Alcohol for Stove Fuel

Our current solution for India for cooking stoves is an alcohol burner.

Gipfel Portable Alcohol Burner is light, leak-proof and very well built.  Importantly, we also chose this solution, because alcohol stoves provide a good balance between price and availability of fuels locally.

What Alcohol & Where to Buy:

So, what type of alcohol should be used and where could you find the same?

  • Denatured Alcohol
  • Pure Methanol
  • Pure Ethanol
  • Rubbing Alcohol


Denatured Alcohol, also known as methylated spirit, is ethanol with additives to make it unconsumable. Typical additives include isopropyl alcohol, acetone, methyl ethyl ketone, and methyl isobutyl ketone.

Where to buy: Medical stores, hardware store,


Pure ethanol burns best but is harder to find in India. You could get 99% ethanol, or from Industrial suppliers.

Where to buy: Industrial suppliers


Methanol burns well in an non-pressurised stove.  It will also work well at lower temperatures. However, the slightly toxic nature of the fumes needs to be considered for extended use. One could also consider creating a gel form out of Methanol to avoid it leaking.

Where to buy:


Rubbing alcohol is either isopropyl alcohol or ethanol-based liquids. Some form of it is also known as surgical spirit. Rubbing alcohol is less efficient than either of the above three alternatives.

Where to buy: Medical stores/Pharmacies


How much to Buy:

The amount of fuel requirement is subject to the efficiency of the fuel, altitudes, and temperatures.  Since, we are still experimenting with the efficiency of the fuels, we have seen anywhere from 90 ml per day requirement for a single person’s requirement to 45 ml, depending on whether it is Rubbing Alcohol to pure Methanol.

For now, we would recommend that you carry 200 ml for a day’s requirement for two people.

We will keep this blog updated on our findings.


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