I've used alcohol stoves for many years, from Trangias to cottage industry stoves to homemade ones. But what's always bothered me is the fuel itself. Denatured alcohol (at least in California) gives me headaches and bothers my breathing, regardless of whether the fuel is freshly poured or burning. I've tried many brands of denatured alcohol from marine stores and hardware stores without satisfaction. The alternative, high proof ethanol like Everclear, is illegal in California.
But Roger's and Tony's article got me thinking about pure methanol, re Tinny's comments. Yes, it's toxic if ingested (so is white gasoline) but if it burns cleanly... So I went to an auto parts store and got some yellow Heet. Surprise! Methanol has little discernable smell whether poured fresh or while burning. No headaches, no nausea - and no corruption of the wilderness experience with noxious odors. I will still stand back from a stove while it's burning, but I won't feel the need to walk in circles to avoid the vapors.
I did some tests using a Caldera Cone, 450ml Snow Peak Titanium cup with lid, and an open flame burner (tea candle tin mounted at approximately the same height as the orifice of the Caldera stove (the tea candle tin makes it easy to recover the unburned fuel for measurement)). My results tracked those in the article: the two fuels (denatured alcohol and methanol) had about the same heating rates but methanol required about 25% more mass.
Hey, I'll gladly carry the extra fuel to avoid the fumes from additives - if that's what I'm avoiding. Any bio/chemists out there?