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Yet another! air cooled still idea...

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  • watertrade2003
    Hi Folks, Every time I use my still I can t escape the guilt of using so much water. I do re-use my water on the garden but it always ends up water logged. I
    Message 1 of 7 , May 31, 2004
      Hi Folks,
      Every time I use my still I can't escape the guilt of using so much
      water. I do re-use my water on the garden but it always ends up
      water logged. I have built my still to be very water efficient but
      I still want to at least reduce how much water I'm using - I could
      set up a fancy recirculating system with pumps and car radiator
      etc... I know these setups work well for a few of our members but I
      don't like the idea of more pumps, hoses and doo-dads to get in the
      way. So I have thought up this idea - it probably will need some
      more designing... that's where I hope you can help!..

      Ok, look at the image I just posted to help to understand what I'm
      going on about. I have a basic VM still that works great -
      basically a 2" column with a 90 degree product take off arm hooked
      up to a gate valve and liebig condenser - above this ( on the
      column) I have a large reflux condenser sending reflux back onto the
      packing - what I propose is another condenser above the reflux
      condenser - this one will be made of a long length of copper tube
      possibly 3/4" twisted into a large coil, around this coil is
      structured copper mesh wrapped TIGHT around the tube and held in
      place with copper wire... basically I would blow air on this coil
      with a fan...
      To help explain how all this would work I will run through the
      basic operation...

      1: heat up still
      2:turn on water to Liebig and reflux condenser as per usual- with
      water running into Liebig first.
      3: stabilize and collect heads
      4:after the heads have been collected I will reduce the amount of
      water flow to the condensers- probably to a rate that I am able to
      collect product from the Liebig at a comfortable temperature.
      5: turn on the fan
      6: the reflux condenser is now receiving warm water from the liebig
      and so will let a large proportion of vapour pass into the lazy air
      condenser above – hopefully the warm water entering the reflux
      condenser would absorb yet more heat, maximizing the waters
      efficiency.
      7: The lazy condenser does its thing and I still get reflux without
      using so much water … just extra electricity??

      I can't really guess how much water I would save – or how big the
      top condenser would need to be… I just hope to would make a
      considerable difference to how much water I use at the end of the
      day.

      The only reason for keeping the reflux condenser is to ensure the
      dirty heads arn't spread through many meters of top condenser
      bluring the change between heads and main body...

      **One problem I can see is that the reflux falling onto the packing
      inside my reflux condenser would be heated by the rising vapour and
      re-vaouprize into the top `lazy' condenser. I ~could~ overcome this
      by returning liquid from the top condenser to the top of the packing
      in the column via a separate tube.... You follow??.. :) **

      Let me know what you think.

      Cheers Jim :)
    • watertrade2003
      The image is in the photos section -- Lazy Condenser/lazy air
      Message 2 of 7 , May 31, 2004
        The image is in the photos section --> Lazy Condenser/lazy air
      • abbababbaccc
        Don t know how much power you are running, but you can cool off up to ~1100W (1600W with water, uninsulated boiler, ambient cooling and 2 meters pipe) with
        Message 3 of 7 , May 31, 2004
          Don't know how much power you are running, but you can cool off up to
          ~1100W (1600W with water, uninsulated boiler, ambient cooling and 2
          meters pipe) with 22mm convector pipe. I once tried wrapping amphora
          mesh around copper pipe, but there was no notable difference in
          ambient cooling. Soldering the stuff in place might help.

          Greetz, Riku

          --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "watertrade2003" <james1@w...>
          wrote:
          > The image is in the photos section --> Lazy Condenser/lazy air
        • Robert N
          Hi Jim am I correct to assume what you are trying to do is increase the size of your top condenser so that it can cool the distillate vapour to a liquid state.
          Message 4 of 7 , Jun 1, 2004
            Hi Jim am I correct to assume what you are trying to do is increase the size
            of your top condenser so that it can cool the distillate vapour to a liquid
            state. Would I be correct to assume you have tried to slow down the water
            flow until vapour starts to emit from the top of your still? And you are
            finding that the water flow is still too great and is making you feel guilty
            because of the waste of water? (I know that feeling) As Riku alluded to in
            his reply to you, unless the new addition to the top of your still has fins
            soldered to the pipe, then the convection of heat that you desire will not
            work well at all.



            You didn’t mention how many watts you are feeding into this monster. Two
            things you have to consider is heat in equal’s heat out. The other thing we
            all neglect is that the quicker (higher wattage element) we boil a liquid in
            a still of the same design, the quicker the vapour speed up the tower will
            become. This in turn gives the vapour less contact time with the condenser;
            this then requires a greater differential in cooling water temperature for
            the condenser you have to work, hence higher water usage.



            I would see only two possible solutions to your challenge, make the original
            top condenser larger and longer, this will allow the water a longer length
            of pipe/time to interact with the vapour. And the other is to reduce the
            heat input to your still, which adds to the time taken the run the thing but
            you do end up with a better product.



            You could also try adding a radiator, either from an A/C unit or car and
            have the fan blow on it. (Been there done this.) Try having the radiator
            plumbed in between the Liebig and the top condenser or if this is not an
            option, you could try it before the Liebig condenser. This may just give the
            cooling water enough differential temperature to suit your needs.



            Having been down a similar path as this a couple of years ago, I have since
            played with 12 volt boat bilge pumps (they burn out and can't raise the
            water up high enough for my still) I then went for a pond pump, the high
            flow rate of this pump required me to bleed off the water flow to get the
            water through the condenser that was made of ¼” copper pipe, otherwise risk
            burning out this pump. I then decided to go for the shotgun condenser and
            3/4” diameter hose and fittings, as this is what the pump feed was. Hence
            there is hardly any restriction on the pump flow rate.



            Since building this new condenser 12 months ago, I don’t have a worry until
            the water in the 200lt plastic drum reaches 60C at which temperature I have
            found the pump cuts out…… experience has shown me that I can raise said body
            of water from 25C to 55C using a 2400 Watt element in 6 odd hours, an 1800
            watt element takes 8~10 hours. (I’m sure some one can come back with the
            maths to give us a more accurate time). Of course ambient temperature and
            heat loss plays some part in here as well.



            Jim I hope you can sort the water usage problem out, if you do decide on a
            similar route to what I have taken, then please email me, I will be glad to
            discuss this further over the pitfalls that I went through.



            Yours in spirit



            Robert



            _____

            From: watertrade2003 [mailto:james1@...]
            Sent: Monday, 31 May 2004 11:04 PM
            To: Distillers@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: [Distillers] Yet another! air cooled still idea...



            Hi Folks,
            Every time I use my still I can't escape the guilt of using so much
            water. SNIP So I have thought up this idea - it probably will need some
            more designing... that's where I hope you can help!..

            SNIP… You follow??.. :) **
            INSERT The image is in the photos section --> Lazy Condenser/lazy air


            Let me know what you think.

            Cheers Jim :)





            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • watertrade2003
            Hi Riku and Robert, Thank you both for your replies… *SNIP* Hi Jim am I correct to assume what you are trying to do is increase the size of your top
            Message 5 of 7 , Jun 1, 2004
              Hi Riku and Robert,
              Thank you both for your replies…

              *SNIP*> Hi Jim am I correct to assume what you are trying to do is
              increase the size of your top condenser so that it can cool the
              distillate vapour to a liquid state.*SNIP* --> kind of, its more
              like another condenser sitting on top of the column - so I could
              effectively stop using the reflux condenser by cutting the water
              flow down.

              In reply to both messages…
              I have tuned my current reflux condenser to run on very little water
              to the extent the wastewater runs very hot with no vapour escaping
              the column – I feel I have got as much as possible from just a
              standard condenser… (This very little water adds up over the space
              of a 10-hour run!) as for power input I couldn't really tell you how
              much energy I'm putting in as I'm probably one of the last dinosaurs
              still using gas. I did work it out a while ago but I have since
              forgotten – I run at `That' heat setting and collect at about 8 or 9
              ml a minute - I get very clean cuts and product – I could probably
              run a lot quicker and still get a good product I just haven't put it
              to the test. Since I figured out what I was aiming for I have never
              had any variation in the product.

              I have almost given in to the idea of pumping water through a car
              radiator into a storage tank etc – I even searched out a good pump
              (from a hydroponics supplier) that should do the trick – I just have
              a feeling there must be a better way!! A much more complicated….
              and probably more expensive way!! Just kidding… I think I will go
              with the longer length of pipe – using Riku's tests of 2 meters of
              convector pipe with water @1600w those figures sound pretty
              reasonable – I doubt I run at much higher than this anyway – Riku
              how was the convector pipes setup?? Horizontal, in a single
              length?

              What I'm imagining is lengths of 50cm convector pipe set up in some
              sort of gang that would receive vapour equally and of course work
              perfectly ;) – however… in reality I can see this would be very
              hard to arrange. I'm getting into the physical dynamics of vapour
              (chimney effects etc) which is beyond me at this stage….
              Although… if the vapour is diverted into a larger baffled chamber
              the vapour could then enter individual convector pipes at the same
              rate… Hmmmm I better go give this some more thought!!

              Thank you both for your feedback.. I will keep the group up to
              date with what I stumble across…

              Robert, I will probably, sooner or later be asking your advice on
              the pumping setup!! ;)

              If we are dealing with straight lengths of 22mm convector, there
              would be enough room to carefully insert rolled up pieces of amphora
              mesh into the pipe?

              Cheers
              Jim
            • watertrade2003
              Riku, I forgot that you have already been through this whole thing before... :) so can anyone help me find a local source to australia where I can find the
              Message 6 of 7 , Jun 1, 2004
                Riku,
                I forgot that you have already been through this whole thing
                before... :)

                so can anyone help me find a local source to australia where I can
                find the following type of product

                http://www.retherm.se/html/konvektorror.html

                Jim
              • abbababbaccc
                Yeah, it was set up as a potstill, 2 meters pipe going slightly downwards from the boiler. In a similar fashion you could set the pipe on slight upwards angle
                Message 7 of 7 , Jun 1, 2004
                  Yeah, it was set up as a potstill, 2 meters pipe going slightly
                  downwards from the boiler. In a similar fashion you could set the
                  pipe on slight upwards angle and cut it into two pieces (with proper
                  mass distribution) connected together in zig-zag pattern. Add a
                  support structure and you have a nice low ambient cooling condenser
                  on top of the column.

                  Or you can have it straight up and use a fan and a shroud to push air
                  through it (room permitting).

                  I found my pipe at a mobile home shop. They are used as heating
                  radiators inside the mobile home.

                  Good luck, and let us know what you build.

                  Greetz, Riku

                  --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "watertrade2003" <james1@w...>
                  wrote:
                  > a feeling there must be a better way!! A much more complicated….
                  > and probably more expensive way!! Just kidding… I think I will go
                  > with the longer length of pipe – using Riku's tests of 2 meters of
                  > convector pipe with water @1600w those figures sound pretty
                  > reasonable – I doubt I run at much higher than this anyway – Riku
                  > how was the convector pipes setup?? Horizontal, in a single
                  > length?
                  >
                  > What I'm imagining is lengths of 50cm convector pipe set up in some
                  > sort of gang that would receive vapour equally and of course work
                  > perfectly ;) – however… in reality I can see this would be very
                  > hard to arrange. I'm getting into the physical dynamics of vapour
                  > (chimney effects etc) which is beyond me at this stage….
                  > Although… if the vapour is diverted into a larger baffled chamber
                  > the vapour could then enter individual convector pipes at the same
                  > rate… Hmmmm I better go give this some more thought!!
                  >
                  > Thank you both for your feedback.. I will keep the group up to
                  > date with what I stumble across…
                  >
                  > Robert, I will probably, sooner or later be asking your advice on
                  > the pumping setup!! ;)
                  >
                  > If we are dealing with straight lengths of 22mm convector, there
                  > would be enough room to carefully insert rolled up pieces of
                  amphora
                  > mesh into the pipe?
                  >
                  > Cheers
                  > Jim
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