Bioethanol heaters apply Olympic torch technology to create cosy, decorative and environmentally-friendly fireplaces
Imagine your heating system could be a small burner with a cosy, permanent flame that’s also kind to the environment. This is possible thanks to the new bioethanol fireplaces that use the Olympic torch technology seen at Rio 2016. They work by burning bioethanol, also called bio-alcohol, a fuel with zero CO2 emissions.
Compared to other eco-friendly systems, such as the traditional wood-burning or pellet stove, there is no specialist installation nor any chimney or flue connection necessary because they do not emit any gas that affects or harms indoor air quality. Nor do they leave residues or bad smells.
Maintenance couldn’t be easier; all you need to do is ensure the biofuel tank doesn’t run out. The valve is opened when the fuel is lit, preferably with a kitchen lighter, and kept open for as long as you want the heater on. It can easily be moved from one room to another, but it’s advisable to turn it
As bioethanol is still not particularly economical in Spain (three to six euros per litre) compared to pellets, these heaters are generally thought of as a decorative source of heat that supplements the home’s main heating system. For the Canarian climate, however, it offers a sophisticated and elegant centrepiece that can be used for a few hours to take the edge off al-fresco ‘winter’ nights with friends and family or curled up on your own.
Bioethanol fireplaces appeal mainly for their aesthetics rather than the heating power they punch. They are available in a variety of built-in, wall-mounted and floor-standing designs, including decorative table-top burners designed to mesmerise with the flames’ beauty rather than warm your fingers. They tend to be relatively inexpensive but have more limited autonomy.
There is also a range of outdoor bioethanol fireplaces and fire pits which tend to be larger and more robust as they’re usually made of iron, stone or ceramic. They also come with a higher price tag but boast a longer burn time, are weatherproof and are normally fitted with safety glass to prevent gusts of wind from killing the flame.
Many brands offer bioethanol heaters, such as Santa Eulalia, Ruby, Bosch Marín, Chimeneas Campos, Purline, Planika, and Glamm Fire.