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How to make Mark Jurey’s Penny Alcohol Backpacking Stove using UK Heineken cans


Where it all began……

As a scout we were trusted with Trangia stoves, and several decades later it is still nice to roll over in your sleeping bag, drop a match into the meths burner and snooze as the first Assam of the day brews. 

I stumbled on home-made alcohol stoves a while back. At first I was looking for a way to reduce the load on cycle camping trips, but as I discovered different designs and possibilities, mainly through Zen Stoves, it almost became a hobby of its own. 

I tried Mark Jurey’s Penny Stove, a really efficient stove that is easy to make. It is an intriguing design that applies the principles of combustion, fluid mechanics and heat transfer to a recycled beer can. It has all the benefits of the pressurised stoves, without the dangers if it all goes wrong !

It uses a penny to pressurise the hot fuel /vapour inside the fuel cup, and priming fuel sits in an outer moat between the burner jets and side wall. If the stove gets too hot the penny simply lifts to relieve pressure.

However I found that Mark’s  design needed a bit of modification when using UK Heineken cans. The cans are made in Holland  so this  probably applies to  mainland Europe too.

The problem is that UK Heineken cans have a big embossed oval on the front face where the Heineken logo is printed. It seems the North American cans don’t have this embossing.

The North American cans allow the stove to be assembled with a push fit. In the UK we have to seal the joint between fuel cup and burner with hi-temp epoxy adhesive.

I also think that the height and spacing of the bands on the UK cans is different, so I needed to increase the height of the fuel cup sidewall to get efficient heat transfer down to the fuel below. An American penny is a 1 cent coin , a bit lighter than ours, but that doesn’t seem to make any difference to the operation of the stove.

Mark was interested in my findings and suggested a UK Penny Stove website, so here it is, sort of, using WordPress as an easy way to publish.

Please get in touch if you want to let me know what you think and your experiences of making and using the PennystoveUK.

Mark Jurey’s excellent website has a lot of FAQs  and experience from users. It is well worth having a look.

He has generously shared his  stove to recycle beer cans and help keep gas canisters out of landfills, and suggests that if you want to thank him to send a cheque to a wilderness preservation fund such as:

Sierra Club, P.O. Box 52968, Boulder, CO 80322-2968

or perhaps your favourite UK environmental group ?  Sustrans, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth  or Mountain Rescue

David Elder

Bristol    England    June 2007


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