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RE: [Distillers] Input needed.

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  • Giles
    ... Don t get me wrong here. I love the Charles 803, and I d love to own one if i could afford to build one. But surely its better to regulate the heat input
    Message 1 of 5 , May 31 3:12 PM
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      On 31 May 00, at 10:33, Robert Warren wrote:

      > it is far easier to control
      > steam flow into your reflux chamber than it is to
      > control the rate of boiling in a big pot, once it
      > starts to boil. Since you are using electricity
      > for your cooker, you have the same problems any
      > cook using an electric stove has, once you get up
      > to boiling temperature. The pot boils over, right?
      Don't get me wrong here. I love the Charles 803, and I'd love to own
      one if i could afford to build one.
      But surely its better to regulate the heat input than dissipate heat
      once its inside the still.
      I reduce the heat input to my 'old style' still to the bare minimum
      that acheives optimum performance and I insulate the whole
      apparatus except the condenser. This combination seems to
      control the temperature at the still head very effectively. I can
      understand the need to regulate the temperature in the reflux
      chamber with water if using say a wood fire to heat the wash, its
      the best solution and as accurate as the sensitivity of the valve can
      make it. If the heat source is electricity, however, at least that
      degree of control is acheivable using an electronic control circuit at
      the point where the energy enters the system. Result - less wasted
      energy and a very efficient still.
      (given that generating electricity is already highly *inefficient*)
    • DAVID REID
      Giles, In many ways I couldnt agree with you more. Insulation is very important and the improvement out of a properly insulated still is dramatic. This
      Message 2 of 5 , May 31 11:06 PM
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        Giles,
                  In many ways I couldnt agree with you more. Insulation is very important and the improvement out of a properly insulated still is dramatic. This includes not only the column but the boiler as well. The other factor that then enters into the problem is the need for very precise, even, and accurate control of the heat source.
        The problem here is that we are dealing with different problems. With home distillation for consumption purity is essential  and the cost of distillation on small batches is not so important whereas the opposite tends to be true for  ethanol that is produced for running a vehicle. ie. cost of production for a big batch is more important than a few points of purity.
        I nevertheless tend to agree with Robert who recently quoted  Dr Armory Lovins in regards to using electric heat who said "Using electricity to produce heat (via resistance) is like using bottled water to water your lawn". For the purpose of distilling  ethanol for  fuel the Charles 803 is a good budget still. Wood is a rather poor alternative as a heat source as it is not as easily controlled and needs to be carefully watched and monitored at all times and its only major advantages are its cheapness and its ready availability. Having a separate boiler is therefore a good solution. Gas is a much better heat source and is readily, quickly, and accurately controlled but like all heat sources you have to purchase it costs.
        I have had a good look at the plans for this still, believe I can improve it (although obviously at increased cost), and am working on that at present. Please see e-mail to Robert to come which I will put on both the distillers and biofuel n.gs.
        B.r.,  David    
         
         
        -----Original Message-----
        From: Giles <giles@...>
        To: Distillers@egroups.com <Distillers@egroups.com>
        Date: Thursday, June 01, 2000 6:48 PM
        Subject: RE: [Distillers] Input needed.

        >On 31 May 00, at 10:33, Robert Warren wrote:
        >
        >> it is far easier to control
        >> steam flow
        into your reflux chamber than it is to
        >> control the rate of boiling
        in a big pot, once it
        >> starts to boil. Since you are  using
        electricity
        >> for your cooker, you have the same problems
        any
        >> cook using an electric stove has, once you get up
        >> to
        boiling temperature. The pot boils over, right?
        >Don't get me wrong here.
        I love the Charles 803, and I'd love to own
        >one if i could afford to
        build one.
        >But surely its better to regulate the heat input than
        dissipate heat
        >once its inside the still.
        >I reduce the heat
        input to  my 'old style' still to the bare minimum
        >that acheives
        optimum performance and I insulate the whole
        >apparatus except the
        condenser. This combination seems to
        >control the temperature at the
        still head very effectively. I can
        >understand the need to regulate the
        temperature in the reflux
        >chamber with water if using say a wood fire to
        heat the wash, its
        >the best solution and as accurate as the sensitivity
        of the valve can
        >make it. If the heat source is electricity, however, at
        least that
        >degree of control is acheivable using an electronic control
        circuit at
        >the point where the energy enters the system. Result - less
        wasted
        >energy   and a very efficient still.
        >(given that
        generating electricity is already highly *inefficient*)
        >
        >------------------------------------------------------------------------
        >Scrap
        your search engine.
        >Inforocket.com is the fast way to the right answer -
        guaranteed.
        >
        href="http://click.egroups.com/1/4517/5/_/441693/_/959842120/">http://click.egroups.com/1/4517/5/_/441693/_/959842120/
        >------------------------------------------------------------------------
        >
        >
        >
      • Robert Warren
        ... From: DAVID REID To: Giles Sent: June 1, 2000 6:06:39 AM GMT Subject: Re: [Distillers] Input needed.
        Message 3 of 5 , Jun 1, 2000
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          ------Original Message------
          From: "DAVID REID" <nzag@...>
          To: "Giles" <giles@...>
          Sent: June 1, 2000 6:06:39 AM GMT
          Subject: Re: [Distillers] Input needed.

          Dear David, Giles, et al,
          The issue of insulation on the reflux column is
          indeed a design issue. I couldn't say
          categorically whether one should or shouldn't
          insulate. It really depends more on where you live
          and what time of year you are running your still.
          The very phenomenum of reflux happens because you
          are controlling the loss of heat at a controlled
          rate, ideally. You can control it by pulling the
          heat into the cooling water coils (conduction)--
          inside the reflux column (in the Charles 803
          still)-- as well as by losing it out the outside
          of the reflux column by having it radiate outward
          into space (convection and radiation: this is what
          all those of you with pot stills are doing). Now,
          if you are in a cold climate, or are running the
          still on a windy day, this changes everything and
          you would want to insulate. I did most of my
          distilling in the Sacramento Valley in Calif. in
          the summer when it was 90 to 100 everyday
          throughout the summer. So we wanted to get rid of
          as much heat as we could as we were after a high
          production rate with as little use of energy as we
          could, so we didn't want or need insulation. On
          cold winter days, we would move the still inside
          and wrap it with a fiberglass batt. If you want to
          heat with electricity, that is up to you, and it
          is easy to control with a thermostat, but only
          after it has started to boil. It is at that first
          moment when it starts to boil that it gets out of
          control, and I haven't seen an electrical
          thermostat that can respond fast enough to handle
          that. The automatic temperature valve I use
          responds instantly, and it can control a much
          larger stream of water if you are going for a
          larger still design.
          Now, you can also get a gas valve that controls
          the temperature fairly precicely, and maybe even
          for free. There is one on every gas water heater
          sold. They work great, but you have to adjust the
          temperature range, as you will likely want to set
          it for about 200 F, depending on the alcohol
          concentration of your wash or mash. Look at the
          tables on Tony's web site for these figures on the
          boiling temp of the mash.
          You would have to take a water heater valve apart
          to get it to go this high, or you can order one
          rated for higher BTU's. There is an interesting
          device called a flame switch, made by the
          RobertShaw Corp for only $25.00 US. It has a
          capillary tube for the sensor, and it can turn
          flame on and off at a high temp. There are two
          types. One type is for shutting off the gas when
          your pilot dies (low end, wrong type) and the
          other is designed for self-cleaning ovens (high
          temp) and I think it could be adapted to your
          purposes. I will try to get more specs on this
          devices, as it is hard to tell from my industrial
          catalogue if there is any adjustment setting. It
          has a simple series electrical switch, so you
          would need an electronic controlled gas valve, as
          well. You can get one of those for only about
          $40.00.
          Then all you need is the burner itself. You should
          be able to cannabalize a burner from a water
          heater or an old range from the junk yard.
          David, I will be reviewing some of your ideas for
          improving the Charles 803 very seriously, and get
          back to you. These are good points you raise and I
          need to think about this a bit and get back to
          you.
          Regards,
          Robert

          Giles,
          In many ways I couldnt agree with you more.
          Insulation is very important and the improvement
          out of a properly insulated still is dramatic.
          This includes not only the column but the boiler
          as well. The other factor that then enters into
          the problem is the need for very precise, even,
          and accurate control of the heat source.
          The problem here is that we are dealing with
          different problems. With home distillation for
          consumption purity is essential and the cost of
          distillation on small batches is not so important
          whereas the opposite tends to be true for ethanol
          that is produced for running a vehicle. ie. cost
          of production for a big batch is more important
          than a few points of purity.
          I nevertheless tend to agree with Robert who
          recently quoted Dr Armory Lovins in regards to
          using electric heat who said "Using electricity to
          produce heat (via resistance) is like using
          bottled water to water your lawn". For the purpose
          of distilling ethanol for fuel the Charles 803
          is a good budget still. Wood is a rather poor
          alternative as a heat source as it is not as
          easily controlled and needs to be carefully
          watched and monitored at all times and its only
          major advantages are its cheapness and its ready
          availability. Having a separate boiler is
          therefore a good solution. Gas is a much better
          heat source and is readily, quickly, and
          accurately controlled but like all heat sources
          you have to purchase it costs.
          I have had a good look at the plans for this
          still, believe I can improve it (although
          obviously at increased cost), and am working on
          that at present. Please see e-mail to Robert to
          come which I will put on both the distillers and
          biofuel n.gs.
          B.r., David


          -----Original Message-----
          From: Giles <giles@...>
          To: Distillers@egroups.com
          <Distillers@egroups.com>
          Date: Thursday, June 01, 2000 6:48 PM
          Subject: RE: [Distillers] Input needed.


          >On 31 May 00, at 10:33, Robert Warren wrote:
          >
          >> it is far easier to control
          >> steam flow into your reflux chamber than it is
          to
          >> control the rate of boiling in a big pot, once
          it
          >> starts to boil. Since you are using
          electricity
          >> for your cooker, you have the same problems any
          >> cook using an electric stove has, once you get
          up
          >> to boiling temperature. The pot boils over,
          right?
          >Don't get me wrong here. I love the Charles 803,
          and I'd love to own
          >one if i could afford to build one.
          >But surely its better to regulate the heat input
          than dissipate heat
          >once its inside the still.
          >I reduce the heat input to my 'old style' still
          to the bare minimum
          >that acheives optimum performance and I insulate
          the whole
          >apparatus except the condenser. This combination
          seems to
          >control the temperature at the still head very
          effectively. I can
          >understand the need to regulate the temperature
          in the reflux
          >chamber with water if using say a wood fire to
          heat the wash, its
          >the best solution and as accurate as the
          sensitivity of the valve can
          >make it. If the heat source is electricity,
          however, at least that
          >degree of control is acheivable using an
          electronic control circuit at
          >the point where the energy enters the system.
          Result - less wasted
          >energy and a very efficient still.
          >(given that generating electricity is already
          highly *inefficient*)
          >
          ---------------
          >

          ****************
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          ****************
          robertwarren@...

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