This is a technical report of tests on 3 portable alcohol stoves (using methylated spirits), one pressure and two non-pressure types. Although the stoves are marketed in the UK for camping use (similar to camping as or primus-kerosine stoves) and so are too expensive and unnecessarily sophisticated for Third World cooking, the non-pressure types (see Fig.) are basically simple, and could be made relatively cheaply in countries which already have light industries making articles such as aluminium pots and lanterns etc.

They may be appropriate for countries which produce alcohol from suitable biomass as a substitute for charcoal, imported kerosine or bottle gas. This would be in better off urban homes, perhaps to compliment a wood stove for making tea. There are safety problems involved - the alcohol flame is almost invisible and so can cause burns or fires, particularly if fuel is spilt. It is also very volatile and must be kept in a closed container. As with any use of alcohol, there are problems with its diversion for use as an intoxicant and with contamination making it poisonous. Such illegal use may involve high prices and possible stealing.

The tests used are to bring 2 litres of water to boil in aluminium pans. The 2 similar, non-pressure stoves gave the best results - PHUs around 60% with continuously variable power outputs of 400-1400W i.e. a ratio of almost l:4, by simple movement of a lever controlling the air intake. Performance was strongly affected by wind although the flame was not blown out. A wind shield (supplied with stove) is necessary.


Last edited by Miriam Hansen .
Page last modified on Thursday October 7, 2010 14:36:42 GMT.
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