What Are Bioethanol Indoor Fires? Benefits and Everything You Need to Know (2023)

Looking for an alternative to traditional gas, log and electric fires? A bioethanol fire might just be the very thing you need. If you’ve never heard of a bioethanol fire, or if you’d like to learn more about what they are and the benefits they carry, you’re in the right place. We’ve put together the answers to all the most frequently asked questions about these incredible fires so you can decide if they are the right choice for you. Let’s start at the very beginning:

What Are Bioethanol Indoor Fires? Benefits and Everything You Need to Know (1)

What are bioethanol fires and how do they work?

As the name suggests, a bioethanol fire is an alternative source of real-flame heat that runs on bioethanol fuel as opposed to gas or logs. Bioethanol fuel is a natural, ethanol-based fuel produced from plants such as sugar cane or maize and is, therefore, a much more eco-friendly alternative to traditional burning fuels.

Bioethanol fires work by simply pouring bioethanol fuel into the burner and lighting it, so it’s much more straightforward than you may have initially thought. The fuel will then burn for 4-5 hours or until extinguished, which is done by closing the lid and starving the flame of oxygen. The fire can then easily be topped up with more fuel once cooled (which takes 10-15 minutes) if you need the fire to burn for longer.

The amount of oxygen you give to the fire dictates how long it burns. With the lid completely off, the fire will burn more quickly, whilst feeding the fire minimal oxygen will keep it burning for longer.

What are the benefits of bioethanol fires?

Bioethanol fires carry a great many benefits as an alternative to traditional fire sources, but here are the main advantages:


The main and most obvious benefit of using a bioethanol fire is, of course, the fact that it is much more eco-friendly than a traditional fossil fuel fire. As the fuel is plant-based, the flames burn cleanly without releasing harmful substances into the air. This is one of the main reasons why bioethanol fires are safe indoors. Without the need for a chimney or flue, the residual output is odourless and smokeless, meaning the only thing you’ve got to watch out for is the flames themselves!

(Video) A short introduction to bioethanol fireplaces - The 5 most important facts

No gas or electricity needed

As these fires run purely on bioethanol fuel, there is no need for any further power or fuel sources from gas and electricity, which helps to cut costs and keeps everything refreshingly simple.

Easy to install

If you’ve looked through our range of bioethanol fires, you may have noticed one key element of a traditional fireplace is missing: the flue. As the fuel burns cleanly and releases no smoke or fumes, there is actually no need for bioethanol fires to have a flue. This, in turn, makes them incredibly easy to install and much more flexible in terms of where they can be placed.

Stylish and Contemporary

Due to the lack of restrictions on placement and design, bioethanol fires come in a huge range of sleek, stylish and contemporary designs. Perfect for anyone looking for something a little different for their home or garden, the contemporary styling of bioethanol fires are a breath of fresh air for modern interior design.

Efficient and Adjustable

Bioethanol fires can heat large rooms efficiently and effectively, and you can adjust the output in most indoor fire designs with the help of a slider on the fuel box (note, not all designs carry this feature). This can be placed fully open, half open, or ¼ open, which will affect how much fuel is burned, how long the fuel lasts, as well as the level of flame output.

What Are Bioethanol Indoor Fires? Benefits and Everything You Need to Know (2)

Are bioethanol fires expensive to run?

The short answer is no; bioethanol fires are not expensive to run compared to the cost of running wood or gas fires. However, the cost of running a bioethanol fire can vary depending on the cost of the fuel you use and how far open the box slider is during use (if applicable). Bioethanol fuel costs, on average, around £2.50 per litre, though prices vary across brands and sources, and a litre lasts an average of 3.5 hours with the box slider fully open, while it can last up to 5 hours or more with the slider only ¼ open.

(Video) Planika Fires Demonstrating a Bio Ethanol Fires. Lighting and Explaining How They work.

The quality of the fuel can also affect costs and efficiency. Cheaper fuels reduce running costs in the short term, though these fuels are often more flammable and burn out more quickly, which actually increases running costs over time. A good compromise is to seek out good quality fuel and buy in bulk (if you plan on using your bioethanol fire regularly) as you can often find excellent discounts for bulk fuel purchases.

Are bioethanol fires safe indoors?

Yes, you can buy specially-designed indoor bioethanol fires that are perfectly safe to use indoors. While bioethanol fires do produce carbon dioxide, this substance is only produced in small amounts and is a natural by-product of any real fire. What’s more, bioethanol fires are far safer to use indoors than traditional fires due to the fact that they don’t produce any smoke, ash or carcinogenic substances, so you’re not breathing in any of these substances in your home.

Of course, like any flammable fuel, care needs to be taken while handling bioethanol fuel and using the burner. All fires are only as safe as the procedures they are used with, so make sure you follow all instructions and guidelines to ensure you are filling and using your bioethanol fire correctly.

How long does bioethanol fuel last?

The length that bioethanol fuel lasts varies on the settings in which you are burning the fuel. Usually, one litre of bioethanol fuel will last for 4 hours if it is burning on the maximum heat setting. However, if you burn the bioethanol fuel on a minimum setting, then the fuel can burn for up to 8 hours. If you shut off the fire, the fuel will preserve until you wish to light the fire again.

Do bioethanol fires give off heat?

Yes, bioethanol fires produce real-burning flames that give off plenty of heat, making them a fantastic, like-for-like alternative to traditional gas or log-burning fires for heating homes and gardens. No artificial flames or heat-free imitations here!

(Video) How to use a bio ethanol fireplace - Bio Fires

Now you have everything you need to know about these amazing fires; you’re ready to choose your brand new bioethanol fire and wave goodbye to the restrictions and nasty emissions of gas and log fireplaces. Explore our range of indoor bioethanol fires and outdoor bioethanol fires here at Moonlight Design and discover showstopping, unique designs for your home or garden.

What Are Bioethanol Indoor Fires? Benefits and Everything You Need to Know (4)

Can I mount a TV directly above a bioethanol fireplace?

Inspired by many interior design magazines, people often install a TV above an ethanol fireplace. But can the two actually be placed together? Here are a few things to consider when you’re thinking about mounting your TV above a bioethanol fire.

Bioethanol fireplaces are mainly used as decorative products to add design and style to a room, but they do produce about 3-3.5 kWh of heat. The combination doesn’t go well with traditional gas or real wood fireplaces, but the question is, does it work with a bioethanol fireplace?

Most electric devices operate best and are more reliable at lower temperatures. There is a risk that the television set may overheat when exposed to the heat from the fireplace, and the excessive heat can cause temperature sensitive materials to degrade quickly.

You need to consider the direction the heat travels in and where it comes from. Making sure your fire has a closed top is a good place to start. If heat escapes from the top, it will not have a good effect on your TV. If it is an option, you could try putting your TV in a slight recess or separating the TV and your bioethanol fire using a non-flammable mantle or floating shelf that is fireproof/ non-combustible such as class 0 A1 rated fireproof board, cement board, marble or stone.

As there is no smoke from our bioethanol fires, you don’t need to worry about any smoke damage to your TV. Nonetheless, we suggest that you only place your TV above a bioethanol fireplace that has a closed top. We also recommend leaving around 250mm minimum between the top of your bio fire and the bottom of your TV set. With no inaccessible moving parts, bioethanol fires require no maintenance; this will significantly increase the lifespan of your TV. Beyond warmth and ambience, Flex Series creates a luxurious focal point, adds character and interest to the room, and helps define layouts and use of space.

(Video) What are bioethanol fireplaces and what are their benefits

What Are Bioethanol Indoor Fires? Benefits and Everything You Need to Know (5)

Bioethanol Fires FAQs

Is there a difference between gel and bioethanol fuel?

Gel fuel is now mostly outdated since bioethanol fuel has made an introduction. Gel used to be a popular way to run bioethanol fires but, given the amount of residue left by the gel, is deemed inefficient. The bioethanol you will likely find now is more liquid based and has a more efficient burn rate.

How legal are bioethanol fires when it comes to building regulations?

There are very few issues to worry about when it comes to the legality of a bioethanol fire. Firstly there are no major structural changes to be concerned about, so seeking planning permission isn’t an issue. The regulations that manufacturers have to follow are consistent with building regulations in so far as these fires can’t contain combustible material. When it comes to ventilation, there is no legal need for a flue, and a window is the only kind of ventilation required here.

Is there anything I can use to prolong how long bioethanol fuel burns?

There have been instances where people have used materials other than bioethanol to fuel their fires. Ceramic wool, burner blocks, and sponge are dangerous to put on bioethanol fires. The residue creates embers that are deceiving and could ignite the fuel. We advise using only bioethanol fuel on the fire.

What do bioethanol fires emit?

The main emissions from a bioethanol fire are water vapour and CO2. Whilst CO2 sounds like it could be dangerous, the level of this output is nowhere near comparable to a fossil fuel-burning fire of a similar size. If you have candles in your house, a bioethanol fire is like burning a few candles. The CO2 level is that low. A bioethanol fire doesn’t burn hot enough to produce more harmful substances like monoxide.

What is bioethanol fuel made of?

Bioethanol fuel is clean and renewable energy made from fermenting the sugars and starches of plant by-products. These can include potatoes, wheat and corn, for example. Because of this, bioethanol is a kinder fuel to burn than many other kinds of fuel, which release harmful gasses into the atmosphere.

How expensive is a bioethanol fire to run?

The answer to this is, essentially, down to how much you wish to use your bioethanol fire. The first thing that should be noted is that bioethanol fires shouldn’t be used as an always-on heating alternative. A bioethanol fire cannot replace the function of central heating, for example. A regular-sized fire will require about 1 to 1.5 litres of fuel to burn continuously for 3 to 5 hours. It averages out roughly £1.70 to £2 per hour to keep a bioethanol fire running. To reiterate, it would become very costly were you to try and use a bioethanol fire to replace a centralised heating system.

(Video) Bioethanol Fires. A Real Fire With That Doesn't Need A Flue! Introducing Ecosmart Fires

How safe are bioethanol fires?

If you treat the potential hazard of fire with respect and common sense, there should be very few safety concerns. That is to say, a bioethanol fire is no more or less dangerous than any other kind of domestic fire system. Making sure fuel only goes into the fireplace is a main piece of advice. The same should be said about adding fuel whilst the fire is burning or filling up the fireplace when you have only recently extinguished the flame – always make sure there is no more heat emanating from the fire before you refill. Suffice to say; you should also refrain from adding things other than fuel to the fire. This is an easy route to disaster.

Got more questions about bioethanol fireplaces? Give our team a call on 020 8925 8639 and we’ll help you with any enquiry.

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What are the pros and cons of bioethanol? ›

Pros and Cons Of Bioethanol Fires in the Home
  • No Smoke, Fumes, Or Fuss. Bioethanol only creates water vapor and a tiny bit of CO2 when it's burned, which means there isn't any soot, smell, or smoke. ...
  • No Mess. ...
  • Easy Installation. ...
  • Simple To Use. ...
  • Safety First. ...
  • Flammability. ...
  • Primary Heat Source. ...
  • Endurance.

Can bio ethanol fires be used indoors? ›

Are bioethanol fires safe indoors? Yes, you can buy specially-designed indoor bioethanol fires that are perfectly safe to use indoors. While bioethanol fires do produce carbon dioxide, this substance is only produced in small amounts and is a natural by-product of any real fire.

Are bioethanol fires worth it? ›

In comparison to the running costs of gas and wood burning fires, bio fuel fires are not expensive to run, and when compared with the operating costs of other fireplace types, bio fuel fires came out cheapest. However, the average running cost of any bioethanol fire can vary due to the 3 main factors of consumption.

Will a bioethanol fire heat a room? ›

Do bioethanol fires give off heat? Yes. The real flame provides a cosy atmosphere, but it also produces a comfortable toastiness for your room.

What is the problem with bioethanol? ›

A major problem with the production of bioethanol is the availability of raw materials, as it depends on the starch (60% bioethanol produced) and sugar (40%) content of the biomass employed.

How long will a Litre of bioethanol burn for? ›

Typically, 1 litre of bioethanol fuel burns for around 3.5 to 4 hours (with the shutter fully open). Closing the fuel box lid halfway increases the burn duration, but reduces the heat output and the flame size.

Do bioethanol fires give off carbon monoxide? ›

Bioethanol doesn't create carbon monoxide, a dangerous, poisonous, odourless gas. However, if you're worried, install a carbon monoxide alarm in the same room as your bioethanol fireplace to set your mind at rest.

Do bioethanol fireplaces smell? ›

It depends on the type of bioethanol fuel you choose. High-quality bioethanol doesn't have a strong ethanol smell during combustion at all. However, some cheap products may emit a mild paint-like odour.

Do ethanol fireplaces need to be vented? ›

If you love traditional fireplaces, an ethanol fireplace will give you the real flame ambiance you crave without the smoke, soot or odor associated with wood burning. Since they do not require a vent, they do not need to be installed into your home's structure.

Is bioethanol cheaper than electricity? ›

On the other hand, it's true that running costs for bio ethanol fires are higher than electricity, and you can't turn off the heat, so you'll only really want to light biofuel during the cooler months. Swings and roundabouts.

Do bioethanol fires crackle? ›

Ethanol flames are widely known for being playful and lively. They are truly stunning and even have a unique 'crackle' sound when they burn. They create that traditional fireplace feel without all the drawbacks of burning wood.

Are bioethanol fires better than electric? ›

Compared to an electric and gas fire, a bioethanol fire is slightly higher maintenance because you will be required to purchase suitable fuel for the fire, but on the other hand, the fumes produced by a bioethanol are negligible, so they are quite safe, and their other advantages easily make up for the extra ...

Can a TV go above a bioethanol fireplace? ›

Bioethanol is smoke-free

Bioethanol fuel doesn't create smoke, ash, or soot when burnt. This means a bioethanol fireplace under a TV poses no smoke risk to your equipment.

Why does my bioethanol fire smell? ›

The bad smell is usually given by unburned bioethanol vapors that are released into the environment, due to incomplete combustion. In this specific case the burner's quality and construction technology are very important. The burner must ensure a complete combustion of the vapors.

How do you extinguish a bioethanol fire? ›

Use a CO2, halon, or dry chemical extinguisher that is marked B, C, BC, or ABC. An alcohol-type or alcohol-resistant (ARF) foam may be used to effectively combat fuel ethanol fires.

What are the negative effects of ethanol? ›

Common side effects of ethanol include: Intoxication. Low blood pressure (hypotension) with flushing. Agitation.

Why are people against bioethanol? ›

Biogas is not sustainable

Burning manure-produced gas emits the same air contaminants as the combustion of fossil fuels. To make matters worse, the factory farms that produce the biomethane can emit harmful pollutants into the air and discharge nitrates into groundwater.

Are bioethanol fumes toxic? ›

In conclusion, bioethanol fuel is a safe fuel to use, especially when compared to standard gas burning fireplaces and woodburning fireplaces. It emits no smoke or particles, just trace amounts of carbon dioxide that are no threat to you or your family.

How expensive is it to run a ethanol fireplace? ›

Bioethanol Fuel Cost

A liter of bioethanol costs $11 and burns for around four hours, making it cost around $2.75 per hour to keep your bioethanol fireplace running. For comparison, natural gas costs around $0.50 per hour, and propane costs around $1.60 per hour.

What size bioethanol fire do I need? ›

A bioethanol fire which burns 0.5 litre bioethanol in one hour uses 800 g oxygen. Therefore it is recommended that you in a room of approx 80 m 3 are using a bio fireplace with a consumption of 0.5 litre bioethanol or less pr.

How do you store bioethanol fuel? ›

Always store bio-ethanol in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight and naked flames. We suggest storing it in garages and sheds, but make sure the fuel cannot be reached by children or pets.

How much heat do bioethanol fires give out? ›

How Much Heat Do Bioethanol Fires Give Off? In general, bioethanol fires produce around three kilowatt-hours of heat when the gauge is fully open. For some perspective on heat levels, an electric heater generates around two kilowatt-hours of heat, so a bioethanol fireplace will keep you suitably warm.

Can you roast marshmallows over an ethanol fire? ›

Choosing Your Fuel Type

So If you are looking for a fuel that is safe to roast marshmallows over and also has a nice looking flame, then your best bet will likely be an ethanol or alcohol based fuel that burns clean.

Do bioethanol fires set off smoke alarms? ›

High-quality bioethanol fuel burns cleanly, meaning it doesn't produce smoke, ash, soot, or any mess. So, as long as you use your bioethanol fireplace in line with our safety guidance, it won't produce smoke and — therefore — won't set off your smoke alarm.

Are bioethanol fires noisy? ›

While using a bioethanol fire one may be faced with difficulty in igniting the fire. The biofire could also make a noise while igniting and produce bad odour.

Can you add essential oils to bioethanol? ›

We only recommend using bioethanol fuel with an alcohol content of at least 96%, with no additives. Adding fragrance oil to your bioethanol fire could lead to unclean combustion, causing smoke or odours that could be harmful to inhale.

What are the disadvantages of ethanol energy? ›

The disadvantages of ethanol and other biofuels include the use of farmland for industrial corn and soy growth, rather than for food crops. Also, biofuels aren't meant for all vehicles, especially older vehicles. There is some resistance from the automotive industry when it comes to adding biofuels to the market.

What are the advantages of bioethanol? ›

Bioethanol is widely used to be mixed with gasoline, since combustion of the mixture has many benefits: It is renewable and reduces GHG emissions, by more than 71% compared to a fossil fuel. Reduces other pollutants emissions, improving air quality. It is biodegradable and has low toxicity.

What is the cost of bioethanol per litre? ›

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, raised the price of ethanol extracted from sugarcane juice to ₹ 63.45 per litre from the current ₹ 62.65 per litre for the supply year beginning December 2021.

What are the pros of burning ethanol? ›

Ethanol is a renewable fuel because it is produced from biomass. Ethanol also burns more cleanly and completely than gasoline or diesel fuel. Ethanol reduces greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions because the grain or other biomass used to make the ethanol absorbs carbon dioxide as it grows.

Do bioethanol fire pits give off heat? ›

Do Bioethanol Fire Pits Give Off Heat? Yes, Bioethanol fires produce real-burning flames that give off plenty of heat, making them an excellent alternative for traditional gas or wood fires for heating homes and gardens.

Can you put a bioethanol fire in a fireplace? ›

Absolutely. If you have an existing chimney but are concerned about burning fossil fuels, such as wood or coal, a bioethanol fireplace makes an excellent alternative heat source for your room.

How does bioethanol fireplace work? ›

Ethanol fireplaces work similarly to a candle. It burns alcohol-based ethanol fuel. You put fuel into the burner container and light it up with a long lighter. In many models, the size of the flame can be controlled by reducing the burner opening.

How do you clean bioethanol? ›

We suggest that you test any cleaning liquids on a part of the fire that is least visible. However, just some ordinary hot water and washing up liquid with a non-scratch scourer will suffice for the majority of cleaning needs.

Can you put out an ethanol fire with water? ›

Because ethanol is primarily alcohol, water will not extinguish an ethanol fire, nor will most types of foam. Alcohol-resistant foams (AR foams), such as AR-AFFF foam, are the best means of fighting ethanol fires.

Is bioethanol cheaper than electric? ›

On the other hand, it's true that running costs for bio ethanol fires are higher than electricity, and you can't turn off the heat, so you'll only really want to light biofuel during the cooler months. Swings and roundabouts.

What is the biggest problem for biofuels? ›

Large-scale deforestation of mature trees (which help remove CO2 through photosynthesis — much better than sugar cane or most other biofuel feedstock crops do) contributes to soil erosion, un-sustainable global warming atmospheric greenhouse gas levels, loss of habitat, and a reduction of valuable biodiversity (both on ...

What is a major problem with most biofuels? ›

1: Technical Challenges

Biofuels can be tricky, because they operate differently in cars than regular petroleum-based fuels do. Perhaps the most straightforward of biofuel's drawbacks is the most obvious: It isn't petroleum-based fuel, so it will operate differently in engines designed for petroleum-based fuel.

What is the main problem when using biofuel? ›

Many biofuel crops require large amounts of water for their cultivation, which is particularly harmful in areas where water is scarce. Experts cite the increased danger of spills of ethanol and vinhoto, a liquid byproduct of ethanol production used to fertilize and irrigate sugarcane plantations.

Is ethanol fireplace healthy? ›

In conclusion, bioethanol fuel is a safe fuel to use, especially when compared to standard gas burning fireplaces and woodburning fireplaces. It emits no smoke or particles, just trace amounts of carbon dioxide that are no threat to you or your family.

What are some problems with ethanol production? ›

Higher-ethanol blends still produce significant levels of air pollution, reduce fuel efficiency, jack up corn and other food prices, and have been treated with skepticism by some car manufacturers for the damage they do to engines. Growing corn to run our cars was a bad idea 10 years ago.

Is ethanol good for health? ›

Ethanol can lead to malnutrition, and can exert a direct toxicological effect due to its interference with hepatic metabolism and immunological functions. A causal effect has been observed between alcohol and various cancers.

What damage does ethanol do to the body? ›

Ethanol causes CNS depression leading to sedation, slurred speech, impaired judgment, uninhibited behavior, euphoria, and impaired sensory and motor skills. Continued increase in ethanol concentration and CNS depression leads to confusion, stupor, coma and, finally, death.

Is bioethanol eco friendly? ›

Environmental credentials: Bioethanol (methylated spirits) is a compelling alternative to fossil fuelled fires; it's both environmentally friendly and energy efficient, without the harmful greenhouse gas emissions associated with gas or wood fires.

Why is ethanol not environmentally friendly? ›

The research, which was funded in part by the National Wildlife Federation and U.S. Department of Energy, found that ethanol is likely at least 24% more carbon-intensive than gasoline due to emissions resulting from land use changes to grow corn, along with processing and combustion.


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