Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Annapolis, Md
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With all due respect to Mr. Pollard, I would like to correct a couple mistatements in his post. Alcohol evaporates and is lighter than air. Stove alcohol takes a big spill in a closed space to be ignited from airborne fumes in the same manner that Gasoline or propane is eassily ignited and alcohol cannot be ignited from a spark as is the case with either of these other two fuels. From a fire safety standpoint, stove alcohol needs to be handled with all the care that you would handle your favorite booze.
Modern catalyzed alcohol, (non-pressurized) stoves do not have the flare ups as the alcohol stoves of yore and deliver nearly the same heat as the typical marine propane burner so the cook times are not noticably slower than propane stoves. I removed the propane stove from my boat and installed an Origo alcohol stove and have been extremely pleased with the Origo.
To me the big problem with Propane is that it is actually easier to ignite than gasoline. Boats with gasoline engines come with sealed explosion proofed switches, alternators and other electrical components, as well as bilge blowers in addition to passive bilge vent systems. Boats with propane systems generally come with none of these protections. In my lifetime the only sailboats that I personally have heard of exploding have all had diesel engines and propane stoves.
CNG is a reasonable alternative, but it puts out even less heat than a catalyzed alcohol burner.
Last edited by Jeff_H; 08-16-2007 at 10:34 AM.