Bio-Ethanol Fireplace Fuel Explained

Bioethanol fuel, or bio gel fuel, is a form of renewable energy as it is made from natural ingredients. Bio-ethanol fireplace fuel is actually called ethyl alcohol, the same type of alcohol that is found in beer, wine and spirits, basically all alcoholic beverages. Alcohol is highly flammable therefore bioethanol fireplace safety and gel fire safety is an important concern when you buy bioethanol fuel, or buy gel fuel, including handling and storage.

Bio-Ethanol Fireplace Fuel Explained

In its purest form it is 100% alcohol, however the proof rating in the bottles of bio-ethanol fuel purchased for fireplaces is typically around 96%. The missing 4% is additives which are blended with the alcohol to discourage it from being used as a recreational drink. As stated above Bioethanol fuel is highly flammable which when lit, has a real flame, and gives off heat.

Bio ethanol fuel has many uses, not just in fireplaces. In fact, it is mainly used as an additive to motoring fuels to reduce the reliance on carbon fuels. Ethanol-blended motor fuel is widely used in Brazil, the United States, and Europe. Petrol pumps in the US quote 10% ethanol is blended with the petroleum fuel. Ethanol is commonly made from the fermentation of biomass such as corn, sugarcane, hemp, sugarcane, potato and cassava.

Bio Ethanol Fuel v Gel Fuel

Bio-Ethanol Fireplace Fuel
Bio-Ethanol Fireplace Fuel

There is a difference between Bio-Ethanol Fireplace Fuel and Gel Fuel. The obvious difference is the viscosity of the product. Bio ethanol is a liquid, which means it is easy to pour, and unless care is taken, spill. Gel fire fuel is thick with a viscosity similar to a syrup. The quality of how the fuel burns is also different. To find out more read our Guide to The Difference Between Bio Ethanol Fuel and Gel Fuel.

Is it Clean Burning?

When bio ethanol fuel is used within an bio ethanol fireplace burner and ignited it will burn with a clean flame when compared to fuels like natural gas, LPG, coal or wood. These carbon based fuels will most likely require a chimney to remove the harmful emissions (CO, CO2, NOx etc) to the outside.

Each fuel has varying amounts of emissions and the volume of these emissions depends on the fire design, the fuel type and size of burner. With bio-ethanol fireplace fuel the emissions are very small and this is why a chimney is not required when using this type of fuel.

Bio-ethanol fireplace fuel when compared to carbon fuel does burn cleanly however as with all flames there are still some emissions. The volume of these are generally very small however overall the larger the burner the higher the emissions that are generated. Another bi-product of burning bio ethanol fuel is water vapour.

Ventilation

Taking the comments above into account it is good practice when using a bio ethanol fireplace to have some form of fresh air ventilation coming into the room where the burner is. This could be a small permanent air vent or an open window in the room. This will keep the air fresh and dilute the effects of the minimal emissions. Read our Guide to Ventilation for Bio-Ethanol Fireplaces

Safety

If burning any type of fuel in a property it is always a good practice to buy a carbon monoxide detector, these are relatively cheap to buy.

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