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Let Us Drink to Ethanol!
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Jim Milstein
(JimSubzero) - M

Locale: New Uraniborg CO
Re: Methanol on 04/10/2013 15:26:26 MDT Print View

Aha! Canada is not perfect. I knew there must be a reason not to live in Canada.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

Butanol on 04/11/2013 17:12:27 MDT Print View

Don't remind me about the butanol :)

After much trying, I finally found someone who would sell it to a Canadian like me. I placed the order in November after a couple lengthy phone calls about what I wanted to do with it. Long story shot, several months later it didn't work out so I'm back to 0.

Colin Krusor

Locale: Northwest US
Butanol on 04/11/2013 18:34:09 MDT Print View

Dan and Gary, I was interested in long-chain alcohols for stove fuel for a while, too, and I finally bought a bottle of butanol and a bottle of 2-octanol on Ebay a few months ago. These definitely don't work in unmodified alcohol stoves that work with ethanol and methanol. I tried them in whitebox-style stoves of two sizes, several different kinds of MYOG pepsi-can side-jet and top-jet alcohol stoves, and a MYOG wick stove similar to Zelph's Starlyte. All of these stoves work well and burn cleanly with EtOH and MetOH.

The butanol was difficult to light in the central pool of the whitebox stoves, and easier in the felt in the wick stove. It took longer to boil (required more time and fuel for priming) in all of the jet stoves. The major problem, though, was oxygen. The flame burned orange, was smoky, and left a lot of soot on the pot.

The octanol is syrupy and greasy and I could not ignite it directly in any stove (or priming pan). I had to mix it with ethanol. The octanol/ethanol mixtures I tried would light, but octanol has a high boiling point and there was an obvious transition in the jet stoves when the ethanol boiled (and burned) off. The blue (w/yellow tips) ethanol flame would peter out, leaving small orange octanol flames. These gradually grew but never found equilibrium. Thermal feedback would just turn the stove into an orange fireball, billowing black smoke.

I think, to "cleanly" burn long-chain alcohols, a jet stove would need to mix the fuel vapor with air before it exits the jets, and a wick stove would need a tubular wick and a strong draft (from a fan or chimney).

I concluded that, if I had a lightweight stove that had a clever way to introduce enough air into the burning fuel to cleanly burn long-chain alcohols, I'd rather use it to burn olive oil. The long chain alcohols smell awful (except heptanol and hexanol, which smell pleasant), they're greasy, they don't evaporate readily when spilled, and they're expensive and difficult to obtain.


Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

Butanol on 04/11/2013 21:00:16 MDT Print View

Thanks Colin. Great to hear your experiences.

"...if I had a lightweight stove that had a clever way to introduce enough air into the burning fuel to cleanly burn long-chain alcohols...."
Sounds like the next X-prize. I've been hatching a few ideas towards this goal, but I likely lack the tools and skill to actually get it done. Maybe one day....

Gary Dunckel
(Zia-Grill-Guy) - MLife

Locale: Boulder
Butanol, etc. on 04/11/2013 22:00:37 MDT Print View

Way to go, Colin! Somebody at least tried longer chain alcohols. Thanks for giving it the old college try. And Dan, you too, you gave it your best. Looks like we're back to Everclear for now, eh? Damn, I was praying for a breakthrough here...

Jonathan McCrindle
(Roninn) - M
Re: Butanol on 04/24/2013 21:11:38 MDT Print View

You can buy Alcool 94 in Quebec and maybe still in Ontario. It is, as it's name states, 94% alcohol. Not cheap though ;)

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Orange County, CA, USA
Re: Re: Butanol on 04/25/2013 11:42:09 MDT Print View

I'm so dumb, I'm still holding out for isopropyl alcohol (which has a very high heat content). :)

I tried it in a Caldera Cone last week. It worked, but it was a smoky mess. :(

Adventures In Stoving

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Re: Butanol on 04/25/2013 15:51:47 MDT Print View

> I'm so dumb, I'm still holding out for isopropyl alcohol (which has a very high heat content). :)

and generates a lot of toxic byproducts as it burns.