Continuous Stripping with a Fractionating Column

Does anyone have any detailed designs they can post here for craft distilling.

I see there is a Russian (??) design that uses water feed into a Rims boiler for steam creation that then feeds direct into two columns (strip & fractionating). The element that they use is from a 3KW upwards and can achieve + 6 lpm upwards of final product.

Further if you have further designs that additionally include for rectification that would be great.

PFD's, PID's assy plans etc. would be great.




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  • I like that fire extinguisher mounted to the still.

    Although it's a little bit more like "getting burned at the stake" than a safety precaution.

  • edited May 2017

    Based on a number of previous discussions/posts/experiments - I think the collective here would be highly doubtful of any continuous column that doesn't include some mechanism for degassing.

  • Once the fire is burning, the extinguisher will go poof hopefully extinguishing by explosion

  • @grim we changed our degassing a while back to using an additive defoamer, we installed mixers on our fermenters to keep the defoamer colloidal, it tends to separate if not mixed, with fermcap we use 1ml per gallon, we have another type of defoamer we are going to experiment with soon that is cheaper and should require less, yet still a silicone based defoamer. I will update my continuous still thread in a week or two with detailed findings, things i would change, and my general consensus after running it for a year and a half

  • It would be much appreciated (by many).

  • It seems that that the discussion has been missed.

    Does anyone have more technical data info, PID's, PFD's etc. on these multi column continuous variations.

  • edited May 2017


    There are a couple of other threads that discuss continuous distillation including this one I started.

  • @grim said: Based on a number of previous discussions/posts/experiments - I think the collective here would be highly doubtful of any continuous column that doesn't include some mechanism for degassing.

    I'm kinda a half-assed exception to that collective. I really think that the primary issue with experiments so far has been not enough flow thru the plates. I feel this is supported by the stills the Russians used that @crozdog mentioned, and the stills that that other company is using who's video I linked to showing thier plate experiments. None of which are using degassing.

    personally, i dont think the procaps flow enough for continuous.

    Does SD sell blank plates?

    all that said, even tho I think we can get higher flow rates with simple perf plates, I do think that degassing will be needed for that final 10% tweaking.

  • @Fiji_Spirits the flow issue is really only the stripping column, ive been running perf plates with downcomers but no cups, the cups back it up enough, dual flow plates and packing have all been considered as well, I would agree that pro cap plates would still run into the issue you have stated. Im sure SD can get you whatever plate you want. @richard as for process flow diagrams there has been a few posted

  • @crozdog is working on his perf plates using 5mm holes with a remaining 20% surface area. This may be closer to optimization than what we've been trying here.

    I like the idea of ProCaps above the RC for rectification tho. The 4" can handle almost 10L/hr IIRC.

  • Back to Richard's questions above, about PID and Continuous.

    I'd imagine PID control is the opposite of what is required. Continuous still runs like a steady-state machine, the parameters do not fluctuate in a way that should require a PID to compensate for.

    I would imagine, ideally, once the feed rate is dialed in, and the reboiler power is dialed in, the machine runs ... and runs ... and runs.

    The only real variable here is feed temperature - but assuming you are feeding the monster with a huge reservoir (why else would you use continuous?) - while there would be run to run variation, it shouldn't vary during a run.

  • edited May 2017

    My quick comment is;

    1. Much faster than a pot distilled batch
    2. Far less energy than a pot stilled batch
    3. Less floor foot print in your plant
    4. Job is complete earlier leaving you to do other activities

    I am aware that ideally for a multi columned plant that it is more ideally suited for large volumes. But my quick thought that anything between 500 L to +1,000 L especially for stripping this is of great interest.

  • Other than commercially produced stills, @Telluride is the only one that I've seen who is running a viable continuous system. And I've talked to folks who have purchased continuous stills from some well known commercial (albeit smaller) names, and they've had real problems, most notably not even remotely being able to feed at an acceptable rate. I won't name names, but there is lots of disappointment.

    The small size/small investment angle falls apart if you adhere to the principle of "thou shalt never let a still run unattended".

    1000 liters in an hour 8 shift, that's realistically 6 hours of runtime before setup and teardown, but for the sake of argument, let's say 8 hour start to finish run - that's 125 liters an hour/33 gallons an hour or 2 liters a minute/0.5 gallon a minute.

    Sorry that little russian rocket isn't going to do it.

  • You are quite correct, it was meant more for the larger units. But in any case the Russian rocket was only intended to show ideas. But you have to admit that it leads to sparking of ideas.

    In any case his quality of manufacture I reckon is dog shit crap.

  • edited May 2017

    And we aren't even remotely touching on stripping beer with solids, which is going to require way more height, way more diameter, as the trays need to be very inefficient (on purpose) to allow solids to drop.

  • A centrifugal liquid solid separator would fix the grain in situation, there was a russell finex one on adi forums for $15k, we use a bcs-462 plc controller, you could run multiple pid controllers. The original headframe still was 8 or so pid controllers. 5mm holes are right around the minimum for dual flow trays, which should work well at the smaller 4" to 8" column sizes.

  • I have this commercial juicer called the Ruby 3000. I uses a centrifuge action with a perforated basket. Upon entry blades at the bottom chop up the solids and they are spun out and up the slopes wall of the basket. The juice goes out one hole and the solids out another. It has about a 1.5-2 horse motor and would be able to handle corn and grain I think. It also only costs $1500 iirc.

    There would still be some very small sub 1mm fibers left tho.

    I wonder if such a machine might be useful? I don't do grain so I can't really test it beyond juicing things.

  • edited May 2017

    This unit is stripping beer with solids. The stripping column if I have it correct, has 19 plates.


  • Richard, I would love the same thing you are asking for, but have slowly come to a realization...... Folks like Vendome have figured out the secret sauce and want some recovery in their investment, and even tiny manufacturers like Dehner/red-boot have figured it out.. I think sheer size is one thing no one here has really tacked...... a 8" SD system with 4 4-plate stainless sections and some cool plates would be nice, but a LOT of effort in tuning the feed and other controls

    The Vendome 12.75" and 14" stills... (which are made to handle 3.5GPM and 5.0GPM of mash with solids) the base price for stainless with 14 sieve trays (25' tall) and basic feed controls seems to be about $120k, but switch to copper, with touchscreen, 3 rectifying plates, and a doubler to make whiskey, etc.. you are looking at $250k... tried to upload brochure, having issues, it is only a 680k PDF...

  • edited May 2017

    @CothermanDistilling good dual flow tray info here:

    Tray Columns: Design (PDF)

  • finding drawings is one thing, constructing a fractioning still with actual metal.... well....

  • edited May 2017

    Ill figure out a video soon, its spits out 75-80% just dont try to flood the column with too much steam and too much mash, otherwise we have what @grim and i discussed, the stripping column floods. Which is why i posted the link to the dual flow trays, I feel like it could be possible to push more through with a different type of tray, problem is when i try to mess around with everything the still works like crap again.



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    The second photo on the previous post was to show how we attach the mixers to our 2000l letina open tops, heres the proof im running at right now, we do collect heads and tails get recirculated. I really hate my peristaltic pumps, vfd controlled centrifugal pumps with a control valve would be nice, but we continually find something else to spend any access profits, so we just let this guy keep pluggin away.


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    All my temps, remember im at 9500' above sea level, so everything should be much lower for almost everyone else.


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  • Great find @CothermanDistilling!!

    @Telluride love your setup and look forward to more updates.

    My goal for a continuous is to kinda maximize the production capacity of a column of a given diameter, Lets say 4". the article mentions the dual flow tray and dismisses it due to small market share and narrow operating range. I WANT TO BE THERE THO!! lol It's simple, fast and cheap, with the drawback of needing enough power and feed to keep it running and being limited to that level basically. I dont want a complicated plate I cant build or buy.

    so I looked closer at the pictured plate and did some off the cuff calculations based on the descriptions in the paper.

    Assuming a 5mm hole and a 300mm plate, they show a plate with_ hole area of about 18%_ of surface area. I note this is larger than what they discuss as optimal for WIER type which they put at about 10%. these calculated numbers again fall in with what @crozdog mentions the russians are working with on thier sieve plates.

    REALIZING that everyone does not have the power to input into a system or for other reasons wants slower production, there seems to be a solution for this. The "Tuneable Seive Plate".

    Simply, its two sieve plates screwed or pinned together that rotate against each other. one smaller diameter plate provides the adjustment in effective hole size, AND keeps unit thickness to one standard plate. Drill each with 6mm holes totalling 20% of surface area. the plates can be slightly offset to adjust size, allowing for all manner of power levels from 11000w to 2400w.

    If a person wants to convert thier SD unit to a continuous they only need buy these plates and rock out. settings could even be scribed in.

    The idea of using procaps is all well and good, but far from optimal i think. to my mind the operating flow rate out of a continuous needs to be at least equal to what that same column can do in batch mode.

    Would this be more workable for most people?

  • edited May 2017

    I have found quite a bit of info, ..... and a lot of it is above my head; :-?

    Basically some key points for proposed output are;

    • Diameter of column
    • Quantity of plates for total column height
    • Diameter of and quantity of holes for perforated plate (open area)
    • Area / size of down comer
    • Height of weir / wall for bed depth
    • Vapour flow
    • Pressure differentials so as to prevent weep

    Basically to find a well detailed working example with calculations is also quite difficult.

    But nothing is quick and all takes time.

    Have a look to this thread that I found on another site. Have a look to all the way at bottom for Excel file......... (For some reason I can not UPLOAD an Excel file here ???)

    Calculation of Minimum Column Diameter for sieve plate @ HD

  • I am a firm believer that liquid travelling across the tray is very beneficial.. I have 26 8" pro-cap plates and it still seems like of effort to get true, calibrated 190 proof... I can crank 180-185 proof at 30-40+ liters an hour, but the last few proof points are a pain and I have to have a lot more reflux.

    I also think that with the right tools, the plates are easy to make in volume, laser/waterjet/mill or what not for the plates, and bend the partial circle downcomers from thinner sheet and braze or drop/press in...... I would say a single hole size for 4,5,6,8", and a prescribed power and feed rate.... it is continuous, it is easier for users to match the requirements of the plates than to make adjustable plates... and picture one of the plates in the middle of an 8-plate section moving a bit or not being assembled just right......

  • Nice.

    Columns done with a whole lot of clamped sections with perforated plates.

    BUT what if the plates are not clamped between sections (i.e. one long piece of continuous tube), how do you ensure similar efficiency without fear of bypass between plate and wall ??

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