I have never done an alcohol burner so I have no idea but I would think so. In speaking with friends it seems that getting a meth burner to steam properly can also be a problem.
Here is a draft of the conversion I did
ACCUCRAFT C 18 CONVERSION TO RADIANT
The C 18 is currently set up as a convective boiler where the firebox and tubes are heated from the hot fumes from the ceramic burner. There is some conductive heating but that is absorbed by the stainless steel arch which deflects the heat back into the firebox. The ceramic burner is very small, less than one inch in width and uses a #4 jet which has a hole diameter of .010” which is sufficient. The arch design dates back to the first coal fired locomotive style boilers where brick arches were installed to keep the hot fumes in the firebox longer. The arch absorbed some of the radiant heat from the coal fire thus blocking it from the crown sheet but the net effect was better steaming. The current burner has a jet holder which has a length of about 1/2” past the jets which allows some air in with the butane gas but the majority of the mixture which goes through the burner is butane and the combustion occurs after the ceramic plate. To convert it to radiant, we need to extend the jet tube so we have at least a six to one length to diameter which will create a venturi situation causing more air to mix with the gas and have the combustion at the top of the plate. Below is the current burner on a test stand. The photo doesn’t pick up all of the blue flames but it does show the ceramic plate which is unchanged from its normal look.
Here is the same burner-and-jet with a longer jet holder Note how the ceramic plate is almost white hot and the orange flames are abundant.
And here it is in the boiler
The conversion can be done by a hobbyist with average skills. The tools needed are as follows:
1. Small Phillips screwdriver (high quality)
2. Propane torch and soft solder
3. Standard hacksaw blade – fine tooth
4. Small slot screw driver and pliers or small vice grip
The parts required are:
1. K&S 5/16” outside diameter brass tubing cut to 1.7” long
2. New Accucraft ceramic plate or cut one to fit from larger plate
3. Permatex high temp RTV (from Auto Stores)
4. Small sheet of metal to cover a 3/8” hole Burner removal Here is a drawing from Accucraft of the top view of the burner mounted in the frame. It shows the two front burner screws and the jet screws on the outside of the frame which need to be removed
To remove the burner, remove the two front screws and the horseshoe cap holding the jet tube down with two long screws. The curved tube jet holder needs to be removed by taking out the two screws on the outside of the frame. The lower half or the buffer is held in with a screw on each end and the shoulder bolt holding the tender connector needs to be removed also. The shoulder bolt has a very narrow slot so if you don’t have a driver to fit it, you can break it loose by grabbing it with a small vice grip or pliers and then removing it with a small screwdriver
The ceramic material is soft and glued into the box which makes it almost impossible to remove it without damaging it. It should be dug out with a screwdriver and the sides of the box cleaned with an Exacto knife or similar tool.
Inside the box you will see two studs which are soldered in to holes in the bottom of the box. You can see the bottom of them in the photo above. The one nearest to the jet needs to be desoldered in order to add the tube extension. The hole can be covered with a plug soldered in like this or just a small, thin plate soldered on top
The tube extension can be installed after the stud is removed. Cut a piece of K&S 5/16” outside tubing to 1.7” long. Coat the end with the high temp RTV and slide it into the tube till it is just to the air hole in the tube and is not covering it. A ¼” wide of strip brass can be bent and positioned as shown which evens the gas distribution by diverting some of it back toward the jet.
Once the box is converted like this, a new ceramic plate can be set in place and sealed around the top with RTV. Below is the original ceramic plate which was broken out and a piece of new material. The material should be cut slightly oversize on a band saw or by hand and then sanded to a perfect fit.
The arch removal was also documented if anyone is interested