kansftb

Steam Generator Option

17 posts in this topic

Hello all, 

We are purchasing some equipment to run our 300L Hoga still.  We are also bootstrapping so a full setup of a 10-15hp boiler is going to kill our budget (unless we go back out for funding).

I have seen in previous forum discussions that a 12kW Steam Generator would work to heat our still in a pretty standard and fairly decent time frame - this obviously isn't a long term solution but I wanted to get an opinion on feasibility, especially for that first year or so of running the still.  (FYI - we are getting our mash from a local brewery so no HLT or Mash tun considerations here).  Appreciate any input around this.

Cheers!

Alex

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@Silk City Distillers that's a great link for small steam boilers. With respect to a tiny budget, the steam generator (think sauna heating) is very cheap. Unfortunately there's a world of difference in operation, safety and compliance requirements between the two.

The boiler can run all day, needs to be installed by a certified individual, is a registered pressure vessel therefore costs more.

The steam generator typically has a cut-off timer, for example it can only run for 60minutes continuously before it shuts down. Has a lower operating pressure, is not a registered pressure vessel. And an 18kW can be had for as little as $AU900 plus delivery and taxes.

 

@kansftbmy real concern with your post is your bootstrapping budget, it can be done but a reality check is needed. Hoga have no idea about the requirements for hazardous area compliance in your region, that's your job. As such, I suspect hazardous area compliance will blow your budget before you get started.

With that in mind, start your talks with your local Fire Marshall and regulatory authorities before committing any funds. You may find the exercise to be far more expensive than you ever anticipated.

 

Cheers,

 

Mech.

 

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Hey guys thanks for your reply:

@Silk City Distillers  yes something like the ES-12 was what I was looking at.  At this point the 15HP boiler is going to be our long game after we get up and running.  The original post I referenced (below) started to make me think.  And I really wanted to see if its actually feasible from a production stand point as a 1-2 year solution (thoughts?) - sounds like its doable? 

http://adiforums.com/index.php?/topic/5856-steam-heating-a-hoga-still/#comment-33510

We are in "just start making stuff" mode.  Some large investors like our product and branding but want to see some 'market traction' so here we are now just pushing hard to get up and running as quickly as possible.  

@TheMechWarrior thanks for the input - I'm going to run some of those considerations by our plumber/building owner.  The area we are setting up in is zoned for any industrial use and everything we've run by the city so far is permitted - but I'll be sure to see what any hazardous material considerations there might be - my guess is not many based on talking to other brewers/distillers already running in our area.

One other option a brewer ran by me was a fire box (open flame setup) - but that worries more for compliance given the nature of flammable liquids/vapors - not sure how many other distilleries are using open flame but personally I'm wary.

Cheers!

Alex

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A very short talk with your fire marshall will set you straight pretty quick I expect. Just forget the exposed flame option. See Silver Trails Distillery for what comes of exposed flames inside a distillery.

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2 hours ago, TheMechWarrior said:

Just forget the exposed flame option. See Silver Trails Distillery for what comes of exposed flames inside a distillery.

You might want to read into the report of what actually happened.  Open flame didn't cause it.

https://thewhiskeywash.com/whiskey-styles/american-whiskey/silver-trail-distillery-explosion-investigation-findings-released/

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@Skaalvenn, how does your Fire Marshall feel about an ignition source that close to your still? I'm not 100% with the hazardous area classification (HAC) systems in the USA.

In Australia and New Zealand we are governed by the Workplace Health and Safety act (the law) and secondly Australian and New Zealand Standards AS/NZS 60079 - explosive atmospheres.

Firstly, the Australian Standards are not law however IN OUR CASE THEY ARE.

Why? Well, when a law such as the  Workplace Health and Safety act references an Australian Standard that standard now becomes law.

Essentially for us we can't have an ignition source within the hazardous area classification zone. A flame under a still for example falls into that area.

All electricals within and above the hazardous zone must comply with the AS/NZS 60079. Basically much like the ATEX (American) standards we need to comply with IECEx (European) for all of our electricals. For example a standard incandescent light bulb above your distilling area is not acceptable.

All electrical work carried out must be done by a HAC certified electrician, all work must be reported to Work Safe in your state and Work Safe reserve the right to inspect your installation prior to you being allowed to energise your project. 

AS/NZS 60079 - Explosive atmospheres, covers off much of the building layout, design, installation, assessment and controls of explosive atmospheres. Which they say is any flammable liquid or vapour (Hazardous Chemical - see https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au). A flammable liquid and in our case a hazardous chemical is anything at or above 20%abv or 40%proof.

In addition to these standards there are standards regarding the design of pressure vessels and the venting of pressure vessels etc.

Just like in the Silver Trails incident, just because standards exist....it doesn't mean that every distillery built is going to comply with them. It all comes down to the knowledge of the approving authorities, the design architects and engineers, the distillery CEO and the rest of the team involved. All of which costs a lot of money if you are going to get it right, compliance is not cheap.

Non-compliance is ultimately more expensive in the long run if you blow-up your distillery and kill people. Or if your lucky and that doesn't happen, Work Safe/Safe Work Australia walk in and immediately shut you down or slap you with a 14days to comply notice.

The purpose of my rant? "Bootstrap budget" and "Distillery" are ALMOST at polar opposites to each other. If this is the path you wish to take then seek a great deal of counsel before hand and make sure you are 100% aware of the requirements under your laws before you spend a single cent. It's much cheaper to design compliance into your plan than to retrospectively plan to comply.

 

Cheers,

 

Mech.

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I wasn't replying in hopes for a lecture about safety.  Just pointing out that the distillery you mentioned didn't blow up due to an ignition source.  The still itself blew up from over pressurization due to a couple terrible design flaws, and possibly operator error as well.  I think ignition with that magnitude of an accident is basically inevitable.

You can't say "this is what happens if you have an open ignition" and then cite an accident which was not caused by open ignition.

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Let me correct my Silver Trails reference then: "See Silver Trails Distillery for what comes of neglecting laws and standards inside a distillery."

 

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I don't think that the rupture of the still at silver trail was the direct cause of an explosion, so great that it blew the distillery apart.  That still was built from thin copper soldered  together.  It is my understanding that it had ruptured before and they had it repaired.  Having a tiny 4" packed reflux column on such a large still is a really bad idea, because it is easy to over fire it and build pressure. Being that it was thin copper and soldered, experience tells me that it probably ruptured at less than 20 psi.  A vessel rupturing at 18 psi will not by itself cause a huge explosion and fire.  If the still had high proof GNS in it and the rupture caused the GNS to spill on to the flame of the propane fire, that would cause an explosion.  Also the owner said that there was burning mash all over the walls.  Mash does not burn.  I think that the silver trails explosion was either caused by the ignition of GNS or the ignition of propane.  If the still ruptured and 10% mash spilled onto the propane fire putting it out then propane would have filled the atmosphere and ignited from a lighted bulb or whatever.  It is my understanding that the propane burner did not have an automatic shut off. Regardless of what exactly was burning, I think that the situation in that distillery was very unsafe as was the equipment.

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Just remember though that the still was under pressure thus the boiling point of the ethanol inside the still was also under pressure.  A rupture would potentially cause all of the alcohol in the still to flash into steam, which is probably what happened as the report states the still launched out of the building.

With that much ethanol steam entering a facility, it's going to find an ignition source somewhere.

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Skaalvenn,  If there is liquid in a vessel to start with, liquid will always blow out first when a vessel is under pressure and ruptures.  However, if what you say did happen, it still fallows my point that the explosion was not the result of pressure from the still rupturing, it was the result of an ignition which was caused by the still rupturing.  The twister distillery fire was the result of the head of a still blowing off due to over pressure and the 192 proof GNS coming out as a liquid, some of it being a fine mist, which ignited and caused a fireball.  This occurred on camera.

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So open ignition aside (I'm positive we aren't going to use this approach) we are being very diligent in our research before we purchase anything and pay anyone to set something up.  Really we just want to confirm if a smaller boiler (like the Sussman) 12kw or maybe a little higher would heat up a 300L Hoga (no column - just standard pot)....and safely?   We can deal with maybe a slightly slower heat up this but if this is a more affordable short term solution then we would want to do this to get up and running quickly.

Appreciate all the great feedback btw!

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Kansftb,

  If the boiler output is 12KW  you will have around a 2 hour heat up to operating temp time, as long as your coil has enough heat exchange surface area.  Also you will have plenty of btus to do a spirit run once you reach operating temp.  If the KW output is lower than 12kw let me know what it is a and I will calculate it for you.  Also, I can calculate it from BTUs, HP or lbs of steam per hour.

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I have a custom Steam Generator built for our 200 Gal still. Affordable distillery Equipment made. Propane and electric. Sight Glass and all the safety features. Never used.

$3200

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Kansftb,

 

We built the boiler that Mash is referencing a couple of years ago.  It is a custom built steam injection boiler.  You can inject hot steam directly into the mash in a still or mash cooker.  We have those in 2 distilleries steam injecting 300 gallon whiskey stills and we have them in 5 or 6 more distilleries injecting mash cookers.  They work great but you must reduce the operating capacity of your still by 20%.  We no longer build them.  We never had any problems with them.  We just stopped selling them because we can sell our jacketed baine marie stills for less than what it costs for a still or mash tun and the steam injection boiler.  In fact, for just a little more than what you paid for the Hoga you could have had one of our jacketed stills with the built in electric heating system. You might also consider an electric heating system with elements directly in the mash.  I can sell you the heating system complete with the controller and the copper tri clamp ferrules that can be welded directly to your still pot.  Welding copper ferules directly to a  Hoga still pot takes a really really good tig welder.  My guys deliver our stills all over the US and they have a huge number of deliveries during the next couple of months.  If they are in your area they could retrofit your still for the electric heating system or for the steam injection boiler.   Where are you located?

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