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Water Chiller...

250 gallon tote... 85F to 75F in 45 minutes... 42,000 BTU's... saved it from friends scrapyard... I am happy... until I get the bigger chiller working...



  • That's a lot of gallons to chill. 10 degrees in 45 minutes in THIS KIND OF HEAT ain't too shabby.

  • What is your working fluid?

    I'm more like I am now than I was before.

  • Nice!

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  • @Kapea said: What is your working fluid?

    water.... gets used for a month and then waters the grass or gets dumped if we are in monsoon season as we are right now...

  • Dustin is now running a 5 ton heat pump. Nothing more than a heat pump/condensing section of an air conditioning system. Think the cost is about $500 per ton.

    He is using a single 250 gallon tote for reserve water.

    He prechills the water in the tote from 88f (+ or -) down to 50f. Takes about an hour.

    Pot stills 200 gallon kettle charge in 5 hours with the 4" product condenser. He says it does finish up a bit warm but also notes that his yield has increased.

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  • I am going to go from 4 totes to one tote... or maybe two, one for PC water at 70F, the other for RC water maybe with just a fan and radiator to bring it down to 120 or so....

    My other, larger chiller, the one like @littlechicago has, I have to plumb the refrigerant/heat exchanger part, and since I am into that, I might do a 'de-superheater' heat exchanger coil that I use to preheat the wash while cooling the reservoir... it basically just robs the heat from the freon before it hits the air condenser... I think I can get the 80 gallons of wash to 150F or so... one could also use a marine liquid-liquid chiller in this application, they are common in FL...

    eventually, have the entire still on a heat pump that moves as much energy as possible to/from somewhere you can use it, not just the ambient air...

  • No way you can run the still on just the chiller, you'll need some reservoir, if anything to match the flow rates. It's amazing the btu capacity of water.

    Our reservoir is 1500 gallons.

  • yeah, was just thinking warm-up to 150 would be nice...

    cool 240 gal X degrees, heat 80 gal 3X degrees, use 20% of the energy of doing each separately... obviously both have to be in the range of the refrigerant, but if a home unit on R-22 can cool air to 50F and supply hot water via a de-superheater at 180, it can be done...

  • a weldor friend just pointed this to me... it is high level and they don't really get into the nuts and bolts, but I think it may apply to our business... I just don't have time to give him a call...

  • OK, was looking at desuperheaters and remembered I saw what looked like a wall mount cooling tower today behind a restaurant... today when heading home from the accountant... after searching a while, I saw this thing and think it may run a fairly large RC/PC and cool a LOT of water, if not to ambient, close to it...



    50,000 BTU Hydronic Hot Water Hanging Unit Heater - Single Speed Fan @ eBay

    800 x 621 - 36K
    800 x 600 - 76K
  • Interested as to how you plan to plumb this up - looped on your 275 gal IBC?

  • Well, many way to do it, and most all have been discussed here on SD already... but off of the hot side of the condenser(s) would be the best efficiency... given that you want to have PC cooling water at ambient, but RC water does not need to be, in fact large flows of warm water are fine or maybe better for an RC... you could have may layouts, here are some

    1. plumb both PC and RC outputs to this, then return to top of tote, you would still get thermocline, but water would be much cooler that day and the next, to run the still again
    2. plumb the PC to get cold water, the outlet of the PC to the RC the RC to the cooler, then to the tote (need bypass to not starve the PC.. I do not think this will have much promise for long sequential runs
    3. feed water to the RC recuirculate the water through the RC at full speed in a loop, but control how much water you let exit the loop (again covered by others in too much depth to do more than touch on here)
  • ok, reviving this, wondering if anyone has thought about using one of these, commonly called a 'modine' up north in the US, (we always had gas or oil fired ones, but these hot water and steam ones were pretty popular....)

    it looks like the BTU calculation System Delivered BTU = 500 x GPM x System Water Temperature Change

    so dropping 2gpm water 50 degrees F is 50,000 BTU..

  • OK, got it, well worth the $135, soldered on some reducers to take it down to put my 5/8" hose on, made a bracket(and fan motor rain shield) to hand it on the side of the tote by cutting up an old stainless paper towel holder/trash can combo I had in the pile of metal going to the recycler... was not getting much flow, realized i had the hoses backwards, changed to flow upwards, and got a little better flow, in the process of trying to flush air through my RC that is 16 feet in the air, I found a 'quick connect' that wasn't in all the way, I pushed it in and got better flow... started thinking about the quick connects, they are the brass ones with the plunger that stops flow, I removed them and just used the garden hose fittings, and got 2.7GPM and the RC flushed air right away... that may have been my problem trying to get 190 the other day.... pump is back in good graces with me! Will test cooling capacity, but I think it will help out a LOT.. Here are a couple pics of it installed:



    600 x 800 - 143K
    600 x 800 - 122K
  • Those quick connects certainly restrict the flow. You don't need a rain shield on that fan motor but it definitely wont hurt.

  • Not sure of your ambient temps, but would a light colored tote (IBC in Australia) not assist in keeping the temperatures down as well?!?! Or even a shade over the tote?!?

    These changes may not be significant however where I live that in itself would be a big help keeping the temps down... just a thought.

  • I thought about the sun heating factor, but I can only get so much done in one day ;-)

    The translucent/light colored tote will cause algae growth, and will degrade physically in the sun... I have 8 of them for fermenting/low wines storage..

    This is the north side of the building(like your south side), so only a month of sun here in the subtropics... and the sun hits the top, which is air space, so not terrible heat conductivity to the water... when swapping hoses with the pump running, I got a bit of a shower, and it was refreshingly cool in the hot sun... additionally, I start in the morning, and the top of the tote has the warmer return water by the time the sun hits it, so

  • If the cooler works as I expect, I can use a much smaller container, and then migrate this use this as a pre-cooler for a 2-3 ton chiller... they also make this in multiple sizes, but this was a great price point for testing.... 50kbtu $135 shipped, 100Kbtu $382 shipped, 200,000 $445

    I can see a version of this using a 'circulation pump' and mechanical water tempering valve ( the kind used in radiant heating, not for domestic water) in a bypass loop... fairly inexpensive and dead reliable... coudl supply all the reflux a 4-6" would ever need without a water storage tank.

  • Nice.

    I was considering using an old Aircon unit with just the radiator and fan modules. Guess it's not so different to your set-up!

  • not that much different, with the freon condensers though, the inner tubes are pretty small, these are a bit bigger... there are some pics on here a few years back of someone doign the aricon unit

  • edited May 2017

    If you can find a good condition 2-3 ton AC compressor unit with a shot compressor, they make great dry coolers/passive coolers for the cold seasons. Use glycol and a heat exchanger - and use a procon gear pump to move your coolant. The nice thing about procon pumps is they can deal with narrow piping and long runs as they are displacement pumps.

    As long as the coil is in good shape and the fan motor runs - you can't get a cheaper and better looking outdoor unit. You can usually pick them up for scrap value, which is peanuts.

    Mount the HX and Procon pump indoors, use a small reservoir and run a glycol % that is acceptable for your coolest exterior temperature. Go ahead and use water indoors, just make sure that when you are running, you have both pumps running (or you'll freeze your HX). Make sure your glycol reservoir is large enough for drain-back if you are mounting this on your roof (commercial, etc).

  • ok, fired it up yesterday, about half the efficiency I was hoping for, so my initial rule of thumb would be 10-20btu per watt of power you plan on cooling with (50kbtu-100kbtu for a 5.5kw element

    Still happy with the unit, keeps my totes from deforming as much from the hot water, and recover more quickly to ambient.. I may see about having it run in recirc mode 2 hours in the early morning to cool to night-time ambient...

  • @grim said: If you can find a good condition 2-3 ton AC compressor unit...

    Silly question: 2-3 TON AC unit?!? Is this a US descriptor? I don't recognize it, being in Australia...

  • edited May 2017

    An old term in refrigeration and equates to the energy required to melt a ton of ice at 0 degrees to water in 24 hrs. Or the amount of energy to freeze a metric ton of water at 0 degrees to ice in 24 hrs . In our new terms is 3.5 kW. From memory. Older Carrier and other units in air conditioning were rated this way. We had 2 Carrier 5h120 down rated to 100 tons each doing the air conditioning at the satellite earth station here.

  • Lol, as you do!

    Felling a little under qualified! Satellite stations...!?!?

    Thank you for that explanation, GD50, that'll go a long way helping me ask for the right thing.

  • edited May 2017

    OTC the station here used to carry 60 % of Australia's total overseas telecommunications in it hay day. Fibre optics across Australia and OTC becoming part of Telstra meant the station could be relocated to Perth. The dishes could not be further east as they would not be able to see the satellites over the Atlantic. Back in the early days the low noise amplifiers on the dishes used to be cooled by cryogenics refrigeration to -170 c to reduce noise and the dishes were 30 m dia.These days the LNA are scabby little boxes on everyone's sat dish. Times change.

    EZi -if you are somewhere near where I think you are there was another single dish at Carnarvon.

  • edited June 2017

    They look like this in the states.


    741 x 800 - 66K
  • The beauty of those style ( apart from the blonde beauty style ) is that you can use the condenser fan motor as they are are just simple motors. If you go to modern split systems on most the fan motor will not be useable as they are fancy electronic motors requiring the circuit board and other inputs.

  • edited May 2017

    Big fan, big heat exhanger, good looking outdoor package, cheap as hell when the compressor is shot.

    But - the tubing is long and narrow - you generally need a higher pressure gear pump like a procon to push the long hose lengths and narrow diameters.

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