Gel & Bio Ethanol
WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE
- market status: Gel Fuel is old fashioned now and harder to find, Bio Ethanol fuel is very pupular and easy to source
- maintenance: Gel - yes, regular washing fo the cans, Bio Ethano Fuel - no, the liquid burns cleanly leaving no residue
- what is it made of: both are made of plants and food waste and are green products
- burning time: very similar (depends more on the type of container than fuel itself)
- heat output: very similar
- flame appearance: equally realistic
- filling up: in a regular fireplace container equally simple (according to instructions), in small tabletop burners - safer with Gel Fuel
- running cost: Gel is generally more expensive
- flame regulation: with Gel - not available, with Bio Fuel - regularly available but depends on the type of container.
Genarally speaking - the differences between Gel and Bio Fuel should not be an issue for you to consider anymore, as bigger fireplaces running on jellified alcohol are now a thing of a past and they have been nearly completely replaced by easier, cleaner and more effective bio fuel versions. Gel fuel used to be the only available way to power flueless alocohol fires and as such the concept has been populated among British and European customers, so you may find that a lot of people still refer to "Gel Fires" when speaking of bio alcohol run fireplaces. Ultimately the differences for the end users are only an improvement, but it's important to educate yourself that most fireplaces are only used with one type of fuel - so you cannot use a jelly old fashioned fuel in a new generation bio ethanol container. You wouldn't want to do that though, because bio fuel is cleaner, simpler, requires no maintenance and burns equally long with a lovely orange flame.
At Bio Fires (Gel Fireplaces Ltd) we stopped selling fireplaces running on gel fuel after 2013 and converted our traditional range to run on bio fuel. As a curiosity here is a simple comparison table based on a similar type of fires that we made in 2012, but please bear in mind that we don't sell the mentioned fire models anymore:
Ethanol is one of the safe and environmentally friendly heating options for modern homes – since it is made from plants, it does not release any new carbon dioxide (CO2) into the air, unlike fossil fuels which return carbon that was stored beneath the surface for millions of years into the air. The only CO2 that can be released from burning bio fuels is the gas which was absorbed by the plants as they grew. Ethanol is the most common bio fuel worldwide and is produced by fermentation of sugars derived from wheat, corn, sugar beets, sugar cane, molasses and any sugar or starch that alcoholic beverages can be made from (like potato and fruit waste etc). The ethanol production methods used are enzyme digestion (to release sugars from stored starches), fermentation of the sugars, distillation and drying. When ethanol is burning, its emissions are roughly similar to human breath, small amounts of water vapour and carbon dioxide, with no harmful or toxic substances. There is also no residue when burning, so there is literally no maintenance, which is a step forward compared to gel fireplaces.
Our bio fireplaces are mainly decorative, whilst they obviously will not replace conventional heating, however, they will produce a significant amount of heat (while in traditional fireplaces 60% of the heat is lost through the chimney, in Bio Fireplaces 100% of the heat energy is projected to the room).