EFA – Future workshop in Leipzig for energy efficiency and emission reduction

From November 17th to 18th the European Fireplace Association (EFA) and the “Deutsche Biomasseforschungszentrum” (DBFZ) invited to the future workshop in Leipzig. Their joint is to find solutions for the two central challenges, energy efficiency and emission reduction in the branch. Representing the RRF was Christian Droll as a Member of the EFA board. Not only members of the EFA participate at the workshop, research representatives of various universities and institutions, testing institutes, chimney sweeps, craft companies, associations and the German Federal Environment Agency participated as well. The aim was to develop a concrete strategy so that the stove industry with products from industry and trade is a fixed component in the energy transition.

The participants were be prepared in two scientific excellent keynotes. Vinzent Egenolf from the University of Kassel began with an informing about the wood usage and their paths nationally and globally. The most important recognition out of his contribution is, that Germany is very far away from a wood shortage. But in the future, it is necessary to reduce the usage of wood. He added that forests are not an automatically CO2-sink. Depending on how the outer conditions and location are, both unmanaged and managed forest can become an unwished CO2-source. For example, forests near the equator are more capable to absorb CO2 at high temperatures while forests in higher latitudes are more likely to set CO2 free at a higher temperature. Therefore, a sustainable and controlled economically usage of wood for material and energetic purposes are necessary from an ecological point of view.

Prof. Dr. Heinz Kohler from the Karlsruhe University of Applied science informed in his lecture about the necessity of emission reduction and the great effectiveness of sensor-based combustion air controls. Extensive investigation in laboratory and in the field showed that already existing and market ready technology are capable to reduce air pollution and dust significantly. It will be challenging to create an effective combination and pricing. It was agreed that a greater market penetration would mean a massive reduction in purchase price of the components.

In five groups moderated by Prof. Dr. Hartmann, DBFZ, Dr. Johannes R. Gerstner, EFA and Christian Droll as group leader they took the topic of the future of furnaces one step further by using the controlling method of the “Strategy House”. With the knowledge and results from the past three future workshops concrete fields of action would be identified. These fields are “energy efficiency”, “emission reduction”, “furnace added value” and “innovation”. The persons responsible for this have been identified. In the future administration, the state and federal ministry and associations should be made responsible next to industry and crafting.

Dr. Johannes Gerstner marked that only a clear signal of the politics will lead that companies will be able to invest. The legal certainty will make things interesting for companies to invest in new products. He called on the Federal Environment Agency to clearly commit to wood as an integral part of the energy transition and not to put any obstacles in their way. In this way, the necessary framework conditions for an ecological future can be created in a constructive cooperation, which is necessary so that the industry can make its willing contributions. Professor Dr. Hartmann confirmed again towards all workshop participants, that the technology to reach these goals are already existing and it is now the right time to use them. To reach these goals the support of every present branch representative was insured. The results of the workshops will be carefully prepared and documented.

The next EFA-meeting will take place in Würzburg from April 27th to 28th 2023 and will report on the current status.