Map, Compass & GPS

Map, Compass & GPS
Wild flowers along Fall Creek on the way to the Green Lakes - Oregon

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Alcohol Stove Fuel

The following is another great stove related post by Hikin_Jim 

A lot of people interested in going light are trying alcohol as a fuel. But if you head down to the store, you'll see all kinds of alcohol. Which alcohols are good choices for stove fuel? Which ones are poor choices?
Alcohol as a Stove Fuel (in order of best fuel to worst fuel)

The best alcohol fuel is ethanol (ethyl alcohol). It has the highest number of calories per gram* of any alcohol fuel (I really don't consider dirty-burning isopropanol to be an alcohol fuel) and burns the cleanest. If you can get lab grade "absolute" (200 proof) ethanol or 190 proof liquor, that's going to work really well, but both of those (lab grade absolute ethanol or 190 proof "drinking" alcohol) are pretty expensive -- if you can even get them. Lab grade absolute ethanol is often restricted as to whom can purchase it (i.e. not the general public), and many locations prohibit the sale of high proof drinking alcohol. Check the Materials Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) on lab grade absolute ethanol which may contain benzene which is toxic.

Another option is "denatured" alcohol which should consist primarily of ethanol. The problem in the US is that there are no standards for what constitutes denatured alcohol. In fact, some denatured alcohols in the US are less than 50% ethanol. In addition sometimes nasty stuff is used to denature the alcohol (render it undrinkable), stuff like methyl ethyl ketone, whose fumes you don't really want to breathe. "Green" denatured alcohol generally has a much higher ethanol content and a lower "nasty stuff" content. Check the MSDS. The higher the ethanol content, the better it is for use as a fuel.

To read the rest of the article go here.

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