Jump to content
Lenny

How to "inject" steam?

Recommended Posts

I've heard of folks using steam injection to heat liquid in a vessel... Lets say I want to make this happen with a 150 gallon still with 2" threaded ports located at the base of the pot - any advice on a manufacturer of a steam sparge unit that could provide an effective/reliable solution?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ive set up steam injection rails on cereal cookers and direct port steam injection on continuous stills, but I have never seen direct injection on a batch or pot still. 

I imagine direct injection of steam into a still would greatly reduce the proof of spirits being collected, as the steam would add water to the wash.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You should reach out to Yianni at Mason Dixon Distillery in Gettysburg. When his iStill failed, he modified it to direct steam injection and swapped the column out both with great results. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

John at Sandstone Distillery had a small injection setup on a stripping unit that was pretty ingenious.  Might check with him.  I don't think you'd be able to do it on a finishing run though, who knows?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Direct steam injected pot stills work very well.  They were used in distilleries in the latter part of the 19th century and by moonshiners up until the mid to late 1980s. Direct steam injection makes great Whiskey.  Some of my earlier whiskey stills were direct steam injected by sanitary steam injection boilers of my own design that we built in house.  These stills are still in operation.  One is at the Bell of Dayton Distillery in Dayton OH.  The injection boiler that I built for them has 72 square ft of internal heat exchange surface area.  My injection boilers were open systems utilizing water column to build pressure so no ASME rating or UL listing was needed.  The thing about direct steam injected pot stills is this.  It needs to have 14% to 18% extra space in the pot.  The steam injection will add that much water to the still pot during heat up to operating temp but once operating temp is reached the liquied level will begin to drop and by the end of the run the liquid level will have dropped 15% or more.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Spirax makes some nice stainless injection units, but they are expensive.  You'll need to do the calculations to determine how many and what size nozzles you'll need to support.  150 gallons (underfilled) - probably something like a single IN25 Spirax - which at 15psi would move ~297lb of steam per hour - roughly 35 gallons of added condensate.  You should be able to heat up in a half an hour at that rate, with 100-125g in the kettle.

http://www.spiraxsarco.com/global/us/Products/Documents/Steam_Injectors_IN15_IN25_IN40M-Technical_Information.pdf

You could probably get by with a single 3/4" TLA eductor as well, would be roughly the same parameters.  TLA eductor is going to provide significantly more in-kettle mixing than the Spirax injector.

http://www.nciweb.net/eductor_tla_heater.htm

  • reaction_title_1 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just keep in mind - when steam valves shut, vacuum will suck back the kettle contents into the steam lines.  You need a vacuum breaker.

If you have some sort of delicate non-removable nozzle, it is inevitable that it will clog up and ruin your day.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, Silk City Distillers said:

Just keep in mind - when steam valves shut, vacuum will suck back the kettle contents into the steam lines.  You need a vacuum breaker.

If you have some sort of delicate non-removable nozzle, it is inevitable that it will clog up and ruin your day.

Lenny along with what Silk said, you should also consider water hammer.  You need a steam sparger or wand design that will create the least amount of, or no water hammer.  My spargers did create some water hammer, but not enough to damage the equipment even after many years of use, however you might not like the banging.  Actually it is more like Clang!, Clang,!, Clang! , but as you get closer to operating temp the clanging gets quieter and faster and then stops once operating temp is reached. 

Also you need a sparger/wand that will not level up and fill with mash when the vessel is full.  The vacuum breaker will solve this in part, however from the  nozzles to the vacuum breaker, it can be a problem and it becomes a big problem if you are distilling on the grain and your sparge arm levels up with thick mash and all of the nozzles clog when the steam pressure hits.   

I stopped building direct steam injected stills because steam jacketed stills and baine marie stills are better options for distilling.  Steam injection is great for cooking mash but because the still must be larger (more expensive) and this method does not work well for spirits that are distilled at higher proofs, you are better off going with Baine Marie because it costs less, or a steam jacket because more types of spirits can be created.  That is my opinion anyway.  Steam injected stills work but they can involve a lot of hassle.  Moonshiners used them because it gave them a viable way to cook and then distill corn mash on the grain.  They would typically build their steam injection boilers out of old 55 gallon drums with some 2" pipe inside for fire tubes.  These were ferrous metal drums.  These could be wood or gas fired out in the woods.

Basically, I can build a baine marie still for a great deal less than what I can build a steam injected still and boiler for and if you have or are going to buy a low pressure steam boiler you might as well go with steam jackets.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you, everyone, for all of this info. I've got a lot to work through and will be looking at the possibility of retrofitting some sort of steam coil - which appears to be a more straight forward Plan.A approach to heating vs. steam injection which seems like a plausible Plan.B option. Thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

search 'steam eductor' on aliexpress, I got a 1/4" one and a 3/8" one, for around $20 total, the 1/4" one can hadle 11kw, or 1HP, the 3/8" can handle double that..  I run it with 16.5KW, or 1.5HP of steam to heat molasses...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Potential issue i was told about. Please correct me as necessary. 

If you inject seam from your normal boiler i don't think you can add any chemicals to your condensate system (at least not the boiler chemical that i use) That's why commercial kitchen boilers are all ss. If you have a conventional boiler you need to keep 100-200ppm of sulfites in the water to scavange oxygen from the condensate  and you need to keep conductivity in the blowdown below 3500. Failure to adhere to this will eventually make your boiler fail (hopefully not with a big bang).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are lots of options for boiler water treatment that will not affect injecting into food products . You can't get rid of minerals from water all you can do is hold them in suspension and blast them out when u do your morning blow down .

Tim

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...