We're just in the beginning stages of getting zoning and permitting on a multi-month or year journey to getting our DSP. However, as you who've started businesses all know, the more you have down on blueprints/paper at least in theory the easier everyone from governments to construction guys has it later (or can pick it apart).
We are very unique in that we are already a dairy farm and cheese plant. Thus, have the unique situation that we currently use two hot water boilers to heat our milk to 145F degrees for 30 minutes, then 85-95F for various times, as result of the cheese make process. We're also in the process of adding a chiller. I've spent the last 8 months studying distillation in my free time but I'm no expert... an animal scientist by training and writer/marketer by profession. I've read all the "hot water boiler" discussions in the forums but it appears everyone is comparing starting new and I think the obvious answer is steam in that scenario most of the time.
In our case, I'm trying to figure out the money side of things when we already have boilers. We'll be using whey for our spirits which means we'll have an energy intense process relative to the same amount of ethanol production from a grain fermentation.
As far as equipment:
We'll need to use some sort of Mash Tun to basically boil the whey and create ricotta cheese for either human (called ricotta cheese) or cow consumption.
Next a fermenter, and
Then the still(s).
We are looking at making liqueurs/cordials from a "white whisky that we cannot call whisky", plus some saved for whatever we invent as aged dairy "non-whisky" (cows eat and ferment grain, too! but I digress) if that is helpful.
What we currently have in our process and planning:
About two to four batches of cheese putting out 4,000 pounds whey per cheesemake, which has about 4.5-4.6% lactose, which should mean we get about 125 pounds/14 gallons/52 liters of ethanol potential (70% rough conversion rate with yeast that can get after some of the galactose).
To get there, we'll need to heat/agitate the whey to about 195F or 150F for 30 minutes and add citric acid or vinegar (which I know is a no-no for copper) to get the protein to come coagulate and then drain off liquid
Add lactase and ferment with distillers yeast (for at least 3-4 days). I believe we'll be fermenting a product of 95% water, 4% lactose (which we'll split into simple sugars with 70% efficiency) and 1% minerals. So, taking out the roughly 0.5-0.8% protein means just plan on a 4,000 pound/465 gallon/1760 liter fermentation.
Distill in 2000L pot still (unless someone wants to sell me a column still for less than I can imagine ).
Send to spirit (pot) still or re-run through single pot still.
We have two 379,000 BTU hot water boilers. I believe they should easily be able to handle the process of doing this, but I am scratching my head on how to figure out the R.O.I. or trade-off in months/years of investing in something like steam right away instead.
We'll also soon be installing a chiller for our cheese plant which can be used for our future distillery. Not sure how necessary it will be, but should at least save water in the condenser process.
I do have some engineering help on the way, but with everyone on here so helpful feel free to blast anything I've said or run calculations differently so I can talk smarter to my engineer, plumber and electrician down the road... thanks in advance for any ideas or roadmaps.