Bioethanol Fireplace

How A Bioethanol Fireplace Works (With Example)

In Bioethanol Fireplaces by James O'KellyLeave a Comment

Bioethanol fireplaces are similar to many other types of fireplaces in that they use a real fire to provide the flames effects and heat output.

However, they can only burn one specific type of fuel and so are set up to work differently compared to other fireplaces.

Bioethanol fireplaces work by containing flames within the fuel box of the fireplace, where the bioethanol fuel is stored and used as fuel for the fire. A fire in a bioethanol fireplace can be manually or automatically lit and extinguished, depending on the type of fireplace.

Our own bioethanol fireplace is the manual type and so we need to manually refuel, light and put out a fire without any assistance from the fireplace.

Bioethanol Fireplace
Our bioethanol fireplace, which uses a real fire to burn bioethanol fuel and provide flames and heat

However, with automatic bioethanol fireplaces, this process can be done for you.

We explain in more detail below exactly how a bioethanol fireplace works, discussing both manual and automatic versions of these fireplaces, and using our own manual bioethanol fireplace as an example throughout.

How A Bioethanol Fireplace Works

A bioethanol fireplace works by using bioethanol fuel and a real fire to generate real flames and heat.

A bioethanol fireplace can achieve this by:

  • Using a fuel box to store the fuel inside the fireplace.
  • Burning bioethanol fuel, which is highly flammable and clean burning allowing for consistent flames and heat, and only releasing carbon dioxide and water vapor.
  • Providing flame effects by using a real fire to burn through the bioethanol fire.
  • Generating supplementary heat thanks to containing a real fire.

The type of bioethanol fireplace can influence how it works.

These include manual bioethanol fireplaces and automatic bioethanol fireplaces.

Manual bioethanol fireplaces don’t have any electronic assistance and require you to manually add the bio fuel, and light and put out the fire.

Automatic bioethanol fireplaces are electrical appliances and therefore required an electrical connection to work when installed. This allows for automatic refuelling and lighting and extinguishing of fires, controlled either by buttons on the fireplace or an accompanying remote or mobile app.

Our bioethanol fireplace is a manual version, meaning that we need to manually operate it.

Bioethanol Fireplace
Our own bioethanol fireplace needs to be manually operated to work

We explain how both manual and automatic bioethanol fireplaces work individually in more detail below.

How Manual Bioethanol Fireplaces Work

As manual bioethanol fireplaces don’t have any electronic assistance, they’re set up to work through manual operation.

Manual versions will typically have a fuel box that’s surround by the main unit of the fireplace.

For example, our fireplace has a fuel box unit that sits inside the main fireplace unit.

Bioethanol Fireplace
The fuel box that sits within the main fireplace unit
Bioethanol Fireplace
This fuel box is fully sealed on the sides and base to safely hold the fuel

It’s a stainless steel, double lined and fully welded fuel box with integrated moveable lid, to be in accordance with latest industry standards.

The fuel box sits into our fireplace as shown below.

Bioethanol Fireplace
The fuel box placed into our fireplace

The fuel box is where the fuel is stored, and the fire is contained.

To refuel our fireplace, we pour bioethanol fuel into this fuel box from the bottles that we buy.

Bioethanol Fireplace Refuelling
Pouring bioethanol fuel into our fireplace

The fuel is absorbed by the ceramic material that lines the inside of the fuel box.

Bioethanol Fireplace
Looking down into the fuel box of our fireplace. The fire is contained within the metal grate
Bioethanol Fireplace
The ceramic fibres within this fuel box absorb and hold the fuel to be used by the fire
Bioethanol Fireplace
The ceramic fibres that hold the bioethanol fuel

Our fireplace uses this ceramic material technology to helps ensure that all fuel is fully absorbed, creating a no spill fuel box.

Our owner’s manual explains:

The fuel boxes are designed to quickly absorb the fuel, preventing spillage if the fireplace is accidentally knocked.

Imagin Fires

However, it’s important that fuel isn’t added past the maximum capacity of the fireplace to help prevent spillages.

Bioethanol Fireplace
Fuel should only be added up the maximum capacity, here noted by the MAX text, to help prevent spillages

The fuel stored inside a manual bioethanol fireplace needs to be manually lit. We therefore use long matches (but any other long fire starter can be fine) to light our fireplace.

Bioethanol Fireplace
How we light out bioethanol fireplace

Directly lighting the fuel inside the fuel box of a bioethanol fireplace with a flame allows the fire to start inside the fireplace. The video below shows a demonstration of us lighting our bioethanol fireplace.

The fire in a bioethanol fireplace will keep burning until the fuel runs out.

Bioethanol Fireplace
The fire burns through the fuel to provide flames and heat

In manual models, you can’t typically refuel a fireplace without leaving it to cool down, and so there will be some down time between fires (see our main article on using a bioethanol fireplace for more information).

The fire can typically be extinguished manually. For our fireplace, we can close the lid on fuel box to starve the fire of oxygen and cause it go out.

Our fireplace came with a tool that allows us to close the lid without getting too close to the flames.

Bioethanol Fireplace
Manual bioethanol fireplaces can come with a closing tool to allow you to adjust the lid from a safer distance
Bioethanol Fireplace
We use our closing tool to put out our bioethanol fireplace fires by closing the lid to the fuel box

A fire from a bioethanol fireplace will also generate supplementary heat for the room. See our article on bioethanol fireplace heat output for more information.

How Automatic Bioethanol Fireplaces Work

Automatic bioethanol fireplaces work slightly differently to manual versions.

All the functions on the fireplace are electronically controlled and so using and refuelling an automatic bioethanol fireplace can be even easier.

Features that could be found on an automatic fireplace that may not be found on manual models can include:

  • Control panel with buttons/switched integrated directly into the fireplace
  • A remote control
  • Mobile app control
  • Safety sensors
  • Flame intensity settings
  • Automatic refuelling system

An automatic bioethanol fireplace works by:

  • Requiring an electrical connection to power the electronic features on the fireplace. Automatic models can typically come with power cables that can simply be plugged into a nearby electrical outlet, but some may need to be wired directly into the electrics.
  • Pressing the flame-on button on the fireplace or remote can start the flames.
  • In an automatic burner, it can be ethanol vapors that are being burnt, preventing a direct link between the fire and the fuel itself.
  • Flame intensity and therefore heat output can typically be adjusted using the controls.
  • The controls on an automatic bioethanol fireplace can also be used to extinguish a fire without the need to do it manually with a tool.
  • Refuelling can be done with an accompanying pump. The pump can move fuel from the fuel bottle to the fireplace, and automatically shut off when the fuel box is full to prevent overfilling.

The video below provides a great comparison between manual and automatic fireplaces discussing how they both work as we’ve detailed above.

Further Reading

How To Use A Bioethanol Fireplace

Pros & Cons Of Bioethanol Fireplaces

Bioethanol Fireplace Heat Output Explained

How Much A Bioethanol Fireplace Costs To Buy & Run

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