This is just something I've been working on, for a variety of reasons. One of the more pertinent reasons is I've building a car bag for my wife and I that are essentially the same and capable to sustain us and our 2 year should something happen. (This is not a "go bag;" more of a break down bag or stranded bag, if that makes sense. Anyways, the point isn't to serve primarily as a "what if terrorists attack" or "what if there's a civil war.")
Part of what I'm including in the bags is multiple ways to create fire; since these bags must serve the lowest common denominator, and in a potentially wet and cold situation, I wanted to a way to create fire, particularly for boiling water. I don't know about y'all, but I have misgivings about keeping an alcohol stove in the car, or an isobutane canister in the car, especially in the summer. So ... I wanted to try solid fuel.
I picked up esbit tabs, which seemed well suited (potentially) for what I'm intending. But I always test things. And here's my results...
Base: Emberlit Fireant
Cup: Solo 900 mL with 16 oz water
Ambient: 58F, wind up to 13MPH, 56% humidity, 29.8 in Hg
Control: trangia alcohol. Boil time from ignition: 11:30.
Test 1: 1 esbit tab (on Emberlit's fuel tab insert): burn time 15:27, max temp 183F
Test 2: 2 esbit tabs (burning together): boil time - 9:12; burn time - 17:09.
The last several minutes of burn time for Esbit is pretty pathetic, but I included it. Biggest "failure" was 1 tab was inadequate to boil water. Biggest success was burning two tabs in tandem resulted in a boil time faster than an alcohol stove, and also maintained that boil time for almost 6 minutes. The first tab was quite difficult to light - lighter wasn't doing it, but a match lit and laid a top did the trick just before burning out. The two tabs lit easily with the lighter. The trangia was lit with a ferro rod - convenient.
I'll keep looking for a good solid fuel. It is nice to know two will do the trick, and I think using them as a fire starter would work even better, if say wet wood had to be burned.