Almost everything you do releases the greenhouse gas CO2. Your choices for an energy-efficient home, conscious eating and sustainable transport make a lot of difference. This is important, because greenhouse gases cause climate change. Our earth is warming, sea levels are rising and nature is under pressure. Enough reason why the Netherlands wants to significantly reduce CO2 emissions by 2050.
CO2 emissions cannot be completely avoided, but they can be offset. Producers are increasingly focusing on climate-neutral products to offset CO2 emissions or contribute to forest projects. Consumers are becoming more aware of the impact of climate change on the future and are eating less meat, consciously taking the car or plane less, paying attention to gas and electricity consumption, focusing on better insulation of the home and choosing sustainable heat sources or collective heat supply.
Effects of the energy transition in the fireplace industry
The focus on CO2 reduction and cleaner air has effects on the fireplace industry. For example, traditional stoves (wood-fired, natural gas and pallet) must comply with the EcoDesign directive. The EcoDesign 2022 is an initiative of the European Union to reduce the (harmful) emissions from fireplaces and stoves. These are minimum requirements with regard to energy efficiency and reusability (ecodesign requirements). Manufacturers are required to reduce energy consumption and other negative environmental impacts of products at the design stage. This improves product quality and protects the environment. The aim of this is to phase out ‘old and polluting wood-burning stoves and fireplaces’.
To meet this standard, the fireplaces and stoves must achieve a higher efficiency, at least 75%. The devices are also allowed to emit only 40 milligrams of particulate matter per cubic meter. New models produced from 2020 onwards that do not meet these standards may then no longer be sold.
All in all, a major impact on manufacturers of these devices. Consumers are becoming more and more aware when it comes to improving the environment and the purchase of these devices is decreasing. As a result, there is an increasing focus on alternative fire sources and combustion solutions for the future.
The Netherlands off the gas
You hear more and more about it. In principle, in 2050 we will no longer be able to cook on gas or burn natural gas. Then this is only possible with sustainable installations. Stopping natural gas is necessary and there are several reasons for this:
- If you use natural gas, you cause CO2 emissions. This greenhouse gas is the main cause of climate change.
- The supply of natural gas is not infinite and will eventually run out.
- Natural gas extraction has caused a lot of damage.
- Builders of new construction plans have hardly received permits for natural gas connections since 2018.
Manufacturers are trying other solutions with (bio)propane gas cylinders. However, fluctuating gas prices provide little control over consumption costs. This also means that less and less people are opting to purchase (or maintain) a gas fireplace in an (existing) home.
Burning wood and the climate
It has been known for some time that traditional fireplaces are bad for the environment and our health. Wood-burning stoves are not economical with wood and are only sustainable if the wood comes from climate-responsible managed forests. No more wood is taken from such a forest than has been grown. There are very few forests in the world that are managed in this way. If more forest is cut down for combustion than can grow, more CO2 will be released into the air. Planting new forests can help, but it takes decades before those trees have grown considerably and the CO2 is stored again in these trees. In addition, fossil fuels are used for forestry and sometimes also for drying wood. Large-scale use of wood as fuel is therefore unsustainable. This also applies to pellet stoves or biomass stoves, which is why the subsidy has been abolished.
In addition, when burning a wood stove, carbon monoxide (CO) is released. Carbon monoxide is very harmful to your health and if there is a lot in the air, you can even become unconscious or die. In many municipalities, residents living in the vicinity of wood burners complain about this reason.
No gas or wood burning. Then what?
The alternative to wood burning or fossil natural gas is sustainable energy. Think of large offshore wind farms, solar panels, geothermal energy (heat from deep layers of the earth) and residual heat from industry. A surplus of wind energy can be converted into green (hydrogen) gas. Biogas can be made from manure and sewage sludge. Pruned wood and waste wood that has no other purpose can serve as biofuel. Of course it is not that far yet, but the energy transition is in full swing.
The fireplaces of Neverdark burn on sustainable bio-ethanol liquid. A natural liquid made from crops, such as grain (wheat, barley and rye), sugar beet, maize, potatoes, sugar cane and vegetable scraps. Bioethanol is known for lower carbon dioxide emissions and as a soot-free fire source does not require a flue. The CO2 emissions of Neverdark fireplaces are minimal and therefore do not require a flue in a home or space. This makes Neverdark fireplaces suitable for any home.
Our technology, in which combustion takes place on the basis of ethanol vapors, creates a solution with remarkably clean emissions; no ash, soot or other harmful substances are released. Because there is no negative effect on the climate, the Neverdark fireplaces fall under the CO2-neutral category. And we think that’s important.
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