By John Fenna
“Fire Dragon” has been developed as an environmentally friendly solid fuel that is “cleaner greener and safer”, easy to light, safe to carry and usable in confined spaces.
Made in Great Britain from a sustainable and natural biofuel (denatured ethanol plus a polymer solidifier, sodium stearate and bitrex taste aversion agent), the patented Fire Dragon fuel blocks come in sealed recyclable containers ,are non-toxic and odourless when burnt and give little soot.
The packaged fuel is easy to store and handle and is safe to pack with food items. It is even safe to carry on aircraft and can be used with various makes and types of cookers.
The blocks are easy to light with a fire steel, match or lighter (but not a flint and steel) and each block will burn for approx 8 minutes, or 2 blocks together for around 12 minutes. As the blocks will catch fire even after immersion in water and at low temperatures, they can be used in almost any weather conditions.
It is interesting to note that the blocks can be used as a hand sterilizer: clean your hands before doing the cooking!
In my tests I tried the Fire Dragon using a BCB Crusader cooking system on a warm damp morning with minimal breeze in a sheltered spot under some trees.
The blocks ignited very easily with sparks from a firesteel and burnt for approx 8 minutes, single, or around 12 minutes if I fitted 2 into the burner.
Individually, the Fire Dragon fuel blocks consistently failed to bring 0.5L of cold water to a rolling boil, but did get it very hot. Refuelling the cooker with a second block as soon as the fire was dead brought the water to a rolling boil after another 2 minutes.
Using 2 blocks in the cooker at one time had the 0.5L of cold water up to a rolling boil in about 5 minutes.
Whether or not the plastic Crusader cup lid was used seemed to make no difference to the boiling times.
A “control” using a single Green Heat Fire Gel sachet had 0.5L of cold water up to boiling in 12 minutes.
The advertised boil time in BCB’s publicity material is achieved with the NEW FireDragon Cooker which I didn’t use but will soon be on the market.
As the fuel liquefies as it burns there is no option for re-using half burnt blocks, though if you store the unused portion in a sealed poly bag, you could use 1.5 blocks at a time and keep the unused portion for future use.
When the fuel is liquefied it will solidify within a few minutes of the fuel being extinguished and can be re-ignited and/or scraped off and placed in a container (poly bag) for future use. This is a somewhat messy process but quite feasible.
It is quite easy to use water to douse an already burning block and even to blow it out and re-use the fuel!
The need for a spirited effort to blow out the fuel is a sign that it is burning well and blowing out similar alternative fuels also requires healthy lungs.
When burnt out the fuel leaves a tarry deposit in the cooker, but very little soot on your pan.
Overall I like this new clean, almost odourless, easy-lighting, environmentally friendly fuel, but I think the blocks could be larger to guarantee a brew per block.
Fire Dragon fuel is available in packs of 5 x 27g blocks for around £2.99.
For more information contact BCB international
Tel 029 2043 3700