The Eccostove Story

The Ecco Stove Story

The Ecco Stove story began in Finland after my co-director and I had been building Finnish soapstone polished brick and tile appliances manufactured by a company named Nunnaunni, who have subsequently been purchased by their Finnish competitor Tulikivi.

The two companies shared opposite sides of a mountain in Finland and were in competition with each other producing high quality soapstone, polished masonry heaters from the raw material they excavated from their respective sides of the mountain.  As we had, as individuals, been constructing these appliances in England for the English market place and we were extremely happy with the style of heat these appliances produced (day long and evening time heating from one batch load of logs).  The principal therefore was to charge the appliance up with heat quickly and the mass masonry of the appliance then to retain the heat charged and release it slowly over a long period of time.

Having observed the manufacturing process; the disadvantage of cost; pure mass (very large appliance which could rarely be fitted into a conventional home without a specific area of the home being built or changed to accommodate it) sheer weight; time taken to construct the appliance along with its eventual cost for that construction we felt that there may be a more cost effective way of producing such an appliance with a smaller overall size that would fit comfortably into most homes without changes yet produce the same heating benefits.

Due to our manufacturing Eldfast ceramic chimney linings we had contacts within the ceramics industry who we asked whether there could be a product of far denser nature and better heat absorption, reflection and emission than the typical clay, brick, concrete or soapstone that masonry heaters were and are still constructed from.

As the Finnish manufacturing process for soapstone slow heat release appliances produced a bi-product of soapstone dust (a mountain of that waste product could be seen at the production site).  We did consider and check whether it could be moulded into a design and produce a product from it that could do the job we wanted and hoped for.

The answer quickly came back that no, it wouldn’t be able to take the intensity of heat, continuous burning and heat release properties that we wanted to build into an appliance.

We also wanted  a much smaller appliance which would do the same job, but an appliance which could be burned continuously (which the existing slow heat release appliances could not be).

After a week or more of research we considered Silicon Carbide to be what would seem an ideal material to produce our smaller, denser, higher temperature mass appliance from.

It was desperately important that we shrink the size of the appliance and the weight of the appliance to make it more acceptable within the home,  but retain those features of high heat absorption, very high combustion temperatures and slow heat release (with a bright flame at all times if preferred).

After carrying out some trials and tests we produced the prototype Ecco 850 in January 2008 which after rigorous testing in our own facility went for European testing at Gastec in Cheltenham, England.  We had to test to 15250 standard for slow heat release appliances to be on par with any other tested masonry heater on the market place including the soapstone variations produced in Finland.

It was also one of my aims that our new stove should also be able to run as an ordinary room heater (conventional style of wood burning stove) as current masonry heater style of appliances including the soapstone appliances could only be fired once in a high fire period otherwise the internal structure of the appliance could be damaged.  This meant that the appliances currently on the market place were black and uninteresting after the fuel had been burned, although producing a high standard of heat.  We wanted to produce an appliance that, after the initial heat charge fire would look bright and fiery all day long as an ordinary wood burning stove might but when the fire went out would conserve the heat and yet release heat slowly after firing.

As a result, we also tested to EU13240 standard for room heaters and wood burning stoves

For America and Canada we have achieved safety standards testing; exemption from EPA requirements; Colorado and Washington States efficiency testing for masonry heaters.

We passed both style of tests, with, in our opinion some great success, hitting an 85.3% efficiency rating and tested as a room heater / wood burning stove and slow heat release / masonry heater and is to the best of our knowledge the only appliance in the world which satisfies both of these standards.

Had we achieved what we set out to do?

The stove we have produced would burn under its flash fire conditions to charge heat into the appliance at some 900 – 1000 degrees.

We have created an appliance that would absorb heat readily but as we found to our amazement Silicon Carbid being a very “greedy” material holds that heat for a long period of time (25% of heat stored after 12 hours after the fire has gone out – Model 678).

We have produced an appliance that would burn so efficiently that the particulate emissions are extremely low.  The UK requires 6 grammes per hour maximum.  We burn 2.6 grammes per hour.  America at the time of testing required 8 grammes / hour with us burning at 2.6 g / hour.

Where Next?

We have a hot box to duct air into rooms that are difficult to reach by natural heat circulation.

We have a domestic hot water heating coil to supplement the stove owners hot water system.

We have outside air kits to channel air into combustion where passive houses demand no air changes within the household fabric.

We are producing new designs for production in the near future and the technology with Silicone Carbide will continue to be pushed forward, enhanced and developed.

We have created market places in Canada; America; England; Ireland; Belgium; Germany and hopefully very soon Scandinavia.

What did we choose to call our new invention

(The concept and technology in the use of Silicone Carbide in a wood or liquified fueled heating appliance is both patent applied for and unique to Landyvent UK.)

The ideas came thick and fast but the conclusion came in unison very quickly, the Ecco stove had to be it.

How else could we term an appliance that burns so efficiently, so completely, so evenly, so thoroughly and uses so much less fuel to do a similar job to any automatically fed heating system but will continue to work and heat in a power failure.

Comparisons to a steel or cast iron stove

The Ecco stoves operation is exactly the opposite to that of a conventional steel or cast iron stove.

Rather than fuel up a stove and conserve the fuel at low combustion temperatures to produce heat over a long period of time the Ecco stove should be burnt at a high temperature to use up the fuel as quickly as possible to enable the charge of heat from that initial fuel charge of 7 – 10 kg of wood to charge the Ecco stove’s heat up for 12 hours worth of heat release after the fire has gone out. (This equates to some 48 kWh hours of heat from 7 – 10kgs of wood burned).

There is no need to be in attendance with the stove as once the heat is charged into it, it can be left to do its own job of work, with no refueling unless of course you want to keep a bright, attractive flame within the fire box, the odd log or two every hour or two does that job.

Whereas an oversized cast iron or steel stove (in the hope that heat will spread through the house) might be chosen, the room within which the cast or steel stove stands will be exceptionally hot, whereas the Ecco stove does not overheat the room in which it stands but will distribute the heat throughout the house evenly, provided doors are left open within the house.

The Ecco stove has all the technological features of airflows (primary, secondary for clear glass operation and tertiary for gasification that the best of modern stoves can provide) added advantage of extracting waste heat from the flue gas as it passes through the 4-6m lengths of flue channels built within the stove. The Ecco stove is not just a room heater as the steel or cast iron stove is termed, it is a whole house heater.

The Ecco stove can be built in the same sort of time frame (1/2 hour to 1 hour) that a cast iron or steel stove can be unboxed or assembled on site.

The Ecco stove burns with a much higher firebox temperature of typically 900 – 1000˚C which means perfect combustion whereas a steel or metal stove will burn with a maximum firebox temperature typically of 600 – 700˚C.

The outside body of the Ecco stove will typically run around 200˚C whereas a cast iron or steel stove will run at some 500 – 700˚C on maximum burn.

Flue gas temperature from the Ecco stove is typically between 80 – 100˚ whereas that from a cast or steel stove reaches 300 – 400˚ comparably.

Due to the higher temperature of combustion within the Ecco Stove, the smoke emissions to atmosphere are totally invisible when the appliance is warmed up to temperature, whereas with a cast or metal stove often smoke deposits or traces are visible from the flues outlet point.

The Ecco stove with its secondary airflow has clear glass operation.

Ecco stove has no controls to contend with or to balance to get the best performance out of the stove, simply take the stove up to full temperature and the secondary and tertiary (gasification) air flows can take over the combustion of the whole system.  Simply load the stove; burn the stove up to temperature and walk away from it for the next 12 hours.

Comparison to a masonry heater or comparing to a masonry heater

The Ecco stove is dramatically smaller than a typical masonry or soapstone heater being some half or a quarter of the size of a masonry heater but still producing the same heat release properties and whole house heating.

Masonry heaters are typically twice or four times the price of an Ecco stove to do a similar job of whole house heating.

Typical build time of an Ecco stove is an hour or so rather than the one/two or three days a masonry heater may take to build, therefore with far lower costs attached to the installation of the Ecco stove.

Masonry heaters and soapstone slow heat release appliances typically can burn only once in twelve hours without damage to the fire chamber, whereas the Ecco stove can be burned in the same way or constantly as you would a typical wood burning stove.  The benefit is that should you wish, you can have both slow heat release / masonry heater heat output characteristics from a fire that you can see bright and appealing constantly whereas the masonry / soapstone heater will have a black door glass after its initial firing.

Flue ways within the Ecco stove are cleaned typically once a burning season and access to those flue gas channels is so easy that simply 5 or 10 minutes worth of cleaning will put the stove into good burning condition for the next season.  Other masonry and soapstone heaters on occasions do not have access to some of the internal channels therefore cannot be cleaned and have less facility for ease of maintenance to those smoke channels.

Clear glass operation is one important feature with the Ecco stove which other masonry and soapstone heaters do not necessarily include.

The Ecco stove is an innovative, patent pending design using Silicon Carbide (a much more dense material than masonry or soapstone), therefore excellent heat absorption and slow release properties in a smaller mass.  Masonry or soapstone appliances are typically two, three or four times the size of the Ecco stove.

Properties of Silicon Carbide are essentially and especially enhanced combustion temperatures; greater heat absorption and slower heat release making it a material far better suited to the job of whole house heating from a much smaller storage mass.