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Gadget Guy: FlameDisk

Published On: Jul 03 2008 02:21:11 AM CDT   Updated On: Jul 03 2008 02:21:54 AM CDT

FlameDiskRating: 4.5 out of 5Price: Around $5.00

So, you want to grill out for dinner tonight? You better go pour in some charcoal and light it now as it's going to be a while before the charcoal heats up. But what if you could get an instant heat like propane with the portability of charcoal?

You can with a new product called the FlameDisk. It's the brainchild of Chad Sorenson, a local inventor.

The disk is about the size of a pie pan and contains ethanol in a solid form. To begin, simply peel off the label, strike one of the matches that comes in the box and the fuel starts to burn.

You'll notice the flame go from a blue to nice yellow in a very short amount of time and you're ready to start cooking. The fuel inside will burn for up to 45 minutes.

Once it's done, you'll be left with an empty aluminum container. Simply toss it into the recycling bin with your other aluminum cans and you're done.

As for emissions, since you're cooking with ethanol, the main byproducts are water vapor and carbon dioxide. In fact, the inventors of this product wanted to see how it would stack up against charcoal, so they asked for an independent emissions test. Turns out the FlameDisk puts off ½ of 1 percent the emissions of charcoal.

The Upsides: There are a whole slew of positives with this one. First, think of the time savings over charcoal from waiting for it to heat up to the messy ash cleanup in the end. You don't have that with the FlameDisk. It's odorless, portable and doesn't take up a lot of space. Because it's based on corn, a renewable resource, it's better for the environment. It also puts off far fewer emissions than charcoal and is real easy to use. It also leaves a clean taste with no residue smell or taste of lighter fluid like you sometimes get with charcoal.

The Downside: The only real downside isn't really a downside at all. If you're looking for a true charcoal smell as you're grilling, you won't be getting it with the FlameDisk.

The Bottom Line: If you're looking for a way to combine the instant heat of propane with the portability of charcoal, look no further than the FlameDisk.

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