Blazing flames, flickering lights, and a soft warmth slowly filling up room: if you think you can only experience this kind of ambience at a cabin retreat, think again! For those who don’t already have a chimney in their house (or don’t want to spend money on an expensive installation), bioethanol stoves offer a neat alternative. This article explains how they work and presents five options that combine practical features with unique aesthetics.
Ethanol is a combustible made from natural resources such as sugar beets, potatoes, or grains. During the production process, the sugar contained in those materials breaks down and turns into alcohol. The result: a liquid substance that burns on its own without leaving smoke, soot, or ash behind. Bioethanol fireplaces are therefore much easier to handle than traditional ones. You can place them virtually anywhere: in the middle of the room, next to the sofa, or even on a table. The heat thus created won’t suffice to regulate indoor temperatures entirely, but it will definitely keep you warm when you’re staying close enough.
Even if you don’t use actual coal or wood, burning something will always generate carbon dioxide and water. Hence, you should ensure that your home is properly ventilated and furthermore install smoke alarm devices at critical spots. The Gira Dual Q, for example, provides a double layer of protection: it reacts not only to smoke particles, but also to unusual changes of temperature. This way, the device can prevent the outbreak of liquid ethanol fires and alert you in due time before any damage is done.
Functional and minimalist, the small bioethanol stove designed by Wolf Udo Wagner works indoors as well as outdoors. To allow for an unobstructed view from all angles, Wagner integrated the stainless-steel combustor into a glass cylinder – which makes the Ponton Fireplace look as if it was freely floating in the air. With a height of only 27.5 centimetres, it is ideal for tabletops. A full tank will last between two and three hours.
Planika, a manufacturer based in Poland, has come up with a particularly versatile solution: ethanol inserts which can even be integrated into a piece of furniture. This allows you to retrofit an installation that matches your existing interior perfectly. There are several models to choose from, depending on your budget and preferences: the FLA3 / FLA3+ bioethanol fireplace, for example, comes with features such as temperature sensors, wireless control, and an automated refuelling system.
German manufacturer Conmoto has taken the idea of flexible design one step further. As its name suggests, the Roll Fire is a bioethanol stove that can be moved freely around the room – even while burning. Developed by Michael Sieger, this innovative concept earned Conmoto a Good Design Award in 2010. The framework consists of two powder-coated rings with a felt cover to prevent signs of wear-and-tear on the floor. Integrated glass panes put the flickering flame at the centre on full display. With a capacity of one litre, the bioethanol-fuelled fire will last for up to three hours.
Want to impress your dinner guests with more than candles and flowers on the table? German company Höfats might just have what you’re looking for: a compact glass cylinder with a bioethanol fireplace inside. Distinguished by several design awards, the so-called Spin comes in four different colour variants (grey, black, silver, or gold) and is suitable for both indoor and outdoor use. You can carry it around and put it anywhere you see fit – on the balcony, in the garden, or the living room. Apart from the table model with a pedestal at the bottom, there’s also the option to set it up as a torch or a suspended lantern. The rotating flames will keep burning for around 60 minutes.
The team of Swedish brand Vauni develop high-quality alternatives for anyone who can’t install a traditional wood-burning stove at home. Their products are based on a concept that combines technological innovation and modern aesthetics. The most popular model is a free-standing, circular-shaped bioethanol fireplace with the fitting name “Globe”. Partially open, it has absorbing and anti-spilling functions to ensure high safety standards. For the insert around the burner, there are different finishes available: black cast iron or molded concrete in two colour variants (“Mystic Graphite” and “Mystic Sand”). The two-litre fuel tank will last for at least five hours – without generating smoke or soot, of course.
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