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Embarrassing noob alky stove question...
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Jon Fong

Re: butanol and white gas on 11/29/2012 17:36:07 MST Print View

BTW, I have built a passive white gas stove that burns without soot. It didn’t generate soot but smelled awful. The prototype had a long time to boil but I am sure that it could be sped up. The problem is 1) white gas is not as safe as DA and 2) it is hard to pick up small quantities while on the trail: I don’t think that an 8 to 12 ounce bottle of white gas exists. Stick with alcohol. My 2 cents -Jon

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

Butanol on 11/29/2012 20:16:58 MST Print View

"[butanol] would be a really bad choice for almost all alcohol burners used by hikers. It would be even more smokey than Isopropanol..."

Have you actually tried burning butanol? From what I've read, there are additional reasons why isopropanol happens to be abnormally smokey and butanol can actually burn cleaner than ethanol while being less corrosive and 20% more energy dense (36 MG/gram vs 30.5 MJ/g). Obviously you'd need more oxygen, but butanol also seems to have a built in inhibition against forming carbon monoxide and other noxious fumes. This isn't really backpacking stoves, but a car running on pure butanol will have far lower carbon monoxide and noxious emissions versus a car running on pure ethanol.

I've spoken with the Chief Technical Officer for Green Biologics ltd (company R&D'ing bio-butanol) and he said that if you put butanol in a dish and light it, it burns really cleanly just like that. I might be able to get a hold of some butanol at the chemistry lab at my university.

Edited by dandydan on 11/29/2012 20:21:20 MST.

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: @Tarptent
Embarrassing noob alky stove question on 11/29/2012 20:42:27 MST Print View

"This isn't really backpacking stoves'
So why introduce the idea here and make something that is REALLY simple so complicated.
At home, Australia, I go to the supermarket buy 1L of Ethanol and off I go...
Over there (that is the US) I went to REI (I think some are familiar with those shops) bought some SLX and off I went.
No I did not die of gas poisoning burning that stuff but at times I felt a bit odd from car fumes at the traffic lights, same at the airports waiting for take off.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
Embarrassing noob alky stove question... on 11/29/2012 22:26:39 MST Print View

I do want to respond to Jennifer's subject line. There is no such thing as a stupid/embarrassing question. The only stupid questions are those you don't ask!

I do own an alcohol stove, but somehow every time I pack for a trip, I always grab my canister stove instead. At least for me, it's much more convenient. Definitely a YMMV thing!