With winter fast approaching, it’s that time of year to retrieve the thick coat, put a few logs on the fire and stay warm inside. Traditionally, our household fireplaces have been wood burners. However, there is now a modern alternative: bio fires.
In this article, we take a look at the benefits of biofuel, compare bio fires to standard fireplaces, and look further into what you need to know when buying a bio fireplace.
What is biofuel?
Biofuels are fuels produced directly or indirectly from organic material – biomass – including plant materials and animal waste.
Generally derived from agricultural crops (such as corn, palm, coconut and rapeseed), the process of creating biofuels involves:
- Breaking down the sugars and starches through various methods such as fermentation and chemical reactions.
- Refining those residual sugars into an alcohol or similar product that can be used for combustion.
Most of the biofuel in production is ethanol – the same ingredient that goes into our alcoholic drinks.
What does the biofuel get used for?
Bioenergy is mainly used in homes (80%), to a lesser extent in industry (18%), while liquid biofuels for transport still play a limited role (2%).
Why use biofuel instead of traditional energy sources?
When we burn any kind of fuel through combustion, carbon dioxide is released. From an environmental perspective, the source of this carbon dioxide is an important aspect to consider. The main difference between biofuel and fossil fuels is that fossil fuels give off carbon monoxide, whereas biofuel does not. We exhale carbon dioxide which is absorbed by plants, but fossil fuels burning and adding carbon monoxide into the environment is harmful.
Fossil fuels are made by compressing ancient biomass over long periods of time. These fuels are taken from deep underground, and the carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere upon use.
Unlike ‘fossil fuels’, biofuel is produced from plant matter that is made today. In theory, this means that rather than adding more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, we are simply repurposing it.
Why use bio fires instead of standard fires?
- No chimney is required because bio fires don’t produce smoke, ash or soot. Therefore it’s a much cleaner method of heating your home.
- If you burn gas (LPG or Natual gas) in a confined space such as a lounge room, you may become ill or potentially even die. Biofuel burning requires no venting as it’s not producing anything harmful.
- Due to the fact that no chimney is required, bio fires are cheap and easy to install.
- You have much more ability to regulate the size of flames.
- Bio fires can be used in controlled smoke zones where traditional fireplaces may not be allowed.
- Thanks to the added level of control, you can manage most bio fires with a mobile app or remote control.
How do bio fires work?
Bio fires only need three core ingredients to work: fuel, oxygen and ignition. To get your bio fire going, simply add fuel, light the fire and enjoy.
Our bio fires also come with a metal closing rod to regulate the amount of oxygen that the fire receives. More oxygen results in larger flames. To extinguish the fire, simply close the vent.
Keeping safe with bio fires
Here’s a few important things to keep in mind when using a bio fire:
- Do not add fuel while the fireplace is hot.
- Do not add fuel when there is a fire burning.
- Do not fill above the maximum level.
- Only use the accessories supplied with your purchase, as these parts are made to be used in a bio fire.
- Keep away from children.
For more safety information when using our bio fires, check out this page.
Stay warm in style this winter
Projections show that biofuel is going to become a much larger part of our lives as we move towards a more sustainable future. With many farms converting their production to energy crops such as sugarcane, there is a lot to be excited about.
Here at Naked Flame, we pride ourselves with being on the leading edge of bio fire products in New Zealand. If you would like to find out more about what makes bio fires so versatile or have any questions, feel free to contact us for more information.