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Fuel guide

Important!

Fuel type

Can I use this?

Notes

Ethanol, 95-98% pure

Yes

With or without denaturation additives. Optimal fuel for Fishbone bioethanol stoves.

Fuel alcohol mixtures intended for indoor use

Yes

Suitable fuel mixtures are sold for use in decorative fireplaces and fondue burners.

Other fuel alcohol mixtures

Use outdoors only

Fuel alcohol mixtures not intended for indoor use may contain methanol or other components that produce toxic vapors.

Alcohols intended for human consumption

Do not use


Oil-based or oily fuels

Do not use

Gel-like fuels

Do not use

Gasoline

Do not use

Kerosene, lamp oil

Do not use

Examples of commercial ethanol fuels for indoor use

Sinol bottle

Sinol

Ethanol content 90 – 100 %

Bionlov

Ethanol content 96 %

Polar

Ethanol content 85 – 95 %

Ethanol?

Ethanol is commonly referred to as alcohol. This is because ethanol is an intoxicating ingredient in drinkable alcoholic beverages. When talking about chemicals, on the other hand, alcohol is a common name for a large group of chemicals (for example, ethanol, methanol, and isopropanol). Most of the other alcohols are lethally toxic to humans.

Ethanol is produced from biomaterials or crude oil. Ethanol produced via fermentation of biomaterials may be called bioethanol. Bioethanol is an environmentally friendly and fossil free fuel.

Denaturation

Ethanol sold as fuel is typically denatured for tax purposes, i.e. it has been made unfit for human consumption by adding bad-tasting and potentially toxic additives. The additives used for denaturation vary between manufacturers and countries based on regulation and historical reasons. Never drink denatured ethanol! Note that even a small amount of denatured ethanol can cause a bad taste. For example, denatured alcohol left on the fingers easily adheres to food, spoiling its taste.

Ethanol fuels for sale

Ethanol suitable for Fishbone stoves is sold all over the world. The buyer’s problem is that the word ethanol may not even be mentioned in the bottle being sold.  The product may be called, for example, denatured alcohol, fuel alcohol, spiritus, bioethanol, fireplace fuel, fondue fuel, spirit fuel, or methylated spirit. Many countries also have their own dedicated word for alcohol fuel.  Manufacturers of ethanol fuel prefer to emphasize their own brand name rather than the actual product content. There are also real differences in the ethanol fuels available. There is a difference in ethanol content, denaturants and physical composition (liquid / gel). If the content of the fuel is not described on the bottle, check the fuel’s safety data sheet (SDS) from the manufacturer’s website.

Storage of Ethanol

  • Store ethanol in normal room temperature (below 30 °C / 86 °F) or cooler, in a well ventilated environment. The storage area must be out of direct sunlight and out of the reach of children and pets.
  • Ethanol must be stored in a sealed container.
  • Store fuel according to local regulations and manufacturer’s instructions.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Why do I need to use the funnel to fill the stove?

The funnel is an important safety accessory to avoid the situation where the flame from an active burner could get into the filling bottle. In such a situation the filling bottle can turn into a flamethrower with serious consequences.

I'm done cooking and there is still some fuel in the stove. Can I just leave it in the tank until next use?

You can leave fuel in the stove if you store it in upright position and cover the burner with the sealing cap. Note that ethanol will  evaporate if the sealing cap is not in place during storage.

What is the coldest temperature I can use the stove in?

The stoves have been tested in -20 °C temperature, but the stoves can be lit and used also in lower temperatures. Ethanol stays in liquid form down to -100 °C.

Is carbon monoxide (CO) a concern when I use the stove indoors?

Incomplete combustion can create both soot and carbon monoxide. The Fishbone stove burns ethanol fuel extremely cleanly, so very little carbon monoxide is created.

There is no European standard for ethanol stoves that would set a carbon monoxide emission limit, but there is a standard for ethanol burning decorative fireplaces that are similarly used indoors (EN 16647). The carbon monoxide emissions of the Fishbone stoves are well below the allowed limit in the standard.

Why do the instructions for use require that the stove be used in a ventilated space of at least 50 cubic meters in volume?

50 m3 is sufficient air volume to make sure that carbon dioxide (CO2) will not rise to dangerous levels during one full operation cycle of the stove. Some ethanol fuel manufacturers provide similar guidance along with the fuel. It would also be possible to require “sufficient” ventilation, but it is difficult to define what that means in practise.

Why use ethanol? What benefits does ethanol fuel have over gas?

  • Damage to the bottle or its gas valve may cause a larger amount of flammable gas to leak out.
  • Gas stoves are not suitable for freezing conditions as butane is not a useful fuel in temperatures below +5°C. Butane/propane gas mixtures can extend the temperature range somewhat.
  • Butane and propane are non-renewable fossil fuels.
  • Gas bottles are disposable metal containers which generate unnecessary waste.