Nubie needs much advice...Gas fired distilling
- In a message dated 6/3/02 6:33:36 AM Pacific Daylight Time,
<< after tossing the first and last 4 oz. >>
Hi Joel, Don't toss it too far, you can add it to the next run. There's
always some ethanol in there and ya don't want to waste that. Adds up to be
alot over time.
This is how I run my gas fired no-named cooling tubes thru the column reflux
Hook up to the burner and open the valve on the LP tank smelling for leaks.
Hook up and test the water connections. All things on and secure? Turn on the
heat (I write in the notes "FLAME ON!") and check the clock. Don't have flame
rolling up the sides of the boiler - wastes gas and tempts fate. When boiler
starts making bumping sounds back off heat a little. When first thermometer
zooms up in 20 - 30 mins with 12 -14 L/qts in boiler (usually to around 180F)
turn flame completely off and let temp drop to 160F -165F. This helps
equalize reflux. Relight flame and set low (no bumping!), turn on water to
2-4 L/qts per min. and watch first temp rise and stabilize at 170F. Too high?
reduce flame. Not getting there? reduce water flow a little. Still not there?
ok, turn up the heat. But just a little. Watch head temp rise slowly, takes a
minute or two, from nothing to 70+C. I didn't memorize the conversion form C
to F and visa versa, so bear with this. My first thermometer (on the column
above first reflux cooling tube) is F and the head is C. The first distillate
will show around 75C and come out fast then slow to a drippy trickle. Hold
your ground and if all is set correctly, the heads and methanol will run
their course and the head temp will drop and the distillate flow will stop.
This is good. Decrease the water flow if you can afford it (this is where the
modification comes in), that is to say - you must have enough flow to
condense the distillate. Otherwise turn the heat up just a very little bit.
The head temp will rise and stabilize at 78C (give or take a percentage) and
the ethanol will start running. I don't change jars just yet, taking a little
more to clear the tubes. After changing jars, you can take distillate faster
by slowing the water (first choice if possible) or turning heat up a little.
Give it a couple minutes (watch the clock!) before making any other
adjustments. The end is near when the first temp starts rising and the
distillate slows. At one L/qt per hour (+/-) of ethanol flow, what your wash
abv is will determine how long this takes. I squeeze out the last of the
ethanol by pushing the temp up the column. This is done by slowing the water
or raising the heat. When the head gets to 79C I shut it down. All done! If
you leave all the settings alone, at a calm and gentle flow thruout the run,
the head temp will drop by itself - but some ethanol will be left in the
column and orphan ethanol is a sad, sad child.
It took many runs to figure this out but so far this is the best under the
circumstances. The modification I spoke earlier of allows for constant
waterjacket cooling with separate adjustment for reflux. You can figure that
out, I'm sure, and tell/show us what you come up with.
I have SS scrubbers in the bottom of my boiler held down with marbles to
equalize the heat across the bottom and stop the bumping. Stretch out the
scrubbers so they lay flat and low. Quiet as a gentle rain.
Hope this helps you and anyone else with this type of setup. I might have
left something out but, man, I don't know right off what it would be.
Probably the finesse, the touch, that varies between every still and that
each person has to feel for themselves. Time and experience is the best