Basically, I didn't expect to see anything realy great with alcohol. It doesn't really matter what fuel you use, but alky does not produce enough to make it worth while. Methanol is simply a a carbon, surrounded by 3 hydrogen atoms and a hydroxyl group. The hydroxyl group is partially "cumbusted" already, if you want to look at it like that. Methane is MUCH more fuel efficient per moler weight. Alcohol is partially used. The big advantage is the reduction in evaporation pressure. At the carrying temperature we are interested in as campers, it is liquid.
Trouble is, methane and ilk are not easily transported without a rather heavy container. The light gasses require pressure to transport efficiently. As campers, we do not have the luxury of presurizing gasses and transporting them without storing the gas in the traditional heavy metal container.
Therfore, we need a lighter container. But, no matter what, a container for carrying a liquid fuel, not as volotile as, say, methane, will ALWAYS be lighter than one required to hold pressure.
By the same token, if we use a liquid fuel, such as WG, it need to be vaporized before burning to eliminate the soot, ie, burn completely, ergo high efficiency.
My thought by using a catalyst, is to reduce the energy needed to initiate the burning of a fuel. Not necessarily to start the combustion, as with the lighters.
But, a well tuned catalyst should let WG burn cleanly with no presurization needed to force through a jet.
Using a good catalytic stove, I am guessing that the weight should be no more than 1.5-2oz. The catalyst will be a thicker mesh, I believe. And, I also believe it will burn WG, Kero, etc. BUT, additives may kill it. Probably not auto gas, Diesel, or avation fuels.
At that point, the combustion (stove & fuel) combination will be nearly 100% user dependent. As it sits, most WG stoves are about 50% efficient. If this can be boosted to 70-80%, AND, the stove weight reduced from about a pound to 2oz, this would be far better than a presurized container for gases.
As it sits, canisters are only about 10% better than alcohol for fuels, because of the presurized can. WG/Butane are within 3-4% of eachother for heat value. But, allowing soot wasts a lot of heat value. A clean burning and light weight stove is needed to burn WG. As it sits, The SVEA comes closest with about a 65-75% efficiency. But paying a pound in weight for the little stove is painfull to most. A pound of stove is rediculous when you consider a one or two night trip. Depending on your usage, a week is about break even, now. I would much prefer to see a 2oz stove at 70% efficiency letting me get rid of the bloody SVEA. Then, we can work on a better fuel.