|The yellow bottle on the left is HEET (methanol).|
If you want an alcohol fuel with more heat per gram, you might use something like Klean Strip Green Denatured alcohol. Green denatured alcohol has a fairly high percentage of ethanol which, when burned, will produce more heat per gram than methanol. If you can produce more heat per gram, then you don't have to carry as many grams to do the same amount of cooking. In other words, you can shed some pack weight. The down side is that high ethanol content blends like Green denatured produce a little more soot, are a little harder to find (Home Depot carries it), and are a bit more expensive.
|Klean Strip Green Denatured Alcohol, a high ethanol content alcohol blend|
Let's do the numbers. Yesterday, I went and ran some tests with Green denatured and methanol. See the appendix for details of testing conditions and parameters.
|Running simultaneous tests to control testing errors.|
With HEET (methanol), it took me 24ml of fuel to boil two cups of water. I could sometimes get a boil with only 23ml of alcohol, but in order to guarantee a boil, I had to use 24 ml. In other words, it took me about 6ml more fuel per two cup boil when I used methanol.
|Conducting fuel quantity boil tests.|
There's the bottom line: You'd save about 70g/2.5oz on a one week trip if you use green denatured alcohol instead of HEET (assuming you boil about 4 cups/1 liter per day).
So, is it worth it? You tell me. Each person needs to decide for him or herself what weight is worth cutting and what a lighter pack is worth. Some people are "gram weenies" looking to cut every gram possible. Some people are "ounce counters" looking to cut weight but perhaps not quite as zealously as the gram weenie crowd. What's your style? What amount of weight matters to you? I can't tell you that, but at least now you can make an informed decision.
Hope that's helpful,
Appendix: Test Conditions and Parameters
All tests discussed in this blog post were conducted at Henninger Flats near Los Angeles, CA, USA, at an elevation of about 2600 feet/790 meters. Air pressure as measured by my Sunnto Altimeter watch was 928mBar/27.40 InHg. Air temperature was approximately 50F/10C. Air temperature did fluctuate during testing. Winds were light and intermittent, but no more than about 5mph/8kph at any given time. Water temperature was about 45F/7C. Trail Designs 12-10 burners in a Caldera Cone windscreen/pot support (see photos above) were used for all tests. All tests were conducted atop a wooden picnic table in an unsheltered location. All tests were run multiple times to preclude testing errors. Stoves, pots, and windscreens were allowed to cool subsequent to each test and had returned to ambient temperature prior to further testing.
If you look closely at the photos above, you'll see that I used slightly different versions of the Caldera Cone set up for my tests. Simultaneous tests were run one fuel at a time. In other words, both burners were run on the same fuel as I ran my tests. Interestingly, even though the pot sizes are different between the two versions of the Caldera Cone I used, the amount of fuel required was remarkably consistent, both with HEET and with green denatured alcohol.
|The view from Henninger Flats on Satuday, 17 DEC 2011. Can you see downtown Los Angeles? The Pacific Ocean?|
Click to enlarge
Related posts and articles:
- Getting Started with Alcohol
- DIY Alcohol Stoves -- Basic Design Considerations
- Cold Weather Tips for Alcohol Stoves
- Is Ethanol Worth It?
- Caldera Cone Alcohol Stove Review (on Seattle Backpackers Magazine)
- Caldera Cone Review Supplement -- Additional Photos and Technical Appendix with Weights
- The Clikstand Alcohol Stove System Review
- Caldera Cone vs. Clikstand Alcohol Stove Tests
- Trangia 27 Alcohol Stove System Review
- The Caldera Cone's 12-10 Burner
- The Trangia Alcohol Burner
- What's the Best Alcohol for Stove Fuel?
- What Is Meths? (And how is that different than Methanol?)
- Going "Green" with Stoves: Alcohol and Biodiesel