Kiwi wood heater design provides heat and electricity - off the grid

25 Mar 2014  |  Installation

Christchurch, New Zealand’s beautiful South Island city has suffered in the aftermath of the recent earthquakes. But the residents have a stoic and can-do attitude and have come up with many colourful and innovative solutions to their problems. From the smart and sassy container shops, bars and restaurants to the careful restoration of their historic buildings, Christchurch is re-inventing itself. A major problem the residents have faced is electricity shortages as the earthquake damaged the network and the city suffered power shortages. What made this even more difficult were the really cold winters – leaving Christchurch freezing, dark and miserable in the winter. 

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Richard Harris, born and bred in Christchurch, and Managing Director of Woodsman Wood Fires, came up with a truly clever and useful device to overcome the cold and lack of power. He developed a freestanding wood heater, The Corsair, which also generates electricity. This clever Kiwi fireplace gives its owner cheap heat, a place to cook and free electricity – off the grid. So the wood heater warms the house, cooks the food and charges a mobile phone or any USB chargeable device - really a marvelous solution to our dependence on electricity. 


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Richard explains: “There was a lot of fear in the community. Many  residents had put in electrical heating, but with the power shortages and a really cold winter, people found themselves cold and miserable with no power, no heating, and even for some, no way to cook.  Our solution brings independence and security. All the residents need now is the Corsair and  good dry wood, and they have power, warmth and a readymade stove." This elegant wood fire also packs a punch in output pumping out 16kW of heat, and is rated for sale across all zones in New Zealand. Aiding this clever design, Richard has incorporated a German engineered SCHOTT ROBAX® glass-ceramic window, helping to increase the efficiency and cleanlinessof the fire, while at the same time providing a wide window on the beautiful flames. 

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“SCHOTT ROBAX® glass ceramic is a vital part of our design. Enclosing the fire increases the amount of energy released from the wood burned, while also reducing smoke and particulates. So the fires are cheaper and cleaner to run. The German engineered glass ceramic is an incredible material and able to withstand the heat of the fire, year after year, allowing me to design the widest possible view of the flames.” 

Here’s cheers to Kiwi ingenuity and German engineering. Gathering around the fire never looked so good or provided so much security.