Plan for a Cooling System for 500L SD. Do you think this might work?

Don't want to cool with water, so I thought that this sort of a set up could be the answer. What do you think? Feedback is greatly appreciated.


592 x 508 - 36K


  • Looks like your after a plant cooling loop. There are better ways to do that.
    I wouldn't be using three ways as you will disrupt everything downstram, I would also hook up the supply and the return at the end of the line with a very small bleed so the supply line never warms up and move the chiller to the return. Your ice tank won't be very cold the way you have it.
    If you are running heaps of other crap of the loop like your fermenters etc I would also put the supply pump on a VSD and add a pressure transmitter which will give constant supply pressure regardless of load.

  • Chiller has an extra 12 L reservoir, so everything that is sent to loop will be pre-chilled. Auxilary will be switched off during runs. I thought of adding it, sot that I won't need any extra gear for controlling fermenting temperatures during hot summer months, or for providing chill for filtering. Hooking up the supply and return at the end of the line gives me a lot to think about. Thanks :)

  • Just imagine the aux line without the autovalve and put a needle valve on it set to a trickle. It means as soon as any of the valves crack on the supply line they will have chilled water straight away. They won't have to flush out meters of warm first.
    If you're supplying the entire site it's a good idea but with what you're intending there's not much point.
    I'm not seeing the point of holding 120 litres of warm water? If it's just a buffer tank, I used to just use a piece of vertical 4" pipe.

  • From experience, you can send very warm water through a dephlegmator... and no matter what, your exit water from the dephlegmator may be as hot as 75C... I would not sent this back to a chiller without an air to water heat exchanger (radiator and fan) cooling it to near ambient first.. you could place the radiator after the chiller condenser

  • the only place a 'chiller' is required over a heat exchanger to sent heat to the outside is to cool the condensed product to room temperature... this is approximately 1/10th of the total cooling load... yes, a big radiator for the RC and the 1st stage of the PC are all you need, and if you can handle product a few degrees above ambient, you can just oversize the heat exchanger..

  • edited March 2016

    Idea of placing the chiller between the cold water tank and condenser & dephlegmator was to use the pump only that is built in the chiller. I don't want to build pressure in the cold water tank so it's logical put it after the tank, not before it. This pushes water into system with a speed of 20 liters a minute. In my present still I cool with running water (own well, water used goes back into ground so I can use as much as I need) and if I run it in the condenser and dephlegmator with enough pressure/speed, exiting water is not hot at all. So I figured that since the chiller has it's own extra 12 L reservoir for cooling down the water while pumping it into system, my cold water tank won't be collecting hot water, as suggested... Am I completely lost or does this make sense?

  • I don't know. This is the issue with cobbling random bits and pieces together. I don't think the numbers will add up to do what you want.
    You need to sit down and do the math properly.
    The chiller is 418W? Is that total power or the cooling capacity?
    That really isn't much. If you put that bleed in like I suggested you would also get ahead by starting with a chilled tank. You might be able to throw in some glycol to get under 0°C.
    I didn't realise the chiller was also your supply pump.
    Running the chiller while the boiler is on might slow down how quickly the 120l tank heats up but you will be very limited on the length of time you can run if you're using a few kW.
    If the still is 5kW then that's roughly how much heat you need to pull out of the cooling water hence CD's comment about a radiator helping out on the return.
    I also think the 120L tank is ether too big or too small depending what you're intending.
    If you're pulling all the heat out in one pass then all you need to do is keep the system flooded.
    If you have a way undersized chiller and are using the tank as a bit of a 'cold bank' then you need heaps more water.
    How much power are you putting in the boiler?
    You've got two temp sensors in there. What are they there for?
    Sorry but I can't see it working very well how it's drawn.

  • edited March 2016

    Thanks. I still got my thinking cap on and much appreciate your feedback. I'm very much on a drawing board state at the moment. Do you think it might be a better idea if I take a chiller that is suitable for cooling a 250 L tank to 0-3 and run it through enough copper coil inside the cold water tank and replace the 2 in my drawing with an ordinary pump? I guess then I wouldn't need a radiator in return as suggested by CD.

  • Like I said, you need to go though the numbers. How big is the still? How often will you run it?
    There are many ways to skin cats but the chillers your talking about sound way undersized for the job.
    You say it can do 20l/min but at what pressure???
    How familiar are you with these concepts like pump curves, etc? The radiator idea is still a good one I think. I would be using a dedicated supply pump.
    Personally I think if your location is conducive to it then ditching the chiller for a large radiator is a better idea.
    Save the chiller to control the fermenters separately as they're more likely to need it.
    Why can't you stick with the well system?

  • Pressure is 0,6 bar on the chiller pump. Still I'll be working with is 500 L. I can't stick to the well system, because the location of the still is not the same and I'll be using commercial water supplies and pying by usage. Can you recommend any good radiators or have you got a working plan I could take a look at?

  • edited March 2016

    Here's a new simplified version. Maybe this could work better?


    1. Chiller & pump
    2. Aux. T-valves
    3. Cooling coil
    4. Ice water tank (isolated)
    5. Circulation pump
    6. Flow adjustment valve
    7. Condenser
    8. Dephlegmator
    9. Thermometer
    612 x 540 - 20K
  • @algoth said: Can you recommend any good radiators or have you got a working plan I could take a look at?

    Maybe re-purpose a condenser?

  • 500 liter still - dephlegmator and product condenser.

    120 liter tank and a 400 watt chiller?

    Won't work, don't waste your money.

  • @grim What do you think would work?

  • edited March 2016

    Single-pass chilling is an impossibility for distilling operations - the chiller would need to be enormous and likely cost more than everything else in the operation combined. The purpose of the reservoir is to trade time for the ability to use a smaller chiller.

    With a small chiller, and a small reservoir - you simply don't have capacity. From what you've said above - it seems your plan is to chill that tank down to 0-3c? That is going to create more problems than it solves, because now your flow rates are going to need to be absolutely tiny, and you are going to have a hard time finding valves that provide a decent amount of control. What you are going to find is if you size your pumps and valves assuming a 0-3c reservoir, once that reservoir hits 20c (which it will), you are going to lose the ability to cool as your pumps won't pump enough volume and your valves will be full open.

    In addition, at 0-3c - your tanks and lines need to be insulated, and you are going to be losing a significant amount of energy to inefficiencies.

    You are much better off using a warmer reservoir temperature (10-15c) and a significantly larger volume reservoir.

    Realistically, your chiller is pretty small, if you are talking about wattage input, you are about 1/10th of a horsepower - pretty small.

    On the reservoir, you are 1/4 the capacity of the still. Usually folks are talking about 2.5x the still volume and higher.

    The air/water heat exchangers on the return lines are a good suggestion to throw off additional heat without much cost.

    I would imagine you would want the ability to run back to back in the same day without finding yourself needing to dump the reservoir.

    If you are going to make the investment - I'd say go with at least 1000 liters on the reservoir and a least 1hp/1ton on the chiller. You might consider even larger if you are planning on mashing and using this system to cool your mash. Some would say my recommendation is undersized - because you likely wouldn't be able to mash and distill in a single day with that capacity.

  • edited March 2016

    We're currently working on putting an adiabatic cooler on the roof for mash cooling, as we think we can get away without the chiller for a good chunk of the year.

  • edited March 2016

    For comparison - we are running 1000 liters on the still, 2000 liters mash. We easily have more than 3000 liters total capacity on the reservoirs (about 15c).

    We can't mash and distill on the same day, we run out of cooling capacity on the reservoirs. We do run our PC temps on the cool side - about 20c. Mashing is the bigger issue, since we are a bourbon operation and cereal mash.

  • @grim said: We're currently working on putting an adiabatic cooler on the roof for mash cooling, as we think we can get away without the chiller for a good chunk of the year.

    Will you be able to share that design?

    StillDragon North America - Your StillDragon® Distributor for North America

  • Citrus runs 300 gallon reserve with a 5 ton chiller on their 1000L batches.

    Distillate remains very chilled for the duration. He is not mashing and distilling simultaneously.

    StillDragon North America - Your StillDragon® Distributor for North America

  • edited March 2016

    Adiabatic is a nice approach when you want to get closer to ambient, or below ambient, but don't want to use a chiller or a traditional cooling tower.

    Adiabatic system uses setup similar to a dry cooler - air-to-water heat exchanger and a fan, but incorporates water misters between the blower and the heat exchanger core. The evaporation of water off the core can drop the temperature closer to the wet bulb, versus ambient.

    Usually these systems have the water sprayers on a temperature control, and only run them when ambient is very high.

    For those of you who race cars, this is the exact same concept as an intercooler water spray.

    Even during the sweltering summer, it should be possible to hit a wet bulb of about 75F up here.

  • edited March 2016

    @smaug - yeah that is a good comparison - 5 ton chiller is 40 times larger than @algoth's proposed chiller, even if you cut the still size in half, it's still 20x too small for even a 1x reservoir.

    We can get away with less, probably because it's cooler up here, and half our reservoir capacity is buried pretty deep underground.

  • Hmmm... How many liters of cold water do you reckon I'll be needing on condenser and dephlegmator per patch? I'm just thinking if it would be a better idea to use water supply, collect the water and use it for fermenting and washing. Might be a lot cheaper and easier, thus less moving parts. KISS

  • What's your summer water temperature?

  • if you want 20L/hr of distillate, you need about 9kw(30Kbtu) of cooling capacity (by running scientific numbers of specific heat and evaporation enthalpy) just for the product condenser... that does not include using the dephlegmator...

    what you are talking about may not have been done exactly on here, but you need to go read through a couple thousand posts on here, there is a LOT of information discussed in the past three years on recirculating coolant..

    if you want to just use cooling water, I posted a thread that has a spreadsheet... Approximate water flow to cool a Dash 4?

  • edited March 2016

    @grim No idea, never measured it. Cold enough to make yer nipples hard in the shower, so I guess in the range of 5-7C. Right now it's 3C.

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