Denatured Ethanol Fireplaces
Readily available, environmentally friendly, no harmful emissions
With rising energy prices, air and water pollution, and an increasing awareness of human impacts on the global environment, many people are interested in clean, safe, and environmentally friendly heating options for their homes. Ethanol is one of these – since it is made from plants, it does not release any new carbon dioxide (CO2) into the air. The only CO2 that can be released is the gas which was absorbed by the plants as they grew. Also, when ethanol is burned its emissions are roughly similar to human breath – small amounts of water vapor and carbon dioxide, with no harmful or toxic substances, so ventilation is not necessary. These fireplaces can be made portable with small liquid fuel tanks to hold the alcohol.
Ethanol is also known by the names 'ethyl alcohol' and 'grain alcohol'. It has a unique scent and is very flammable, colorless and tasteless in its pure form. It is a mildly toxic chemical compound, and is the same alcohol found in alcoholic beverages. It is generally referred to simply as "alcohol". For use as either an automotive or home heating fuel, ethanol is "denatured" with the addition of small amounts of other components that make it either toxic for human consumption or which change the taste so as to make it unattractive for humans to drink. By this process, denatured alcohol is not subject to the same taxes that are levied on beverage alcohols intended for human consumption.
In North America , most ethanol is made from corn, with increasing amounts being derived from switchgrass and other crops. Because of increasing prices for petroleum fuels, much research is being performed as far as new methods and crops suitable for producing ethanol. In Brazil , where all gasoline has at least 20% ethanol, the main crop for ethanol production is sugarcane.
At the moment, the only manufacturer of a denatured ethanol fireplace is The Fire Company, an Australian manufacturer with distributors in several other countries. Their denatured ethanol fireplace is called the EcoSmart Fire. Because ethanol is so readily available, and since the burning of denatured ethanol produces no hazardous emissions, this fireplace option is a very attractive choice for urban apartment dwellers, those conscious about the environment, or anyone who is interested in having the flexibility and portability of a fireplace that is not permanently mounted.