How works a bioethanol fireplace?

Along with the question of whether a biofireplace is dangerous, the question regarding how a biofireplace functions is ranked top among the questions we receive the most.

The answer is quite simple; A bio fireplace is a fireplace, which creates fire by burning bioethanol.

For some the simple answer isn't enough. Therefore, have we made this guide, to explain and illustrate how a the different types of bio fireplaces works.

The basics

The biggest difference when comparing a bio fireplace with a traditional fireplace and fireplaces that utilizes gas is that bio fireplaces combusts on bioethanol rather than traditional logs or gas. This also means that a bio fireplace does not need a chimney as it does not emit smoke and ashes like a traditional fireplace does which combusts on wood. 

On the other hand, the flames of a bio fireplace are completely clean, and require little, to no ventilation. Only if the room is smaller than 20m2 it might be necessary to open a window after some time. However, if the room sufficiently large then no problems should occur. 

Read more about our recommended room sizes in comparison with the size of the burners here.

Table biofireplace

Remote control for Planika Bio fireplaces

Manual or automatic bio fireplace?

If you're new to bio fireplaces, it can be hard to know if you should get a manual bio fireplace or an automatic. And whats the different?

When you burn bioethanol, then it is actually not the liquid as you burn, but the water vapor from the bioethanol. Therefor it is preferable to avoid direct contact between fire and liquid. This makes the combustion safer and extends the burning time on the bioethanol.

In the manual burners this problem is ousually solved by filling the burner with some non-combustible cotton wool, often called ceramics fibre. When then bioethanol is filled into the burner, the wetted bioethanol absords and at the same time makes it impossible to waste the bioethanol out of the burner - which is particularly effective in free-standing bio fireplaces, where dangerous situations are avoided if the bio fireplace crashes. 

In the automatic burners the bioethanol is stored in an extern firetank, and are first pumped into the bruner when its needed. In some high-end burners, such as Planikas automatic burners, there are used a very special technology called BEVTM which evaporates the bioethanol before it gets burned. 

However, the individual manufactures often have some unique methods and varieties of the above methods to provide safe burning of bioethanol and therefore this will only be a general outline of how manual and automatic burners work.

You can read more about the difference between manual and automatic bio fireplaces here.


As mentioned before, a bio fireplace burns bioethanol. But what is bioethanol actually?

Bioethanol is a spirit/alcohol, which are made of organic materials like potatoes, corn and roots. Often it will be produced on leftovers from the as stated before, after the foo industry has taken what they need.

There are many different types of bioethanol which are used for a large amount of different purposes. Some of the most prevalence places you will find bioethanol is in household liqour and in the gasoline that you fill up on the car.

The bioethanol as are used in bio fireplaces, are specially made for that. You may therefor not use other types of bioethanol in your bio fireplace. Because other types can burn in a different way and by a higher temperature, and not all fireplaces are made for that.

There are several factors that may play a role in choosing bioethanol for your bio fireplace. That's why we've created a guide specifically for choosing bioethanol for bio fireplaces. 

Bioethanol for bio fireplaces

How much heat does a biofireplace generate?


When the bio fireplace is ignited it will generate heat which can contribute to an increased temperature in the room. However, even though a bio fireplace creates heat, it does not develop as much heat as a traditional fireplace. In fact it generates about half the heat of what a traditional fireplaces does. Therefore, we do not recommend using a bio fireplace as the primary source of heat but instead a supplement - and to create a relaxed atmosphere. 

The heat output varies from bio fireplace to bio fireplace. Therefore, in every product descriptions we have added how much heat you can expect from the specific model. 

Burning time

How much time a bio fireplace can burn depends on the size of the burning chamber, but a burning chamber with a capacity of 1,5 liters will be able to burn approximately 4 hours in one filling. 

When the bio fireplace runs out of bioethanol, the flame will automatically be put out. If you wish to refill your bio fireplace and ignite it again, it is VERY IMPORTANT that you wait for you burner to cool before refilling the burning chamber with more bioethanol. Read more about how you fill a burning chamber with bioethanol here.

If you wish to put out you bio fireplace before all of the bioethanol has been consumed, it can be easily done with the enclosed extinguishing tool. Read more about how to put out a bio fireplace here.

How long time does a bio fireplace burn?