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Continuous Still Development Ideas

Any sort that runs continuous. Examples are beer stripping stills that have a continuously, vodka stills fed from a beer stripper or any sort of spirit doubler, meaning continuously fed pot still.

Re: Continuous Still Development Ideas

Postby jake_leg » Tue Jan 15, 2013 5:00 pm

@ZG It looks very feasible for cleared wash.

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Re: Continuous Still Development Ideas

Postby Harry » Tue Jan 15, 2013 5:44 pm

@ZG

The problem I see is...when you feed wash through a top coil, it must be slow enough to not flood the column, yes?
This means uverheating of the wash. which results in vapor/liquid separation in the coil. Result = bubbles and vapor lock. Interrupted feed flow. Also not condensing all vapor arriving at the coil condenser. More problems.

If you speed up the beer feed to the coil, to condense all vapor and not overheat the beer feed (the coolant, remember), then you'll flood the column. Catch 22. There is a solution, but this requires a very special expensive condenser.
.


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Re: Continuous Still Development Ideas

Postby googe » Tue Jan 15, 2013 7:02 pm

Hi, i tried this ages ago cause i couldnt get the idea out of my head and needed to try it for piece of mind. Hope im not intruding on this thread, feel free to more or delette if it doesnt fit.
This is an extract from previous thread. "If i had a boiler of some sort that could be heated up dry, have the wash slowly dripping or running into it, like dripping water into a hot frypan. Creates vapour that runs through the normal stilling process."

The run went like this...

Was an interesting experience Did about 9L of TPW.
Heat up time, 5 minutes.
#1 - 125ml, burnt brown poo slight fores smell.
#2 - 125ml, 18% , using middle burner on 3 burner condensor flow flatout, very slow steady stream flow rate from fermenter into boiler, broken stream with little huffing, with strong tom flavor/smell.
#3 - 25%, more broken stream, tails dirty smell. smoothish taste.
#4 - 30%, slight tom smell, smooth and dry taste.
#5 - 30%, very faint tom smell, very smooth dry taste.
#6 - 50%, upped the flow rate from fermenter to boiler, all 3 burners going, more spirit smell, smooth and less dry, nice flavor.
#7 - 50%, very smooth and nice smell and flavor.
#8 - 50%, same as #7 with a bit more spirit bite.
#9 - 40%, 250ml, dryness back, smooth smell, slight tom smell.
#10 - 40%, same as 10.
Shut it down, to pissed and confused haha.

Would like to see someone with experience try this, so they can distinguish the cut smells. I have no idea where the fores where, only a slight smell in the first jar. Seems to be distilling in reverse, going from low % to higher.

Forgive my rantings in the vid, i was very green back then.

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Re: Continuous Still Development Ideas

Postby ZeroGee » Tue Jan 15, 2013 7:06 pm

Harry wrote:This means uverheating of the wash. which results in vapor/liquid separation in the coil. Result = bubbles and vapor lock. Interrupted feed flow. Also not condensing all vapor arriving at the coil condenser. More problems.
IIRC, vapor lock occurs on the low pressure side of the pump. The ambient temperature, cleared wash is being pushed through the coil under pressure. Further, my LM and VM stills use very little coolant through the condenser coil (the water comes out hot) with never a vapor lock even if I forget to turn it on and I lose vapor out the top.
Harry wrote:If you speed up the beer feed to the coil, to condense all vapor and not overheat the beer feed (the coolant, remember), then you'll flood the column. Catch 22. There is a solution, but this requires a very special expensive condenser.
If this is the case, then the gravity-fed injection will suffer as well, especially if the injector port is just above the packing, an area hotter than the top of the column. Add to that pre-heating of the wash and...

Edit: It may also be that the boiler heat is too high for the column.

In any case, this will be part of the test procedure. I did hear, however, that a similar design was being successfully run by some Yahoo folks.
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Re: Continuous Still Development Ideas

Postby airhill » Wed Jan 16, 2013 1:35 am

I have been away for a while, but if I may ask a question.
I can understand why someone would wish to run a very big wash so I can understand continuous, tails are not a problem heads however are. The end result of a very big wash is a relatively small amount of product with heads being a very small amount. Why is everyone trying to do it in one hit?
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Re: Continuous Still Development Ideas

Postby prairiepiss » Wed Jan 16, 2013 2:47 am

I run into a vapor lock situation with my still quite often. But it doesn't effect the operation. My condenser in my cm still is 8 foot of 1/4" in a 4" tall coil 2" I'D. To get good flow I have to turn the coolant flow down to a dribble. And when do. It creates air bubbles in the coolant stream. Luckily I have water flowing in all the time. And the air bubbles do nothing to effect operation. So I can see where this mite be a problem in this situation.

Now I have a question. How do you determine the feed flow rate? Do you figure it out by the takeoff rate and ABV you want. And the ABV of the wash?
So if you wanted say 2 lt and hour @ 50% ABV. And you had a wash of 10% ABV. You would need a flow of 10 lt an hour feeding the still. Correct? No wait. If it was a stripping still and you were collecting all that came off possibly?

But if we are talking heads and tails separation it would be more like 30 lt an hour. If you went with a 33% usable hearts cut. And 33% on both heads and tails. To get a takeoff speed of 1 lt an hour at 50% ABV.

Numbers were just for demonstration purposes. Not exact and would need to be changed to suit the wash in question.

At 30 lt an hour that's 500 ml a minute. That's not exactly slow drips is it?

Or am I missing something? The take off rate can't be more then the feed rate supplies.
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Re: Continuous Still Development Ideas

Postby aquavitae » Wed Jan 16, 2013 3:48 am

airhill wrote:I have been away for a while, but if I may ask a question.
I can understand why someone would wish to run a very big wash so I can understand continuous, tails are not a problem heads however are. The end result of a very big wash is a relatively small amount of product with heads being a very small amount. Why is everyone trying to do it in one hit?

For the sake of it :rkn:
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Re: Continuous Still Development Ideas

Postby manu de hanoi » Wed Jan 16, 2013 3:56 am

aquavitae wrote:
airhill wrote:I have been away for a while, but if I may ask a question.
I can understand why someone would wish to run a very big wash so I can understand continuous, tails are not a problem heads however are. The end result of a very big wash is a relatively small amount of product with heads being a very small amount. Why is everyone trying to do it in one hit?

For the sake of it :rkn:

lol and for saving time
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Re: Continuous Still Development Ideas

Postby Harry » Wed Jan 16, 2013 4:36 am

@PP
You cannot feed beer any faster than your power input can handle. Else you'll flood and dump the strip column and lose alcohol out the reboiler overflow.


I've run a few number below. These are not confirmed yet, but look close...

1kW generates 45.77 cu.in/sec. of vapor, either water, or ethanol, or any ratio combination of the two (M. Nixon).

Converting to metric, 45.77 / 0.0610237441 (cu.in to cc or ml)
= 750.04 cc/sec. of vapor
-------------------------------------------

2" columns:

2" columns require 1200W for perfect separation of beer.

Using 1200W input, they can generate 883.575 cc (or ml) of vapor per second @ 18" per second.

Proof workings...
883.575 - 750.04 = 133.535
100 x 133.535 / 750.04 = 17.8%

Therefore Max power input is 1000W x 117.8% = 1178W = 1.178kW = 1.2kW rounded

The vapor generated is 883.575 cc
-------------------------------------------------

Vapor to Liquid (condensing):
10 ml water vapourized occupies 17.01 L (according to the ideal gas equation)
Therefore 1 ml water vapourized occupies 1.701 L
and 1 x 883.575 / 1701
= 0.52 ml (cc) of water per second must be vaporized to fulfill the max. capabilities of the 2" separating column.
(remember water, or ethanol, or any ratio combination of the two.)
Assuming zero losses (for simplicity), this is also the amount of liquid that can be re-condensed per second.
-----------------------------------------------

What does all this mean?

It means that max operating conditions for separation using a 2" column are as follows...

At Power of 1.2kW (max input for separation)
liquid = 1872 ml per hour (0.52 x 3600 ) can be both vaporized and also recondensed.


In a constant strength beer feed system e.g. a continuous still,
then if the feed is ~12% ETOH, then the recovery rate is:
12% of 1872 ml per hour, which is 225 ml of pure ethanol (about 250 ml of 90/10)
which is less than 1 bottle of booze at drinkable strength per hour.

Yes I'm aware there are others reporting better return figures. I myself intend to run 2250W in a reboiler (nearly double) and see what the results are.
-------------------------------------

Conclusion:

Clearly this rate needs to be lifted considerably to make continuous distillation a viable proposition.
(Caveat: 20 - 24 bottles per day is a very tidy amount. So depends on your requirements.)

How can we do that? Bigger diameter columns and higher power plus higher feed rates. All areas for lots of experiments and
empirical processing tests.
---------------------------------------------------
.


Slainte!
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Re: Continuous Still Development Ideas

Postby airhill » Wed Jan 16, 2013 5:27 am

I have gone through this in my mind a number of times. There are 2x separations you need 2x energy sources and controls; I must admit there was a very smart person from probably the European community did this with one.
Small steps are easy, bigger steps are lots harder. :)
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Re: Continuous Still Development Ideas

Postby Harry » Wed Jan 16, 2013 7:00 am

airhill wrote:I have gone through this in my mind a number of times. There are 2x separations you need 2x energy sources and controls; I must admit there was a very smart person from probably the European community did this with one.
Small steps are easy, bigger steps are lots harder. :)




A coffey still is simply a tall column broken into two to avoid the associated height problems. Where's the difficulty understanding that?
Where's the need for 2x energy sources and controls? Do you need this on a single column?


coffey still layout.PNG
Coffey still is a re-arranged fractional column
.


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Re: Continuous Still Development Ideas

Postby ZeroGee » Wed Jan 16, 2013 9:16 am

airhill wrote:I have been away for a while, but if I may ask a question.
I can understand why someone would wish to run a very big wash so I can understand continuous, tails are not a problem heads however are. The end result of a very big wash is a relatively small amount of product with heads being a very small amount. Why is everyone trying to do it in one hit?
Good to see you back, airhill!

I thought a continuous stripper would be ideal for storing large ferments for later [dilution and] batch distillation without losing flavors. (I said this earlier.) Large distillers will try to save every minute and Watt to improve their bottom line. The continuous stripper design saves only a little time and money - I don't have to heat up a large quantity of wash at 5 kW all at once to heat a stripping run, then cut back to 1.25 kW to do the run. Then repeat until I finish the wash.
Harry wrote:You cannot feed beer any faster than your power input can handle. Else you'll flood and dump the strip column and lose alcohol out the reboiler overflow.

I've run a few number below. These are not confirmed yet, but look close...
I got the same numbers and agree that the feed rate has to match the heat and column diameter. The top and bottom thermometers on the continuous stripper will give quick feedback on the wash injection rate: over 78.4C on the takeoff arm means too little wash, under 78.4C means too much wash - give or take a few tenths; much under 99C at the boiler means too much wash, 100C means too little. (@PrairiePiss: take note)
Harry wrote:Conclusion:
Clearly this rate needs to be lifted considerably to make continuous distillation a viable proposition. ...How can we do that? Bigger diameter columns and higher power plus higher feed rates. All areas for lots of experiments and empirical processing tests.
Agreed! Whether Coffey still or stripper, the same numbers apply.
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Re: Continuous Still Development Ideas

Postby prairiepiss » Wed Jan 16, 2013 12:33 pm

Ok I'm with you guys. I think?

I guess I'm looking at it wrong. I was looking at it from a perspective that its to be a time saver. And maybe the still needs to be designed around the takeoff speed you would want. Wasn't really thinking along the lines of just making a current still into a continuous still. And living with the takeoff rate you get.

I have to admit. I see no need for a continuous still at the hobby level. Doesn't even interest me for a stripping still. But that doesn't mean I'm not curious on the theorys and operations of them. So I may ask some weird questions. And or make stupid statements. To get the answers I can understand.
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Re: Continuous Still Development Ideas

Postby airhill » Wed Jan 16, 2013 5:50 pm

I will have to look up Coffey still as I can't properly see that even blown up.
From what I can see the vapour simply moves from bottom to top on a series of trays rather like an industrial distilling plant.
When you draw ethanol from what I would assume is the correct temp tray you still have higher volatiles passing through it.
Has anyone done this in minature and got something drinkable out of it?
The other continuous still introduced the 1x separation (as a liquid) half way up the second packed column with a heads trap on top and it was driven by the heat of the long continuous boiler underneath, the 2x seperation. Now that made sense. :)
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Re: Continuous Still Development Ideas

Postby pintoshine » Wed Jan 16, 2013 7:26 pm

I had a chance to train some PHD's on operating a 8" beer still this summer at a research facility. The column was 20 ft tall located outside.
We were running 150 lbs/hour steam. The input feed rate was nearly 8 lpm and the ethanol came off at 150 to 170 proof at 800 ml per minute. The hardest part is balancing the takeoff pump for the spent stillage. The soft rubber impellers break down fairly fast. Those guys were having to put a new impeller in each run on the takeoff pump. They were using 90VDC variable speed pumps that I had set in a PID arrangement with the flow transmitters. I am planning on duplicating the system as a commercial offering but I am planning to use gear pumps instead of impeller pumps. VFD controls give a lot of speed range also.
So the 8" 14 tray is the smallest I have run to date.
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