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PeteB

"Greenest" distillery?

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PeteB    44

Dominic Roscrow who writes for Whisky Magazine and Malt Advocate, visited my distillery earlier this week.

He passed a comment that I have the only biodiesel powered still in the world.

Does anyone know of another one?

That got me thinking, do I have the "greenest" distillery in existence?

Any comments would be appreciated.

95 % of my energy comes from BIOFUEL made from WASTE fryer oil that I collect from a roadhouse next to my farm (renewable energy) and (minimal freight "food miles")

The other 5% energy is Hydro electricity (renewable)

I grow and harvest the grain within half a Km of my distillery (minimal freight)

I grow ryecorn, which unlike most other grains, requires very little fertiliser or irrigation.(avoiding contamination of waterways)

No insecticides or fungicides are used on the rye. (no chemical contamination)

I use minimum tillage and trash retention. (sustainable farming)(locking up carbon in soil)

Tractor and truck fuel is biodiesel from fryer.

Spent mash is fed to my livestock (minimal freight) (nutrient recycling)

I malt my own grain and use it "green". This saves a lot of energy because of no kilning.(reduced carbon emissions)

All cooling water is recycled or used for irrigation.(don't waste precious water)

All distillery water is captured on my farm. No government infrastructure.(no chemical additives, minimal pumping energy)

Waste heat capture and reuse is gradually being improved.

Except for my still and my tractor, most of my equipment is second hand. I believe it is generally accepted that most older second hand equipment has had its manufacturing carbon footprint already written off. (small carbon footprint)

My distillery is in an abandoned horse stable that needed very little modification.(small carbon footprint for construction)

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Pete, that's really impressive. I think you may have a winner there. How scalable is it?

As for other large-scale operations, I really love the idea of the algae bioreactor at Glenturret (literally, green!)... using the waste water and CO2. I also love the anerobic treatment of stillage-to-biogas production at Makers Mark. Of course, these can only recapture some of the energy output of the distillery, but go a long way to reduce emissions/waste. Sounds pretty "green" to me, on a large scale.

I'd love to hear what others around here are doing. I'm planning to make "going green" a major feature of my (future) distillery.

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PeteB    44

Chris, I think it will become more "green" as I scale up.

On a larger scale it would become economical to install an algal system to capture the CO2 I might build a small algal system one day soon to capture the CO2 from my malting just for the fun of it.

An anaerobic reactor would be easy enough to build to use the spent mash. The methane could easily be used in conjunction with the biodiesel burners. But I think feeding it to livestock is just as green. I have a heap of pig manure and straw bedding that I am about to spread on next year's rye crop .

On a larger scale heat reuse would be more efficient as well.

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PeteB    44

I think the Diageo Cameron Bridge distillery may take the gold on that.

If the competition was on tons of CO2 saved from the atmosphere they would probably beat me in a few seconds. But on a percentage of inputs vs. outputs they would be way below me. Just for a start some of their wheat is probably transported all the way from my neighbour here in Australia !

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PeteB    44

how are you cooling your process water to reuse it?

Some of the water from the condenser goes through a heat exchanger in the flu of the still and is boosted to almost 100oC and then stored in an insulated tank, the rest of it circulates back into 2 very large open tanks to cool.These old brick tanks used to supply stock water to the farm but are now unused for that system. Tanks are plumbed so hot water goes to the top of the first tank and cold comes out of bottom of next one.

At my current size heat buildup is no problem, if in the future I can't lose enough heat this way I might install an evaporative cooling tower.

---edit added-- Sometimes the warm cooling water is used in the washing stage of making biodiesel--

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Pete, I have been very impressed with your distillery as we have heard you describe it as you built it, and by your un-aged rye which I was privileged to try (and so were many of the members of the NY chapter of the US Bartenders Guild.)

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PeteB    44

Hi Jonathan, Thanks for that response.

Our government (Australia) was almost giving away photovoltaic solar systems last year but suddenly "pulled the plug" on them before I got one. With one of them on my roof I am sure my distillery would have had a negative carbon footprint. Although I believe it takes quite a few years to pay back the CO2 footprint that it took to manufacture the solar panels.

I don't know how easy it is for you to get hold of waste fryer oil, that is the easiest way to take a big step into the green zone. .

It does not need converting to biodiesel if you get the correct burner.

You may be able to design your boiler firebox so that it can take various burners depending what fuel you have available at the time.

I can run my hot water boiler with quite a range of oils or wood.

Looking at my post #5 above, I think I have a better way to compare how green a distillery is with respect to CO2 emissions.

Compare the Kg of fossel fuel CO2 released to produce a litre of alcohol.

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Quirk    1

Pete, can you explain the boiler system you're using that can use both waste oil and wood? I would love to have those options. A photo would be awesome if you have one.

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PeteB    44

Hi Quirk, I could take a photo but I haven't worked out how to upload it yet. Will get to it later.

The boiler was originally designed for a hydronic heating system fuelled with wood. It contains a mass of copper pipes to collect the heat. All I have done is lift out the grates that the logs normally sit on, and pulled out the ash draw and inserted a pressure jet burner. To run on wood again all I need to do is sit the grates back and swap the burner for the ash draw.

I haven't tried it but I could probably put some of the grates back and run both wood and oil at the same time.

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PeteB,

What you have done with your distillery is really cool.  I've considered building wood fired stills and or wood fired boilers for stills.  For a little while just before I started the distillery equipment business I had thought about building wood fired gasifiers that could run whole house gasoline generators.  I think that I would have been successful selling to preppers and people off of the grid.  Wood gas will run large gasoline generators at about 50% of there regular horse power and produce around 50% of the electricity that they are rated for.

Anyway, I'm curious if anyone thinks that wood fired boilers for distillery equipment would sell?  Would anyone be interested in something like that?  

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three cheers for wood fired hydronic boilers , in our country hydronic are very comon fired by wood wich is carbon neutral and round bale burners that are also carbon neutral . our wood fired boiler is 250 gallons and takes 4 foot long wood . heating the house the shop the distillery the mash tun and still kettles we get easy 12 hours of burn time from a fill of good seasoned wood  . the other huge saving is plumbing in the hydronic lines compared to runing steam lines . 

paul there is a good demand for wood boilers companies like homesteader from winkler manitoba have been around for years .

pete how hot do you run your hydronic water in your boiler when your still is operating . 

tim 

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paul years ago one of the OSB mills in hudson bay had 2 huge diesel elecetric generators that burned gas collected off of there waste wood incinerators they were made by deutz in germany ,, that mill is long since gone but to my knowledge both were sold off and are still in operation at a sawmill in kelvington . very cool stuff 

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ChrisSD    1

If you haven't already, check out the George Washington Distillery and Gristmill.  They distill twice a year and everything is wood fired.  And the history speaks for itself!!  

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PeteB    44
8 hours ago, Hudson bay distillers said:

........................

pete how hot do you run your hydronic water in your boiler when your still is operating . 

tim 

I run my boiler for mashing and general hot water, not for heating the still. Still is direct fired with used fryer oil.

The boiler runs anywhere from 70 deg C to steam at 105 deg C.  The output temperature is adjusted by varying the water flow into the boiler.  Set the temperature on a PID and this adjusts the flow. Slower flow = hotter water.

Boiler outlet is open to atmosphere so only pressure buildup is from friction in pipes to the mash tun.

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thats pretty neat pete our is set up quite different than that , next time im in Australia i ll have to come see you and check it out . have you ever considered an evaporation pond or evaporation tower to get rid of waste water . im looking for an alternative to a normal septic system .

tim  

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adamOVD    1
On 7/27/2017 at 6:47 AM, Southernhighlander said:

PeteB,

What you have done with your distillery is really cool.  I've considered building wood fired stills and or wood fired boilers for stills.  For a little while just before I started the distillery equipment business I had thought about building wood fired gasifiers that could run whole house gasoline generators.  I think that I would have been successful selling to preppers and people off of the grid.  Wood gas will run large gasoline generators at about 50% of there regular horse power and produce around 50% of the electricity that they are rated for.

Anyway, I'm curious if anyone thinks that wood fired boilers for distillery equipment would sell?  Would anyone be interested in something like that?  

Brandy Peak in Medford Oregon had two wood fired stills. Might be a source of info for you.

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Tim,

Your hydronic boiler method is really cool.  If you cut your own wood, or burn sawmill scrap I would have to say it must be the least expensive heat source for distilling.

 If a person used sawmill waste, end trim and slabs with in a hydronic boiler for heat and out of date donuts from donut shops for making the mash, the inputs would cost almost nothing.  I have a customer who makes fuel ethanol for his wife's car using that method.  He makes the diesel fual for his dodge truck from fryer grease that he gets from restaurants.  He purchased his still from me 6 or 7 years ago.  He wanted something really inexpensive, so we built him a still with a used 55 gallon stainless barrel and a 6" stainless packed reflux column from used stainless pipe with a tube and shell dephlegmator and tube and shell condenser.  We packed the column with small pieces of an old cracked ceramic sink that one of my employees donated.  I broke the sink up myself with a hammer gloves and safety goggles.  That still has been running E-85 ethanol for years now.   A lot of people turn their nose up at stuff like that, but building something from recycled stuff that costs almost nothing has always given me a good feeling.  We haven't built anything like that in years.  Everyone thing we sell now is pretty and shiny.

 

 

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Adam,

What I want to do is more complicated than direct firing a still with wood. My Grandfather ran wood fired stills for years, but he switched to propane in the 1950s. His stills were indirectly fired with wood and propane.  It's very hard to control the heat with a wood fired still.  It takes a lot of finesse which is only learned through experience.  Also, to be safe, an old fashioned wood fired still would need to be ran outside.

 My idea is to create steam with a wood gas (syngas) fired low pressure steam boiler, using a wood gasifier to fire the boiler.  This boiler would be a low pressure steam boiler and not a hydronic hot water boiler.  It should be relatively easy to convert a natural gas or propane steam boiler to syngas. 

  My other idea would be to direct fire a still with a wood gas jet burner.  The wood gasifier would be outside the building with plumbing that would feed the wood gas to the burner, to directly fire the still.   syngas burns much cleaner than burning strait wood and it would be much easier to control the heat with a jet burner than with an old fashioned wood firebox and my way would be much safer with the gasifier being outside.  There's a guy that runs his Dodge Dakota using a wood gasifier that sits in the bed. The Dodge V8 gets around 3000 miles to the cord, if I remember correctly.  The motor only puts out 50% of the HP that it would put out with gasoline, but the old truck has been clocked at a little over 70 mph topped out.  I love to think outside of the box.   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wood_gas

 

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PeteB    44
14 hours ago, Hudson bay distillers said:

........... have you ever considered an evaporation pond or evaporation tower to get rid of waste water . im looking for an alternative to a normal septic system .

tim  

I have a farm and plenty of grass that gets irrigated with "waste" water. Occasionally adjust the pH with some lime. The pot ale and washdown water also contains a lot of nutrients that get into the soil. I am in a low rainfall area and in the summer the waste water provides the only green feed for my sheep.

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We are talking both clean and cheap.  Wood gas is not "a polluting and wasteful energy source".  The combustion of wood gas generates no particulates. Wood gas burns much cleaner than gasoline. The efficiency rating for the energy extracted from the wood is around 75%, which is much higher than burning strait wood,  Emission levels less than 20 ppm HC and 0.2% CO are attained from wood gas.    The potash solids which are left in the gasifier can be used for, or sold as fertilizer. Just to be clear, the given efficiency rating is for the conversion of the energy in the wood.  The gas itself has an efficiency rating of almost 100%.  

I'm an outside of the box thinker and I do my best to think my ideas through completely.  For example, when I started my distillery equipment business, I decided to do it in a very unique way.  I wanted to start the business without any investor money, without any dept and without any of my own money.  I started my distillery equipment business with no money at all from me, the bank or anyone else.  Affordable Distillery Equipment grossed over $4,000,000.00 last year and I started the business a lttle over 5 years ago.  I am able to sell my equipment at a better price than all of my competitors (when comparing apples to apples), because I have very low overhead and operating costs.  Unlike it's competitors, ADE has no loan payments,  no rent or lease payments and my real estate tax is less than $200.00 per year.  All of my 12,000 square feet of shop and warehouse space is completely paid for, as is all of my production and office equipment.  There are several other ways that I keep my overhead down, that I won't mention, because they are proprietory.  Also, being successful in business has a lot to do with having advantages over your competitors.  My outside of the box thinking has given ADE several other advantages, over all of our competitors, that I will not go into.  Of course our quality and customer service gives us the biggest advantage,

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i dont think wood is a pollutant or wasteful , the particles in wood smoke settle as fertiliser and burning wood is carbon neutral because the tree uses more carbon to grow than it producers when burnt , as far as it being wasteful wood is a renewable resource utilising it is a natural cycle of a forest .

paul your idea is really cool i hope you pursue it and perfect it , can the gas produced be stored or must it be used immediately  after its produced . if the system was able to be ran 24/7 producing and storing the gas making it available for peak times that would be one sweet unit . 

tim  

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Tim,

I hope to perfect it.  I'm considering the use of a wood gas fired low pressure steam boiler for my own distillery.  This method may not be the best for all distilleries, but it is great for those of us that are in rural areas.

It can be compressed and stored but the process for compressing and storing it must be well thought out to be safe.  

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