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Steam Generation - Sizing


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Hi All,

I am about to take on a 1000L Copper Pot still which can be direct heated or indirect heated using steam. I am wondering if anyone has any experience with Steam generators/boilers especially in terms of sizing?

I know it is going to be fairly mathematical i.e. 1000L Still, filled about 2/3 full, call it 700L of wash, need to raise the temp from 20 degrees C to 80 Degrees C in say 1 to 2 hours, therefore need X kg/hr of steam to do this. As it is all copper I guess there is a heat transfer coefficient for that but how it all fits together...

I am looking to get a rough idea as to the size I should be looking to source. I live in New Zealand so not the easiest thing to find new our second hand, so if importing it I need to know I have spec'd it correctly.

Any help, thoughts greatly appreciated.



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Don't come slapping me with a law-suit if the following info leads you down the wrong road, but for what it's worth, here are my two cents:

I installed a beautiful still from a reputable manufacturer in the 1,000 l range that I've been very happy with (that's 1,000 l net capacity, not gross capacity, so it sounds like this still is slightly larger than yours, which you seem to have said is 1,000 l gross capacity).

We ended up installing a boiler putting out about 350 kg/hour of steam for this application, which the manufacturer had no objections to. If you were to ask me, I'd say that for whatever reason, that amount of steam ended up being slightly insufficient, but quite close.

Every job, every still, and every installation are very different, so take this all with a grain of salt. But, if you were to ask me, I'd much rather have too much steam than not enough. Especially seeing as procurement and shipping are a big issue for you on your beautiful, isolated island down south, I recommend that you think about the following questions: might you install another still in the foreseeable future? might you install mashing vessles? might you install steam heaters? how much expense will a slightly larger boiler actually add to your overall start-up costs?

Hope that helps,


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Hi Nick,

Thanks for your thoughts, especially on the other processes that it could be used to heat. I have found a site with some great info, see link below, it will take some reading and calculations but like you say I need to be sure before I order anything.

I did some rough calcs from other info I had found on the site and got a very similar value to your 350Kg/hour but will verify using the info from the link below.

I still hope to hear from others out there who may have some experience in this regard.

Thanks again.



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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...

Anyone else have any experience or guidance around this? Thanks for your help.

Well I have very little experience in this are but have been reading alot and also asked advice from our German Still Builder since we are in the throughs of decision making. I felt that more steam was also a must as there would be less uptake and also I would be using it for other functions. It was suggested that we go for a 1.4 Million BTU boiler for a 1000L. They also sugested Columbia boilers. In looking into it I have found that many brewers are using their WL series and I was looking at the MPH series. Good info on their website and I am going down to the local boiler installer next week to get more advice.

And to all the others who posted thatnks for the info.

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