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ÖkoFEN launches ZeroFlame wood pellet combustion technology

Austrian pellet boiler manufacturer ÖkoFEN Forschungs- und Entwicklungs Ges.m.b.H (ÖkoFEN) has announced what it describes as another milestone in the field of heating with wood pellets, ZeroFlame combustion technology that reduces emissions of particulate matter (PM) to a minimum without the need for filters.

Stefan Ortner (left) Managing Director and Herbert Ortner, company founder ÖkoFEN celebrate a world premiere – ZeroFlame wood pellet combustion technology that enables residential heat production with close to zero particulate matter (PM) emissions without the use of filters (photo courtesy ÖkoFEN).

Headquartered in Niederkappel, Upper Austria, ÖkoFEN is widely considered as a European pioneer and specialist for residential wood pellet heating systems with over 30 years of experience in renewable heating.

In recent years, the company has already presented innovations such as pellet condensing technology and the myEnergy365 energy system, an integrated renewable home heating and power system that combine different heat and power technologies.

ÖkoFEN has now presented its latest milestone in the field of heating with wood pellets. With the new ZeroFlame technology the company says that it has revolutionized pellets combustion to achieve dust emissions that are “close to zero”.

Up to 95% reduction in PM emissions

Emissions to the air of soot and dust from flue stacks and exhaust pipes, collectively particulate matter (PM), are an ongoing air quality issue not least in the heating industry. For air pollution control and to be eligible for various renewable energy incentives, lower emission values are demanded.

After years of intensive work in the company’s own R&D department and a Europe-wide field test, ÖkoFEN says that it has succeeded in taking a big step towards absolutely clean energy conversion from wood pellets.

According to the company, the aim was to develop a solution that would bring absolutely no restrictions to the previous technology in terms of comfort and reliability.

While high voltage electro-static particle filters are successfully used in industrial and utility applications to reduce particle emissions, for residential applications these are cost-intensive and rarely maintenance-free.

Novel combustion chamber

Instead, the company opted to go to the drawing board to work on the source, the combustion chamber itself. The novel ZeroFlame combustion technology consists of special-guided airflow and air-enrichment in combination with a special combustion chamber design that leads to a very special effect.

The flame disappears almost completely during combustion and reduces particulate matter (PM) to a minimum. All that remains is cozy warmth and clean exhaust air.

We are proud to take a big step towards emission-free energy conversion from wood pellets with this innovative technology, said Stefan Ortner, Managing Director, ÖkoFEN.

Tested by TÜV Austria

Compared to the conventional pellet boiler systems currently available, PM emissions reduction is up to 95 percent, thus could make a very significant improvement to local air quality improvement.

These values and the excellent effect of the new technology have been officially confirmed by a practical 9-hour load cycle test carried out by TÜV-Austria, which depicts the typical operation of a pellet boiler system over a year.

With the innovative ZeroFlame technology, the flame disappears almost completely and reduces fine particle emissions to a minimum (photo courtesy ÖkoFEN).

The significance of ZeroFlame is clearly evident when compared with other forms of heating. Comparisons with results of a study by the German Federal Environment Agency show that in reality, an existing oil-fired heating system may actually have a higher PM load than the new ÖkoFEN technology.

The overall environmental benefits are significant, especially considered the approximately 18 million fossil oil-fired heating systems in Europe that still need to be replaced. With the all-new innovative ZeroFlame technology, carbon dioxide (CO2) neutral implementation is possible that and at the same time enables a considerable reduction in particulate matter emissions thereby improving local air quality.

Available from Spring/Summer 2021

According to ÖkoFEN, its new flameless technology will be available from Spring/Summer 2021 for the Pellematic Condens series from 10-14 kW. Interested parties have the opportunity to test a pre-series version from winter 2020.

As the leading trade fairs for 2021 have been canceled, ÖkoFEN will present the new Pellematic Condens with ZeroFlame technology to the trade in a roadshow starting in spring 2021.

The launching of ZeroFlame draws on a strong 2019 in which the company was able to achieve a sales growth of about 40 percent compared to the year before. In total, the Austrian pellet specialists already delivered more than 10 000 heating systems worldwide in the previous year.

As a result, ÖkoFEN increased its corporate sales in the 2019 financial year by 38 percent to EUR 80 million (compared to EUR 58 million in 2018, itself a record year). Much of the growth is attributable to the company’s broad product range and innovative technologies – nine different models ranging from 10 to 512 kW output.

Expansion in Niederkappel completed

Due to the strong increase in demand and the positive forecasts, ÖkoFEN started in autumn 2019 with the expansion of the production area at the company headquarters in Niederkappel.

Celebrating 30 years in business, Austrian pellet boiler manufacturer ÖkoFEN is investing over EUR 7 million at its HQ in Niederkappel to enable production capacity expansion with a new production hall on the right (photo courtesy ÖkoFEN).
The company headquarters of ÖkoFEN in Niederkappel, Upper Austria has been expanded to 13 500 sq.m with the new space (on the right) that was completed this year (photo courtesy ÖkoFEN).

The export success of its pellet boilers and the doubling of production volumes within only two years made it necessary to expand the production site.

With a total investment of more than EUR 7 million, the existing production hall was doubled by 6 500 sq.m to a total area of 13 000 sq.m, said Stefan Ortner.

With the increased production area and some 250 staff in Austria, the company is equipped for further expected growth in the short term. For the year 2020, the Austrian pellet boiler manufacturer expects a further increase in sales of 40 percent and the delivery of around 15 000 units.

Should this development continue, a further expansion step at the company’s headquarters in Niederkappel will already be necessary within the next few years.

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