7 posts in this topic

I'm starting up a distillery in California where running condenser cooling water to waste is a non-starter.  Our still is going to be powered by a 5 MBH (15 hp) boiler.  I'm assuming, just for the sake of argument, that we're running 24/7 and that 50 % of this heat makes it to the condenser where it has to be removed.  Chillers that can remove 2.5 MBH are expensive and use a lot of electrical power.  So I'm wondering, can I use a radiator type heat exchange to dump most of that heat to atmosphere?  My condenser has two stages so I could run a water loop from the first stage to the radiator to get rid of most of the heat and then connect a chiller to the second stage to get the condensate as cold as I want to.  Presumably this would allow me to run a much smaller chiller.

Has anyone tired this?  Is it worthwhile?

Thanks in advance.

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Since California isn't exactly cold, I would imagine sometimes your air could be as hot, or potentially hotter than the water you are trying to chill. These types of chillers do exist, and are often used in colder climates during the winter to offset demand, however you would need a very very large one if you have a smaller delta T. I would consider other ways to use the existing BTUs for other activities requiring heating, like warming water for your cooks or for the never ending cleaning. Buffer tanks work well to even out the demand on the chiller if you aren't running 24 hours a day.

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could use a closed loop heat exchanger to run to a cooling tower and "dump" the heated non-contact cooling water to ambient.  To get below ambient you could run through an adsorption chiller (http://yazakienergy.com/) .   This thing isn't cheap but cools uses heat as an energy source but may net out using less energy than brute force (compressed Freon) chillers with glycol loop and helps with ur green backstory.

could store this now chilled water in an insulated tank for your next condenser run in an A/B system....one active one being chilled for the next distillation run

could collect some of the non-contact cooling water out of the condensers for pre-heated water for the next mash

send me a PM and I can send you a drawing.....

 

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Admittedly, we're a tiny operation at the moment, but our location on a recreational waterway determines that we also can't discharge waste coolant. I built a closed-loop heat exchanger from a Harbor Freight shallow well pressure system, a 24" Harbor Freight fan, a shroud, and a BMW M3 radiator. Although our ambient may (depending on what part of California you''re in) be lower than yours, the system cools our potstill and both condensers on the column still. The column has a 5500W element, and the potstill burner supposedly can put out ~25,000W, although after boilup we drop it way back. Because the delta-T is lower, chilling wort is slower than I'd like.

I do have a modification ready to install that should increase our cooling capacity greatly. It's a couple of drip irrigation "misters" between the fan and the radiator, so I'll get all that phase-change energy from vaporizing the mist.

See it here.

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Email me privately at paul@distillery-equipment.com and I will tell you how to do it without a chiller and how to use all of the hot water that comes out of your condensers for all of the hot water needs around your distillery including mashing in.   Running a close loop chiller to chill hot water that you could be using is a huge waste of energy and money.

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I use a closed loop through a radiator for my dephlegmator. Works great! Now Im not trying to cool it down to under 100, more like 150, but I think that if you used it in addition to a chiller it could work well.

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Hi, I offer both large hybrid coolers and also dry circuit coolers (smaller size, 6 & 12 ton with circulating pump) which I use as winter coolers in Northern climates but could be set up as you describe.  I assume you have some type of reservoir to return medium temp water and then pump through chiller for the second stage and out to loads.

A couple photos.

Contact me for any other ideas you have.

RTG-603 Glycooler External photo  Fan removed.JPG

Distillery Chiller and Glycooler Circuit.jpg

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