Gel versus Paraffin
gel stoves are less efficient and more expensive to run, but are less smelly, are less of a fire hazzard and quite low tech, the gel is easier to store and not as toxic as paraffin, and produces less soot, over all the use of gel is better and should be advocated over gas and paraffin for emergency short term cooking …
found this useful info here
Originally Posted by Creek Walker
Well it’s not Esbit tabs but a way to make your own Sterno.
How to Make “Sterno™”
A solid camping fuel like Sterno™ or Magic Heat™ was discovered several years ago when a group of campers forgot to pack fuel for their camp stove. Because the area prohibited use of campfires, the campers needed to use an alternative fuel source. One of the campers made a gel that they could use as a solid fuel. To make this gel, chalk was crushed and mixed with vinegar. The resulting mixture was filtered through a napkin and the liquid collected was heated using a solar reflector. Some rubbing alcohol was poured into the solution to form a gel which burned.
You can repeat this process and make their own gelled fuel at home with alcohol and calcium acetate
(C4H6CaO4). Either methanol or ethanol can be used for fuel. Calcium acetate (C4H6CaO4) can be purchased or made by slowly dissolving calcium carbonate (eggshells or chalk) in vinegar, filtering, and allowing to dry
Here’s how to do it…
Step 1: Place about 1 oz. of chalk (or egg shells) in a mortar and pestle and grind to small pieces.
Transfer chalk to pint container and add 4 oz of vinegar. Stir for 5 minutes.
What’s Happening: A reaction between chalk (calcium carbonate) and vinegar (acetic acid, dilute) to
produces carbon dioxide, water and calcium acetate
Step 2: Pour the chalk-vinegar mixture into the funnel lined with a coffee filter and collect the liquid
in a pint container.
What’s Happening: Filtration of unreacted chalk from the mixture to leave a solution of calcium acetate
Step 3: Pour 2 oz of the liquid into the dish. Gently heat the dish with a Bunsen burner until the volume
is reduced by half. Turn off burner and allow concentrated solution to cool.
What’s Happening: Removal of excess water will concentrate the calcium acetate in the solution
Step 4: Add 1 oz. of alcohol to liquid in dish. DO NOT STIR! The gel should form rapidly. Pour off any
What’s Happening: Mixing alcohol with calcium acetate will form the gel fuel
I have not made this yet but I have a whole bag of egg shells saved up.