Getting warm around the fire this winter will be just that little bit easier on the environment thanks to a high-tech solution adopted by a Kiwi company.
New domestic wood burners manufactured in New Zealand are using a technology known as catalytic combustion to incinerate harmful polluting particles from home fires before they escape into the outside air.
Julian Liew-Young, marketing manager of Glen Dimplex NZ Ltd, says catalytic combustion is engineered into the freestanding Ultra Low Emission Burners (ULEBs) manufactured under the company's Masport Heating brand - the Masport Rakaia and the Masport Waimakariri.
The technology is based on catalysis (the modification of chemical reactions) and although Masport already produces low emission burners (LEBs), the latest models allow for even cleaner burning.
"These are game-changers," Liew-Young says. "We want to do what's right for the environment - to improve air quality - and our new burners are engineered to do just that."
He says the release of the ULEBs is timely as the Ministry for the Environment reviews the 2020 air quality standards relating to wood fires. Old, high emission wood fires still in homes (typically made before 2005) have emission levels possibly as high as 4g/kg and are partially responsible for harmful PM10 particles (less than 10 micrometres) in the atmosphere.
But the new ULEBs have around one-tenth the emissions of those older fires (Raikaia has 0.43g/kg and Waimakariri 0.32g/kg) meaning they not only exceed current clean air standards but would continue to do so in the face of any proposed changes, Liew-Young says.
He says Masport's aim is to lessen the impact on the environment while allowing people to still enjoy a fire: "There is no better ambience in a home than a fire. It helps bring people and families together; the radiant heat that a wood fire produces is the most comfortable form of heating.
He says the burners meet stringent New Zealand air quality emissions standards and are designed for the direction many local councils are heading towards: "They are designed to incinerate fine pollutants that would otherwise escape into the environment, while at the same time providing more control over how the fire burns."
Liew-Young says the new burners also provided extended burn rates meaning it is possible to keep homes warm overnight and to reignite in the morning - all while achieving the most rigorous clean air standards - and use less wood that comparatively sized LEB fires.
"Previously an extended burn was difficult to achieve; logs would burn too quickly and sometimes overheat the room," he says. "But this does not happen with the ULEBs meaning people will use less fuel, save money and keep rooms at a more comfortable temperature."
Liew-Young says the controlled flame also prolongs the life of the firebox meaning the company is able to provide a 20-year guarantee on the ULEBs.
He says the Masport Waimakariri is suitable for small to medium-sized homes while the Masport Rakaia is suitable for medium to large-sized homes.
The burners are manufactured in Auckland by Glen Dimplex New Zealand (part of the Glen Dimplex Group). The New Zealand operation is the largest wood fire manufacturer in Australasia.
For more information go to: www.masportheating.co.nz