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Outdoor Wood Boiler In the Works

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Long time lurker, getting my bearings now. Start up DSP hopeful looking for some advice on a funny idea. (Yes I Googled, no satisfactory info available hence me coming out of lurker-ship)

I've been researching Outdoor Wood Boilers for a while for residential purposes and it struck me as a reasonable way to safely and cheaply fire a still. Ideally a copper coil heat exchange in a 200 gallon pot still is what I'm envisioning. Wondering if anyone knows of a commercial DSP using such a method and/or what the pitfalls would be?

Initial Q's: Would water/steam be efficient enough or do I need to look to a oil solution? Would the internal heat exchange be feasible or is a jacketed still boiler the way to go? If anyone has experience with such a set up has heat control been an issue? Is this a really stupid idea and that's why there's not a lot of info floating around?

The names Scott, initially working on both bourbons and single malts, interested in small scale artisan setups.

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Steam trumps water - on a straight btu to btu comparison, water is going to be substantially slower, or if your still jacket is not appropriate, water may not even work at all. If water was easier than steam, we'd not have had 300 years of industrial steam use.

There are commercially available ASME rated solid fuel (aka wood) steam boilers. I would wager a bet that they would be significantly more expensive than oil or gas counterparts. Really though, don't waste your money on a hydronic boiler.

Is it that you don't have natural gas at your location?

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There are many direct wood fired stills in Europe

Haven't heard of wood heating steam to heat stills but I bet there would be some out there.

I have a wood boiler at my distillery and another one for hydronic heating in my house. Both are completely lined with copper pipes.

I got sick of spending so much time cutting and loading wood into the heaters. Unless you are loading very regularly then the temperature or steam output is all over the place.

I have converted them both to run on waste veg oil (or waste motor oil)

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  • 2 weeks later...

I had looked into this for a project once-


I called the rep and he told me these things are so massive it would be WAY too expensive as they would have to custom build one small enough for our application. If you got the cash though they can make anything.

Good luck hunting!

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I knew a guy that worked for a company down in FL and they distilled reclaim refrigerant and they used wood, he was kept pretty busy cutting wood and running the still!

Hey Jake, haven't heard from you in a while- moving from coast to coast, eh?


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