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Couldn't find a good thread about this topic, so I figured I'd start one. What are people using to cool their condenser/dephleg on their spirit still? city water? recirculation? glycol? I'm weighing my options and would love to see what people have found to work best!

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to me that would depend on ur location if ur paying for water or not . in the country off a big bore well u can recirculate back into the well or recirculate into a tank and reuse the water for mashing or cleaning . recirculating thru a system that extracts the heat and uses it to heat buildings or cement slabs is a option . if ur in aarea that has no use for the heat it can be ran thru a hydronic rad and fan before re entering the holding tank . i think it all depends where u are urban or rural as to your options and how much heat you produce to be able to size your cooling system . at our old location recirculating in a big bore well was perfect set up now at our new location its not a option due to the location of the well compared to location of distillery . there are some very creative ideas out there jus depends on your operation and its size . 

tim 

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Just now, Hudson bay distillers said:

to me that would depend on ur location if ur paying for water or not . in the country off a big bore well u can recirculate back into the well or recirculate into a tank and reuse the water for mashing or cleaning . recirculating thru a system that extracts the heat and uses it to heat buildings or cement slabs is a option . if ur in aarea that has no use for the heat it can be ran thru a hydronic rad and fan before re entering the holding tank . i think it all depends where u are urban or rural as to your options and how much heat you produce to be able to size your cooling system . at our old location recirculating in a big bore well was perfect set up now at our new location its not a option due to the location of the well compared to location of distillery . there are some very creative ideas out there jus depends on your operation and its size . 

tim 

We pay for water here and we're in the city, so recirculation of some sort would be wise. But I also need something that's going to pass code inspections, so not sure if something homemade will cut it. 

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11 minutes ago, Hudson bay distillers said:

depending what town your in as long as its built by a plumber or signed off by a plumber inspections shouldnt be a worry ...guess it depends what province ur from 

tim

Yeah, someone else suggested just a simple tote of water run by a pump through and back into the tote. I'm worried that might not stay cool long enough for a whole run though?

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nice id say one tote of water wont keep up to them lol your PC temp is one thing but remember your deflag needs to be fed with a constant source with little to no variation in temp or pressure . i would think you would need a serious cooling system to pull it off with a tote full of water . there is a member on here called MG thermal systems [hope i got that name right sorry if im wrong } that could set u up and would know the math off top of his head hopefully he chimes in seems very knowledgeable with these city type setups . if u get tired of the city hassel ill make you a good deal on a country property with its own well . cant beat free water with a view lol 

tim   

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You'd need a very very large holding tank if you're not using some method to dissipate the heat. Like a swimming pool. If you don't have a lot of space to work with, a chilling system might work for you and there are vendors here that would be happy to help you out. You could also circulate your hot water to preheat your mash, or run it through radiators to heat your shop in the winter. All that heat cost money, and if there's a way to put it to good use you should do it.

My still is very small compared to most businesses here, but my method works. I pump a glycol solution from a tank to the condensers, then outside through the wall to the side of the building, through a radiator which has an industrial fan blasting through it, then back into the tank. I can run my still all day long without any coolant issues, and there's no reason it can't be scaled up to larger radiators and fans, or multiples with more pumps if I need more. Find what works for you.

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1 minute ago, Sator Square Distillery said:

You'd need a very very large holding tank if you're not using some method to dissipate the heat. Like a swimming pool. If you don't have a lot of space to work with, a chilling system might work for you and there are vendors here that would be happy to help you out. You could also circulate your hot water to preheat your mash, or run it through radiators to heat your shop in the winter. All that heat cost money, and if there's a way to put it to good use you should do it.

My still is very small compared to most businesses here, but my method works. I pump a glycol solution from a tank to the condensers, then outside through the wall to the side of the building, through a radiator which has an industrial fan blasting through it, then back into the tank. I can run my still all day long without any coolant issues, and there's no reason it can't be scaled up to larger radiators and fans, or multiples with more pumps if I need more. Find what works for you.

I have buddies who run 2 x 200L stills and they run water from an IBC tote to their condensers and then back through a radiator/fan combo, then back into the tote. Can run for 8 hours without much temp change. Ice to cool it down on really hot days. I'm just not sure that our inspectors will go for that, so the radiator/glycol method may be required. 

Any idea how much something like that would run?

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Running a closed loop to a tote is the worst way to do what you want to do, and with a 1000 liter still it's not going to work unless you have a swimming pool sized tote.  I can solve your problem really easy.  Get yourself a couple of plastic hot water holding tanks of 1000 liters each.  If you set your condenser cooling flow correctly you will get 130 F to 155 F water coming out.  Run that water into the hot water holding tanks and use the water from tank one for your next mash cook and use the water from tank two for all of your cleaning.  The advantages of my way over a closed loop tote are many.   You are mashing in with 140 degreee water to start, so if you are doing corn mashes this will save you a great deal of heat up time and hot water heating costs compared to mashing with 55 F water to start.  You will save a tun of money on energy costs with the free hot cleaning water from tote number 2.

I would never use a closed loop without a chiller, even on a 5 gallon still.  It is a huge hassle.  The water temp in the holding tank is constantly rising because of the hot return water, so you are constantly having to increase the coolant flow to your condensers.  It is a huge hassle and it's hard to make good spirits that way.  

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33 minutes ago, Southernhighlander said:

Running a closed loop to a tote is the worst way to do what you want to do, and with a 1000 liter still it's not going to work unless you have a swimming pool sized tote.  I can solve your problem really easy.  Get yourself a couple of plastic hot water holding tanks of 1000 liters each.  If you set your condenser cooling flow correctly you will get 130 F to 155 F water coming out.  Run that water into the hot water holding tanks and use the water from tank one for your next mash cook and use the water from tank two for all of your cleaning.  The advantages of my way over a closed loop tote are many.   You are mashing in with 140 degreee water to start, so if you are doing corn mashes this will save you a great deal of heat up time and hot water heating costs compared to mashing with 55 F water to start.  You will save a tun of money on energy costs with the free hot cleaning water from tote number 2.

I would never use a closed loop without a chiller, even on a 5 gallon still.  It is a huge hassle.  The water temp in the holding tank is constantly rising because of the hot return water, so you are constantly having to increase the coolant flow to your condensers.  It is a huge hassle and it's hard to make good spirits that way.  

As I stated above, I have no intention of using closed loop for the wash still - there's too much heat being generated to do that. 

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As far as using underground cooling or outdoor radiant cooling like underground pipes, about the best you are going to get is 55-60F water coming to your still, ok for some, when you are producing high volume, not so great.

For a couple 100L stills, maybe a 2 or 3 HP chiller would do it and I would run it together with some reservoir which will take the spikes out of the cooling.  If your reservoir water temp gets above 75F or so, crank down your heat (slow up). Usually one tote will do it for a setup this small.

Cooling mash means more reservoir capacity, starting the totes at 50F or cooler. Set your chiller for 45F exit water to cool down the tote in off hours for quickest mash runs and keeping reservoir temp under control during your run.

Let me know if I can be of any other help.

P.S. A new 2 HP chiller, single phase is going to cost $7K or so, plus freight, but sometimes you can grab one used. I have some reconditioned ones, varying in size and price and new ones.

Mike G., MG Thermal Consulting Co.

 

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For up-Northerners, I also provide an air/glycol cooler with a circulator pump, 230/1/60, you can run manually or set up with a remote on-off for all your winter cooling (you need a small heat exchanger to transfer cooling from your cold glycol to the cold water tank). A bit large for your set up, it's a good way to save KW in the winter. About the same price as the 2 ton chiller, but gives you 6 tons of cooling in the winter. You can make VERY cold water or send the glycol to your backyard ice rink, LOL.

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3 hours ago, No13Distilling said:

As I stated above, I have no intention of using closed loop for the wash still - there's too much heat being generated to do that. 

Sorry, I guess I misread that part.  Still, I would not close loop out of and back into a tank without a chiller, on any still.  It's just not the best option.   I would probably still go for the free hot water if I where you, also Mike really knows his stuff and he has some good options there.

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4 hours ago, MG Thermal Consulting said:

P.S. A new 2 HP chiller, single phase is going to cost $7K or so, plus freight, but sometimes you can grab one used. I have some reconditioned ones, varying in size and price and new ones.

How do those work exactly? And are you talking glycol or just cold water?

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The chiller will pump chilled water if placed indoors, summertime you need to vent out hot air, or you can site the chiller outdoors and mix with glycol as an anti-freeze.

Your chiller control can be set at 45F for all water, a mix you can go colder but remember the colder you go, the less capacity the chiller has (refrigerant has to work harder to be compressed and fed to the cooler to make the chilled water).

Normally, less than 5 HP chillers are placed indoors to prevent glycol cost.

 

 

 

 

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8 minutes ago, MG Thermal Consulting said:

The chiller will pump chilled water if placed indoors, summertime you need to vent out hot air, or you can site the chiller outdoors and mix with glycol as an anti-freeze.

Your chiller control can be set at 45F for all water, a mix you can go colder but remember the colder you go, the less capacity the chiller has (refrigerant has to work harder to be compressed and fed to the cooler to make the chilled water).

Normally, less than 5 HP chillers are placed indoors to prevent glycol cost.

 

 

 

 

Thanks for the info. It gets down to about -50 here at times, so I there'd be risk of the glycol freezing outdoors anyway!

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-50F? You would need a special chiller for that unless you put the chiller indoors-it'll help heat the indoors in the winter.  

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2 hours ago, MG Thermal Consulting said:

-50F? You would need a special chiller for that unless you put the chiller indoors-it'll help heat the indoors in the winter.  

No13Distilling is from Canada, so I guess they use the same temperature scale as most of the world - Celsius :rolleyes:

In both scales -50 is frikkin cold, no discussion needed :D

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Even worse, BRRR. How much heat will he need to get everything to boil...he can make lots of icicles, melting snow off the roof.

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On 2017-09-15 at 12:30 PM, MG Thermal Consulting said:

-50F? You would need a special chiller for that unless you put the chiller indoors-it'll help heat the indoors in the winter.  

http://www.advantageengineering.com/breweryChiller/units/breweryChillerGlycol-bc1.5a.php

Would this unit do the trick? There's someone selling one used.

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The temperatures for this chiller operation, (20-30) read from set point of 20 to 30F are typical for brewery chillers, since this is a 1.5 HP (nominal) unit, I would say the output is going to be about 9,000 btu/hr.  If you raise the output temperature to +50F, output capacity will be around 18,000 btu/hr.

Help?

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