Bio-Ethanol Fireplaces

Posted on 9th December, 2010

Hi everyone,

I have recently been asked about bio-ethanol fireplaces and this is a brief response to the question:

 

FUEL:  

Bioethanol is an alcohol which is produced from the fermentation of sugars, originating from agricultural crops, such as sugarcane, potatoes and more recently wheat.  When you burn Bioethanol the only substances given off are water, steam and Carbon Dioxide. All emissions are within a safe standard for flueless fireplaces - C2H6O + 3O2 → 2CO2 + 3H2O + heat.

The fuel can be purchased currently in relatively low volumes in both gel and liquid form at just over £2 per litre. Your stove supplier should be able to give you the burning rate for any particular stove.

 

STOVES:  

There are many stoves on the market. The 'technology' is simple - with some welding know-how you could make one yourself.

The best (i.e. safest) ones will have a stainless steel double-skin fuel container with a ceramic block core (or similar) which will prevent the liquid fuel from spillage, and a system for controlling the magnitude of the flame. Some can also be remote-controlled. Heat output varies but is usually a few kW/h which is enough for ambient heat in a room but this wouldn't heat a large room by itself. (If I knew the room dimensions, I could advise on the heat required.)

 

The remainder of the construction can be anything reasonable you like, such as glass surrounds, etc. Note that although the fires don't require flues, they are still a combustion appliance and can't be surrounded in close proximity to combustible materials. Building regs cover these matters and for anyone who is not totally familiar with the regulations, I would advise that Building Control advice should be sought before installation of any heating appliance.

 

Want to know more? ...

Here is a link to an interesting article published by the Daily Mail:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-508406/Household-rubbish-used-make-cheap-green-bio-fuel-power-cars.html

 

If you require structural details (which will comply with Building Regulations) for your project, let me know.

 

Thank you,

Les.

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