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Re: Distillation Time?

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  • abbababbaccc
    Few points to Harry s excellent post. 200 liters boilers are not unheard of in hobby circles, although the common sizes tend to be from 25 to 100 liters. Some
    Message 1 of 25 , Aug 1, 2006
      Few points to Harry's excellent post.

      200 liters boilers are not unheard of in hobby circles, although the
      common sizes tend to be from 25 to 100 liters. Some like to make more
      at one go. It's also beneficial to have some headspace in your
      boiler, especially if processing malt mashes. For a 25 liters malt
      mash you can very well use 50 liters or even 75 liters boiler and the
      foaming won't bother you much. This is especially usefull when doing
      quick stripping runs using high power.

      You can use several heating elements to achieve quick warmup and
      slower distillation matched to your column size.

      The 2" column is NOT the only choice we have. I know many examples of
      2.5" and 3" columns and even some 4" columns. The quality tends to
      suffer some as we go for larger columns, but there are ways to fix
      that as well. There's also the possibility of using multiple 2"
      column to handle increased vapor production.

      Cheers, Riku

      --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "Harry" <gnikomson2000@...>
      wrote:
      > 50 gallon boilers are getting a bit beyond hobby distilling. You'd
      > need something a good deal bigger than a 50mm (2") diameter column,
      > and a better heat source.
      >
      > There's a few basic principles you need to get your head around.
      > Bigger capacity boilers don't mean faster output. The output is
      > governed by the capacity of the COLUMN to process a given volume of
      > vapour. Sure, you can pour more vapour into the column, but you
      will
      > immediately suffer quality loss (less % alc) in the resulting
      > distillate.
      >
      > A given boiler size requires a certain amount of energy input to
      reach
      > boiling point, and to maintain that point. You could (in theory)
      boil
      > Sydney harbour if you had perfect (no loss) insulation, but putting
      > the resulting vapour up a 50mm column wouldn't work.
      >
      > For larger scale distilling, the design scenario goes like this:
      > Decide how much distillate you want to collect per hour (1, 2, 10
      > gallons, whatever).
      >
      > Then use calculations or computer software to construct a column
      that
      > will do just that.
      >
      > Then match a boiler and heat source that will supply the volume of
      > vapour necessary to feed the column.
      >
      > Then again use calcs or software to design a condenser/heat
      exchanger
      > system to liquefy the separated solvent vapour the column produces.
      >
      > See how the COLUMN is the pivotal element in all this? Not the
      boiler
      > size? Same is true for hobby stills, but far easier, because we
      > already know how much vapour a 50mm column can handle "efficiently"
      > (don't forget that word).
      >
      > A boiler with a max capacity of ~20 litres is easily a good
      > compromise. Much more (like your 50 gallons in one hit) and you
      run
      > into trouble with preventing heat losses, or it takes forever to
      boil,
      > or you pour in the heat and overdrive the column.
      >
      > Much less (like 5 litres) and you're forever boiling, emptying,
      > recharging the boiler, and the time stretches out. However a 5
      litre
      > charge 'will' make enough rocket fuel in one go for a 40oz bottle
      of
      > spirits. How much do you need to float your liver? Large
      > quantities 'always' makes authorities think "hah, commercial
      > operation!".
      >
      > So the onus is on you as to which way you want to jump, but the
      bottom
      > line is..."build a column to handle the desired production rate,
      then
      > match the other bits to the column's capacity.
      >
      >
      > Slainte!
      > regards Harry
      >
    • Allan DeGroot
      Don t use a voltage control. You are FAR better off using a cyclic switching control, basically a bi-metallic element operating a switch contact. Simply put,
      Message 2 of 25 , Aug 3, 2006
        Don't use a voltage control.

        You are FAR better off using a cyclic switching control, basically a
        bi-metallic element operating a switch contact.

        Simply put, you are better off switching the element on and off than
        running it at reduced voltage.

        AllanD


        --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "tyler_97355" <kd7enm@...>
        wrote:
        >
        > i'm distilling vodka. starting alcohol is atround 12%. It distills
        > around 60-75%. I have a picture of my still in the Photo area of
        this
        > site, or it was the distillers site. I have modified it a little
        > since the picture. It now has a water jacketed condenser onthe
        > outlet, instead of running a coil into a bucket of water. i also
        run
        > a 1500 watt water heater element, with no voltage control. that
        might
        > be part of the problem.
        >
        > -Tyler
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "PhilipWilson" <pgw@> wrote:
        > >
        > > I'm puzzled. Your column is acting as if it has less than
        > 3 "theoretical plate equivalents,"
        > > which is pretty hard to believe if all 5 feet are packed well
        with
        > scrubbers. Can you post a
        > > picture of your equipment? What %ABV are you getting after the
        > first gallon? What are you
        > > distilling?
        > >
        > > Other things being equal, if you add forced reflux with a
        condensor
        > on top of the column,
        > > you will get more TPEs, so better separation. But in your case,
        > it's probably worth figuring
        > > out why the column's performing so poorly without reflux first.
        > >
        > > Phil
        > >
        > >
        > > --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "tyler_97355" <kd7enm@>
        > wrote:
        > > >
        > > > My colum is 2" copper pipe 5 feet long with copper scrubbers as
        > > > packing. I get about 2 gallons of 60% in 3 hours after a 1 hour
        > warm-
        > > > up. i have no inside condenser to make the vapors reflux.
        > Essentially
        > > > its just a pot still with a long packed colum. Are you saying
        > that
        > > > even if i add a condenser inside to initiate reflux, i still
        > won't
        > > > have a good seperation of heads/tails? If so, how can i fix
        this?
        > > >
        > > > -Tyler
        > > >
        > > > --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "PhilipWilson" <pgw@>
        > wrote:
        > > > >
        > > > > Ignoring boil up time, 8 liters in 2.5 hours is 53.3ml /
        > minute, or
        > > > 42.1 grams per minute.
        > > > > LHV of ethanol is 204 calories/gram, so that's 8595
        > calories/min.
        > > > A Watt is 14.3 calories/
        > > > > minute, so you'd need 600W to produce ethanol at that rate.
        > Not
        > > > unreasonable.
        > > > >
        > > > > This only works if your column has enough theoretical plates
        to
        > > > produce 90% without
        > > > > forced reflux. The HETP calculator on homedistiller.org
        > estimates
        > > > that, at 600W, you need
        > > > > about half a meter of 2" column packed with scrubbers to get
        > there.
        > > > >
        > > > > Now, if you're trying to produce neutral spirits, you
        probably
        > > > won't be happy with a
        > > > > column like that, because it won't give good separation of
        > heads
        > > > and tails. For that, you
        > > > > want a design that can produce 95%+. You can get there
        > without
        > > > compromising takeoff
        > > > > rate by using a taller column and/or more efficient packing.
        > Or,
        > > > you can sacrifice takeoff
        > > > > rate and use induced reflux and/or reduced heat. The
        > compromise
        > > > that works best is for
        > > > > you to decide.
        > > > >
        > > > > For practical reasons, many here settle on a design with
        about
        > > > meter of 50mm column and
        > > > > good packing. Such a design can produce your 8 liters in
        2.5
        > > > hours at close to 95% with
        > > > > modest induced reflux. The quality might or might not be
        what
        > > > you're after, depending on
        > > > > the quality of the wash, carbon or other treatments, and your
        > > > personal taste. It works best
        > > > > to do heads collection at reduced heat and greater reflux.
        > > > >
        > > > > In any case, you should be able to do much better than a
        gallon
        > of
        > > > 93% in 14 hours.
        > > > > Conservatively, say an hour for boil up, two hours for column
        > > > equilibration, an hour to
        > > > > remove 250ml of foreshots/heads, and 4-6 hours to collect 95%
        > > > hearts and minimal tails.
        > > > > This assumes the meter of packing in a 50mm column. Folks
        here
        > can
        > > > help you get there,
        > > > > but you have to tell us more about your still design and
        > current
        > > > operating procedures.
        > > > >
        > > > > --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "cartierusm2004"
        > <htcustom@>
        > > > wrote:
        > > > > >
        > > > > > I've been re-reading nixon's book on distillation and it
        says
        > > > with the
        > > > > > reflux still you can get 8 liters, 90% purity in 2 1/2
        hours.
        > > > > > Uhhh..have I been doing something wrong. I get maybe a
        gallon
        > of
        > > > 93%
        > > > > > purity in like 14 hours and my boil up time is only 45
        > minutes. I
        > > > > > think though last time I ran my reflux still I noticed if I
        > ran
        > > > it hot
        > > > > > it came out with the same purity as if I ran it slow. Any
        > answers?
        > > > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > >
        >
      • Harry
        ... I m getting mighty tired of explaining to people why cyclic bi- metallic controls don t work in ethanol distilling. Anyone else care to run with the ball?
        Message 3 of 25 , Aug 4, 2006
          --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "Allan DeGroot" <adegroot@...>
          wrote:
          >
          > Don't use a voltage control.
          >
          > You are FAR better off using a cyclic switching control, basically a
          > bi-metallic element operating a switch contact.
          >
          > Simply put, you are better off switching the element on and off than
          > running it at reduced voltage.
          >
          > AllanD




          I'm getting mighty tired of explaining to people why cyclic bi-
          metallic controls don't work in ethanol distilling. Anyone else care
          to run with the ball? You know, collapse of distilling action in the
          column, time-lag, etc, etc. Point our friend in the right direction,
          please.


          Slainte!
          regards Harry
          Moderator
        • allan degroot
          [Moderator s Note] Long on theory (much of it incorrect), and obviously short on practice. Argumentative, confrontational, hmmm...I m beginning to smell
          Message 4 of 25 , Aug 4, 2006
            [Moderator's Note]

            Long on theory (much of it incorrect), and obviously short on practice. Argumentative, confrontational, hmmm...I'm beginning to smell "Troll".

            If you're interested in doing distilling right, then read and absorb http://homedistiller.org
            then do some research in the archives.

            If you just want to engage in cerebral gymnastics and confuse the hell out of distilling newbies, do it elsewhere. It ain't gonna happen on my watch.

            I will not accomodate you in a 'battle of wits', as I refuse to fight with an unarmed opponent.

            [End Note]



            Harry,

            I think that would depend on factors not discussed.

            I think the issue is non-technical people working with technical things,
            thermal mass and hysteresis can be used to cancel each other out.

            And the larger the boiler the smaller the effect of delay/hesteresis/lag

            You can also use multiple elements and have one powered full time.

            you may be moderator, but don't be condecending and call for someone else
            to discuss it, if you don't agree with me defend your position yourself.
            because frankly I don't care if you are "mightly tired or not"
            if you cannot defend your opinion yourself....

            My main point is that resistive heating elements aren't designed
            to be operated on varying voltage.
            I suspect that you are using a very crude thermostatic control
            (one adjustment?) the "huge money of $17 I spent on a controller
            I've used previously had THREE adjustments (High, Low and "swing")on it
            and could without much effort be adjusted to maintain temp with a 4degree
            (centigrade) swing.

            The other thing is that I strongly suspect that anyone who's had problems
            with a thermostatic control was likely trying to maintain TOO LOW a boiler temp
            trying to maintain temp in the boiler much below 200'F is IMCO pointless

            If you maintein a temp BELOW that of boiling water you won't need to do
            much more.

            If you had a collapasing vapor column I have no doubt of this.
            better to have too much heat in the boiler and use just a little more
            reflux cooling water than try to reduce the heat to an utter minimum.

            you are always going to loose heat as the vapor rises in the column (If
            nothing else from the increase in gravitational potential energy(LOL:)

            I have sucessfully used a simple "one adjustment" controller
            (that someone else installed on their homebuilt rig)
            and the only thing I needed to do to make it function predictably
            was to adjust it higher than the owner had been trying to operate it
            were you tryng to run your boiler at minimum temp?

            I'd really like you to "explain" yourself to understand what was going on.
            But frankly I don't automatically believe anyone's analysis until I've heard
            the whole story, I don't know you, but most people who've had a problem
            move on to some other method too soon without understanding why
            things didn't work as expected.

            My main thing against voltage control is that I doubt anyone out there is
            using inductive voltage control (a variac) and using a resistive method is
            wasting power
            by simply generating the heat somewhere else...

            It is inefficient. Inefficient commits the highest crime any engineer
            can imagine "Failure to be elegant" :)

            Lighten up!

            AllanD
          • stevolate
            Hi Allan If you had been reading old posts you would of found 105 posts alone about variac and 136 posts about triac. If you do a search on what you want
            Message 5 of 25 , Aug 4, 2006
              Hi Allan
              If you had been reading old posts you would of found 105 posts
              alone about variac and 136 posts about triac. If you do a search on
              what you want first, you will save giving miss information to a lot of
              people.
              Link below type in - triac or variac - This will give you plenty to read.
              Rather than stating "I doubt anyone out there is using inductive
              voltage control (a variac) and using a resistive method is wasting power"
              Just type in what you want in below link.
              http://tinyurl.com/qkz9p

              Happy drinking

              Stevo


              > My main thing against voltage control is that I doubt anyone out
              there is
              > using inductive voltage control (a variac) and using a resistive
              method is
              > wasting power
              > by simply generating the heat somewhere else...
              >
              > It is inefficient. Inefficient commits the highest crime any engineer
              > can imagine "Failure to be elegant" :)
              >
              > Lighten up!
              >
              > AllanD
              >
            • stevolate
              Hi Allan You can search distillers also and get another 250 results for triac and 104 for variac. Link below. http://tinyurl.com/h5nh4 Happy drinking Stevo
              Message 6 of 25 , Aug 4, 2006
                Hi Allan
                You can search distillers also and get another 250 results for
                triac and 104 for variac. Link below.
                http://tinyurl.com/h5nh4

                Happy drinking

                Stevo
              • Harry
                ... for ... You haven t seen all the other messages from it that were blocked. Trust me on this, Stevo. It s a troll. Don t feed it. Slainte! regards Harry
                Message 7 of 25 , Aug 4, 2006
                  --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "stevolate" <stevolate@...>
                  wrote:
                  >
                  > Hi Allan
                  > You can search distillers also and get another 250 results
                  for
                  > triac and 104 for variac. Link below.
                  > http://tinyurl.com/h5nh4
                  >
                  > Happy drinking
                  >
                  > Stevo
                  >


                  You haven't seen all the other messages from it that were blocked.
                  Trust me on this, Stevo. It's a troll. Don't feed it.

                  Slainte!
                  regards Harry
                • marquee.moon
                  In response to Harry s request a few post back to explain AGAIN why it s not good idea to use a bi-metalic switch. From one idiotic newbie to another, my way
                  Message 8 of 25 , Aug 11, 2006
                    In response to Harry's request a few post back to explain AGAIN why
                    it's not good idea to use a bi-metalic switch.

                    From one idiotic newbie to another, my way of imagining it-

                    A bi-metallic switch is what electric cookers use (at least, mine
                    does).
                    I put some pasta on to boil at maximum. It comes to the boil easily
                    and I turn it down to a lower setting for a simmer. It goes off the
                    boil totally, the pasta goes rubbery and tough and all sticks
                    together in a big clump. Then a few minutes later, it starts to boil
                    vigorously and the water spills all over the cooker. Then it switches
                    off again, and I'm left with lumps of tough pasta, swearing at the
                    messy cooker again.
                    My pasta pan has never achieved that cook-book "steady simmer", not
                    for want of trying. Its not achieved the simmer because the ring is
                    either full on or totally off. That's bi-metallic switches for you.
                    For the still to reach equilibrium, you need a steady simmer.

                    By the way, thank you to Harry & other experienced members here for
                    previously explaining this (and other things) many times, and
                    providing the resources for people like me to learn from. I raise a
                    glass to you all.
                  • Jan Wouter
                    Well, let me try to explain it in another way. Excuse me if my english is a bit off, since it is not my mother tongue. When you heat a liquid, it starts to
                    Message 9 of 25 , Aug 11, 2006
                      Well, let me try to explain it in another way. Excuse me if my english is a
                      bit off, since it is not my mother tongue.
                      When you heat a liquid, it starts to boil when it reaches its boiling point.
                      No matter how much energy you put into it, it will stay at the boiling
                      point. When your liquid is a mixture of alcohol and water the boliling point
                      will change when the alcohol evaporates from your liquid.
                      That means that the boiling point will rise in temperature.
                      There is no way you can adjust a bi-metalic switch (thermostat) to this,
                      because that will only switch between off or on, or boil or no boil.
                      That is why you need to adjust the amount of energy you add to your wash,
                      because that allows you to adjust the amount of vapour that is coming from
                      your wash.
                      That is what you can and want to control, and not the temperature.
                      I have been distilling for over a year now, and while it is still on mjy
                      wishlist, I still don't have/use a thermometer, but look at the process and
                      use my sense and senses.

                      Regards
                      Jan Wouter


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