A comparison of gel fuels with alternative cooking fuels

P.J.D. Lloyd, E.M. Visagie


A range of gel fuels was tested in a range of appli-ances designed for the fuels. The tests comprised the determination of the efficiency of the fuel/appli-ance combination when boiling water at full and, where possible, minimum power; and the measure-ment of CO, CO2 and unburned hydrocarbons col-lected in a hood at the burner level in normal oper-ation. The tests were repeated with paraffin-fuelled appliances, LP gas appliances and an electric stove. In the majority of cases it was found that the gel fuels did not meet an emission standard of a CO:CO2 ratio of <0.02, and that they gave off excessive unburned hydrocarbons. It was suspected that this had to do with the mixing of the fuel vapour with air, because tests with pure ethanol in various appliances gave similar results. Tests in which appli-ances were modified to improve the air/fuel mixing showed that the hypothesis was valid. A subsidiary finding of the tests was that some gel fuels had excessive water, and that in these cases the conden-sation of the water vapour on the base of a cooking pot was so extensive that it could extinguish the flame. This leads to a recommendation that a stan-dard for gel fuels be established. A comparison of the cost of cooking a standard meal suggests that gel fuels are unlikely to meet user’s needs even if improved appliances can be developed.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17159/2413-3051/2007/v18i4a3392


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