learn about sustainable wood stoves
Previous projects (StableWood and WoodCFD) have increased significantly the knowledge about wood log combustion in stoves to enable improving wood stoves with respect to emissions and energy efficiency, as well as combustion stability and optimum room and building integration.
However, to ensure a sustainable wood stove future both in the existing building stock and the residential buildings of the future, further knowledge building within emission reduction, energy efficiency increase, proper building integration, and value chain, techno-economic and socio-economic assessments is needed.
This will secure the continued use of wood stoves as an important, comfortable and sustainable heat source in the existing building stock (replacing old/poor stoves) and the residential buildings of the future, providing also substantial socioeconomic benefits.
Even though the focus in this project is on Norway, the project results should be highly relevant also for other countries with a significant share of contribution to the domestic energy system from wood stoves.
SusWoodStoves, which will run for four years, 2021-24, is divided into the following main activities, covering combined the entire wood stove value chain:
- Speciation and quantification of particulate and gaseous emission levels from wood stoves for representative stove technologies and operating conditions,
- Reduction of climate and health related emission levels through emission reduction and energy efficiency measures,
- Optimum building integration of stoves,
- Assessment of value chain performance of existing and improved stove technologies and connected systems for different stove-building configurations in Norway,
- Techno- and socio-economic assessments of the current and future role of wood stoves in the Norwegian energy market,
- Development of a roadmap for sustainable wood stoves in Norway,
- Education of highly skilled candidates within this area and training of industry partners,
- Monitoring of activities and state-of-the-art within this area and dissemination of knowledge to the industry partners, and other interested parties when applicable.
SusWoodStoves, with its focus on sustainable wood stoves, is a response to a Research Council of Norway (RCN) knowledge-building project call and the topic Environment-friendly energy and its focus on the long term, sustainable development of the energy system, that enhance the competitiveness of Norwegian trade and industry and accelerate the transition to a low-emission society, including reducing anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions.
It is also directed towards the RCN ENERGIX program plan and its focus on 1) sustainable utilisation and consumption of renewable energy resources – as biomass, 2) reduction of Norwegian and global emissions of greenhouse gases – from bioenergy, 3) enhancement of Norway’s security of supply – through increased use of domestic biomass resources, 4) strengthened innovation in Norwegian trade and industry and the public sector – for the wood stove value chain and 5) further development of Norwegian research and educational institutions – to be able to support innovation efforts in the wood stove industry.
Chief Scientist Øyvind Skreiberg, SINTEF Energy Research, Norway, SusWoodStoves project manager