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Re: [Distillers] Input needed.

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  • 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 1 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 2 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*)
        >
        ---------------
        >

        ****************
        * _\|/_
        * {@ @}
        OO-(_)-OOo--
        ****************
        robertwarren@...

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