Annoucing the Helix – A Horizontal Fed Rocket Heater

We are finalist in the  Alliance for Green Heat Wood Stove Design Challenge sponsored with Popular Mechanics. The contest has been under development for over a year and is set to come to completion on the National Mall in Washington DC. November 15-19th.

Our entry is based on another design developed by Peter van den Berg, the designer or our rocket heater combustion cores.  This heater works like a traditional stove with a door you can view the fire with and a batch loading of the fuel. However it has been married to rocket heater concepts to increase the efficiency of this approach. Several early versions of this heater have been built in Europe and a few in the US.  Below on the left is an example of one installed in a single bell. The photo to the right shows one burning.

Batch Fed Rocket Heater for small masonry heaters

Horizontal Fed Rocket Heater masonry heater. Installed in a single bell.
By permission Ouwehand & Molkenboer

Rocket Heater Masonry Heater Hybrid - The Helix

Burning Horizontal Rocket Heater with Door. By permission Michael Winjnja











Here is sketchup of our entry.

Wood Stove Design Decathlon Entry - The Helix

Helix stove being presented at the Wood Stove Design Decathlon


We have taken this design and optimized it’s flow using computer simulation to increase the already considerable power of this heater. The back of the firebox feeds into a very tall insulated heat riser via a series of specially designed curves and gates. The result is a combustion chamber with internal velocities around 900 mph with a pronounced double helix that serves to mix the gases during secondary combustion in the heat riser.  This was the starting point for our models. The final design is not being released at this time, but you can see how exhaust gases flow.

Helix air flow pattern of Horizontal Rocket Heater

Helix air flow pattern of Horizontal Rocket Heater


These heaters burn hotter, about 100k BTU’s an hour so it is easier to produce more heat faster. The big bonus is that you get to view the fire. On the downside they are much more expensive to build. The castings are much larger and the door and ash tray add to the expense. We will be offering these combustion chambers for sale in late November 2013.