I'm not sure this is the right part of the forum for this. Moderator, please move accordingly.
I'm considering my options for cooking, light and supplemental heating and I'd really like to stick with only one fuel type.
I can cook with alcohol and get alcohol lamps and possibly small supplemental heaters. I can absolutely do all that with kerosene. The big advantage alcohol has over kerosene is the ability to make it myself instead of buy from the local fuel dealer. The advantage of kerosene is higher energy density, lower appliance cost, and -- at least for lighting -- no need for finicky pressurized systems.
I guess what I'm really wondering is: can I make my own fuel for kerosene appliances? Bio-diesel and straight veggie oil (SVO) are both very similar to #2 fuel oil and I can make those. They really aren't so very close to #1 heating oil or 1-K clear kerosene, though.
So... does anyone have experience with refining biodiesel or SVO into bio-kerosene and/or use of biodiesel and SVO in unmodified low pressure kerosene appliances? Would you describe your experiences?
John Polk wrote:All of the kerosene stoves that I have had/used needed to be preheated...with alcohol...before use.
Pressurized kerosene stoves are a relatively new phenomenon. I believe it's an attempt to increase heat yield for a given volume of fuel burned. For wick-type stoves, see: http://kerostove.com/. The gravity feed stoves are recreations of stove types which were relatively common even in the US until the end of WWII.
Alcohol certainly seems to be a cleaner burning fuel.
See your old Trangia camping stove. Before it gets burning well, smokes smokes and smudges as much anything. Once it gets going, though, the biggest issue is the amount of moisture that re-condenses on the bottom of your pot!
I have this same question posed to the kerostoves vendor (also whether the two-burner multi-wick design is available with the higher-output burners.) I just don't want all my info coming from one source. Thus, the question here. A quick Google search produced nothing useful in the way of actually making bio-kerosene, though there are links to companies using it.
Can't comment on making kerosene. I've lived with both fuels though. I'm not a big fan of methyl hydrate alcohol as it's quite toxic to handle and I found the heat output to be very low. Also if you do get some kind of spill or overfill on your stove catching on fire, the flame and fire is pretty much invisible and hard to deal with, which was disturbing in my boat living space. I liked kerosene better, but it's smelly and can burn sooty for a bit even with a good prime (and you'll probably wind up with alcohol around anyway for priming)...I didn't like the thought of breathing in all of that.
Just wondering why propane and/or homemade biogas didn't make it on your list? Propane is my fuel of choice right now for cooking. Some safety issues especially if you are living aboard but they can be mitigated. Good lights too, though solarLED won out for me.
I would also be interested if anyone is making bio-kerosene..
Kari Gunnlaugsson wrote: Just wondering why propane and/or homemade biogas didn't make it on your list?
Propane and LPG, and other petroleum fuels, didn't make the list because I cannot self-generate them and I cannot trust the continual availability at an affordable price. Yes, they are relatively low cost and available now, but that's likely to change in the next decade or two. While I could wait and purchase or build new equipment for whatever fuel choice is made at that time, I think my money is better spent on buying and working with current-available alternate fuels.
Biogas didn't make the list because it's very difficult to create from a mobile platform.
Wood would be an excellent choice, especially for heating, except for low energy density.