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B-RAD 22

CONDENSER RECIRCULATION W/COOLING CHILLER

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Hello,

Has anyone have experience with a closed loop recirculation for the water needed for the condenser and deplemigator?

Where I am going to be operating there are strict rules on waste water and I will get charged for all that goes down the drain. Since I am new to this I am not sure what is in industry standard on the equipment (more specifically the chiller) that I can use for this.

Please note that I am a small craft distillery with a 500L (130 gallon) pot still, will be producing vodka and gin. Looking for a cost affordable solution.

if you require any additional information please let me know.

 

Thanks,

Brad

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A 2 HP chiller should do it, $7,000 or less. 230/1/60.

I have a used 3 HP for less but it's 460/3/60.

If you need to chill mash, then you should add a chilled water reservoir so you don't overheat.  Most guys use a tote, piping it between process and chiller return.

Mike

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Hi Brad,

You should never use a closed loop chiller for condensers.  It's a big waste of energy.  You should look at your condensers as hot water heaters that can supply you with free hot water If your tap water is less than 60 F then you should consider simply running the hot water from your condenser into 2 hot water holding tanks.  1 holding tank for your next mashing in and the other for cleaning including CIP.  Generally you will use all of the hot water that way. 

 

 If your tap water is too warm, I suggest chilled water tank cooled by a chiller and you still use the hot water holding tank.  

For the first method above no chiller is needed.  if you are going to use the 2nd method then email me paul@distillery-equipment.com and we will quote you for a chiller.

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That is actually pretty smart, never thought of it that way. 

Do you know how much water I would approximately use? I don't have a size of my condenser now (still being designed) but its for a 130 gallon (500L) still so my fermenters will also be 500L. 

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Are you going to be using cooling water for mash too? We just put together a closed loop system for all of our cooling water, because our mash schedule doesn't allow us to use the spent cooling water. Basically we have an oversized cold water reservoir that is chilled by a glycol chiller, spent (hot) cooling water returning to that reservoir. It was pricy but should make up for itself in a couple years.

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B-rad22,

You would use between 130 gallons and 260 gallons depending on the water temp and efficiency of your condenser.  Also the larger the amount of water the more it will self insulate so it can sit for 2 or 3 days and still retain most of it's heat.  Our condensers can be adjusted so that the water coming out is between 140 and 150 F depending on what spirtis you are running.  You can use cheap plastic vessels for your storage tanks and wrap them with the silver blanket insulation. 

If you need to crash cool mash this method does not work well and you will need a chiller for sure unless you have a well which you don't. 

Most vendors who sell chillers will not give you info on how to chill without a chiller because they want to sell you a chiller.  I never do that with any equipment or person.  i will always try to sell you what best fits your needs and I will even give you advice that rules out a sale if it best fits your needs.

I have seen equipment vendors sell chillers to people who have wells that put out 53F water.  If you have a well that puts out 53 F water, there is no reason to have a chiller at your distillery.

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The operating cost of the chiller is so much KWh x cents per KWh.

The operating cost of the water is the cost of water plus sewage cost.  

Simple for you if you're on a farm with well, not so much on city water where costs keep rising for both water and sewage (I pay more for sewage than water- overstressed sewage plants, etc.)

If you get a chiller with a lease, it usually pays for itself.

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In the case of reclaiming the hot water there is no sewage fee nor is there a real cost for the water because it is being reclaimed and used for a different purpose.

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This is all great information. At this time I am in the design phase and need to take in consideration:

-  Do I either run water through the condenser and collect it for reuse, open loop system

-  Do I recirculate chiller water through the condenser

I guess I need to figure out what the starting temperature of the water will be (i.e. the tap temp). This will essentially decide the need for a chiller or not. I may get a chiller sized/costed out anyway, will contact Southernhighlander.

Question:

- What is the minimal lowest temperature that a condenser requires? Or a temperature range? I will be distilling vodka and Gin but will also be starting whisky and rum in a couple of years.

 

Thanks,

Brad

 

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I am building my 3-tank system right now.

1600 gallon stainless tank to receive hot water from condenser and pre-condenser output.   Let sit over night to cool.  Pump to 1600 gallon poly tank in the morning.  Now the stainless tank is empty and ready for another run.  Other 1600 insulated poly tank is chilled to 60 degrees constant by my 6-ton portable chiller.   After day of run, pump water from non-insulated poly tank to refill the insulated tank and let chiller do its thing overnight.

Might add a cooling tower in the future.

Most days my process uses 1000 - 1200 gallons of chilled water, so I have plenty of capacity in these 1600 gallon tanks.   I use some of the hot water from the stainless tank for cleaning. 

The plumbing runs to all the chilling needs (stills, mash tun, fermenters, crash chiller, etc.) have a three-way valve to use city water when needed.   And of course a big back-flow preventer to keep the process water out of my potable water.  

The next steps are to hard plumb and automate the water transfer and have the chiller pull in make-up water for the 1600 gallon insulated tank using an adjustable float valve.  Never want to run out of chilled water!!!!!

The city water is a bit over 60 degrees most of the year.  If water were cheap and plentiful I would probably not worry about sending it down the drain.  Even so, the cost of chilling and pumping might end up costing me more in energy than the water would otherwise cost.   But we get to point out the environmental benefits with a closed-water cooling system.

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You could run water through a dry cooler as well.

I use them with chillers as winter operation for glycol cooling...saves on the power of running the chiller up North, but you could use them to take out heat of water as well.

 

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Hi all,

I am new to the subject, and I am in the planing stage of starting a distillery, here in hot southern California. Tap water is hot, normally 70 to 80F, scarce, and costly to run for all cooling needs without any chilling mechanism.  my question is, why can't distillers use glycol system for all cooling needs, condenser, dephlegmator, fermentation, and mash.  Any reason?

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6 hours ago, Geoman said:

why can't distillers use glycol system for all cooling needs, condenser, dephlegmator, fermentation, and mash.  Any reason?

No, many do, we do.  If you search on "chiller" or "glycol" on this forum you should see many questions and answers on this topic.  @MG Thermal Consulting is a regular contributor to this forum and that is his business.

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8 hours ago, Geoman said:

why can't distillers use glycol system for all cooling needs, condenser, dephlegmator, fermentation, and mash.  Any reason?

In our case, the process could have made the glycol too hot to return to the chiller without damaging it. It stresses out the chilling apparatus if returning at a high temp. That's why we have a huge water reservoir that cools our process, and a glycol chiller that chills that water reservoir.

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Welcome!

I have clients using chillers around San Diego and do not have glycol in their systems.

The purposes for glycol are twofold- to keep the process fluid from freezing below ambient temps below 0F and to sanitize if the process fluid is open to the atmosphere (reservoir tank) to reduce organisms (glycol mixture must be above 30%). If you don't go below freezing then you can treat water with chemicals or use ozone treatment (which is popular in Cali. I recommend Ozone Systems which are made in CA. 

I have larger systems that use glycol and can do so except for the worry of a leak (and a messy cleanup).

If you are cooling mash, you will need an auxiliary tank, if only the still condenser, I have a couple chiller types that have integral tanks and are non-atmospheric that you can use city water.

Email if you need specs, descriptions, or referrals.

Mike Gronski, MG Thermal

770-995-4066

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3 hours ago, Thatch said:

No, many do, we do.  If you search on "chiller" or "glycol" on this forum you should see many questions and answers on this topic.  @MG Thermal Consulting is a regular contributor to this forum and that is his business.

Mike is a great chiller guy.  He has done lots of chilling systems for my customers and he always does a great job.

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On 3/19/2019 at 6:16 AM, kleclerc77 said:

In our case, the process could have made the glycol too hot to return to the chiller without damaging it. It stresses out the chilling apparatus if returning at a high temp. That's why we have a huge water reservoir that cools our process, and a glycol chiller that chills that water reservoir.

Similar to standard beer brewing, they knock the boiling wort with chilled water first, then pass it to glycol.  that should keep glycol chillers safer, but don't see how can such practice fit to any still condenser and or dephlegmator!!

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For just still condenser cooling, an adjustable water valve (spring loaded ones or electronic) meters amount of water into condenser fro the chilled water main header and bypasses the remainder to temper the return water to the chiller. Or you can set a water valve downstream of the chiller to bypass some of the water/glycol return to temper return fluid before returning to chiller. Chiller pump flow without a reservoir should beat least double the flow required by still.  Since most distilleries are crashing and doing a still run the same day, chiller tank will be coldest at days start, then lose some ground before making the still run, which is ok, since still doesn't need as cold a cooling medium.  Similar to beer crashing, you can install a air/glycol subcooler to cool return glycol before returning back to cooling tank.  

Lot of this has effect on the budget, so some thought should be given to future plans on expansion.

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1 hour ago, Geoman said:

that should keep glycol chillers safer, but don't see how can such practice fit to any still condenser and or dephlegmator!!

The same water reservoir cools our dephlegmators and condenser. It is enormous so the returning water won't have a huge impact on the temp. We don't plan on mashing and distilling simultaneously.

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One size fits all>>>> Chiller+ reservoir+ process pump (chiller has its own pump). Chiller GPM always larger than process GPM.

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Does anyone know what temperature I will require for the condenser and deplemigator?

Also what temperature I can expect on the outlet of the condenser once it has been heated up? Or a delta of the water in to water out?

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Around 50F supply. Control valves to set flow for each.

Depending on the size of the condenser- smaller ones have a higher leaving- 120F or more. Larger sized for 95F leaving.

 

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