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Josh

Closed Chiller Loop Water Treatment

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Hi all,

I am using a closed loop water chiller system for my distillery and wanted to see what other folks are doing to treat the water in their closed loop system. Can anyone share what they do to keep the system from becoming a biological science experiment?

I was thinking about chlorine, but not sure about the long term effects of chlorine going through copper and stainless equipment. Any advice would be appreciated!

Cheers,

Josh

 

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Josh,

 

I don't know much about treating water in a closed loop chiller.  However, what temp is your tap water there?  If you run the 120 to 150 F hot water from your condensers into 2 hot water holding tanks, one for mashing and the other for cleaning you will use all of the hot water and save a huge amount of money on energy costs.  With the closed loop you are cooling down 90 degrees or more while on the other end of your process you are using energy to heat water up.  It's a huge waste of energy. 

If your tap water is over 68F then instead of the closed loop you could have a chilled water tank cooled with a much smaller chiller than you would use for a closed loop.  With the chilled water tank you are cooling water just 20 degrees and then you are using the heat energy in the water for mashing and cleaning.  You are also reducing the time that it takes you to mash because you are starting with much hotter water.  On the other hand with the closed loop you are cooling down the coolant 90 degrees F or more while on the other end of the process you are heating water up.

 

Of course if you are crash cooling mash and or cooling fermenters closed loop is a better way to go.  Also some closed loop systems have ways of reclaiming heat.  I'm sorry, I know this advice comes a little late for you but it may help others who read this.  I'm sure someone will come along soon to answer your water treatment question.

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If you're not plumbed through PVC, just dump a bunch of your heads in there! It will keep your water clean, it's easier to pump than water, and will exchange heat nicely. Oh yeah....and it's basically free! Haha. We've been doing this since last October and have had some pretty good luck with it. We even installed an outdoor condensing unit off an old chiller to pump our cooling water through it from Fall>Spring. We had some pretty cold spells here this winter and the heads dropped the freezing point enough to where nothing ever froze up on us. Glycol would probably be the best solution but I was too cheap for that. P.S. that outdoor cooling unit dropped our electric bill from $1,100 per month to $350 per month.

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Thank you Paul and Stumpy's for the responses. I like the idea of adding heads to the loop, makes sense for our existing design. We have a little PEX and some canoflex lines throughout the system, but I think that low proof alcoholic solution would work, and PEX is cheap if we need to replace it because of deterioration. We never know what to do with the heads away, so this gives them purpose and a home!


Paul, we do crash mash temps in one of your 150 gallon mash tuns, with cooling fluid in the jacket and the inner coil (twice a day on mash days) and when we run the 150 gallon on stripping runs, we need a lot of volume to keep the condenser water temperature ~60 degrees.

Thank you both again for your responses! Cheers!

 

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Josh,

The volume of water through the condenser for that still should be between 190 and 300 gallons per stripping run.  If the input water is 48 F to 68 F with an output temp of between 130 and 145 f.  If you are using more condenser cooling water than that email me privately and we will figure out what's wrong.

 

 

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Thanks Paul, the system works just fine, no complaints about the equipment.

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The treatment can vary from ozone, traditional chemical to glycol (glycol %needs to be 30% of else it will aid in biological growth.

I have a client who is transferring water from a couple large tanks, equalizing them if necessary, using hot water from mash cooling for heating ends and the makeup city water to temper the cold water tank to lessen the heat load on his chiller.  Much like Paul's concept.

Whenever able, I like to place a small glycol loop with an isolation to chill cold water tanks from cold night-winter air cutting down chiller usage for all winter.  I am looking to add a heat reclaim chiller to this loop as well to make hot water up to 170F, shedding off max use for boiler load.  These paybacks vary from one to 4 years. Higher temperature refrigerants will make the maximum reclaim temperature close to 190F.

Mike

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