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Using Condenser Water to Chill Dephlamator

Hi guys, I was taking with a chiller salesman and mentioned that distillers are running 50-55 degree water to condenser and using the warmer water to chill the dephlegmators. Is this the norm?

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  • edited September 4

    It is only the norm / effective if you have a well endowed product condenser. A PC that is not dependent upon flow rates.

    Otherwise the cooling capacity needed to effectively cool your product will not have the latitude to let vapor pass by your reflux condenser. Similarly, the flow rate that allows vapor to pass through the dephlegmator will not be enough capacity to cool your product.

    This is why the smaller PCs need to be independently plumbed from the reflux condensers.

    How big is your PC? What style PC?

    StillDragon North America - Your StillDragon® Distributor for North America

  • ask your chiller salesman how efficient his chillers are at taking in 170F return ;-)

  • Really meant to ask how big is your entire system? Because,,,BTUs

    StillDragon North America - Your StillDragon® Distributor for North America

  • Ah,,I see what you have. Nope. Independent flow control for each condenser. You will have far more control over how the system behaves.

    Btw, flow control valves on the discharge side of each condenser.

    StillDragon North America - Your StillDragon® Distributor for North America

  • edited September 4

    @Smaug

    My stills arrived today from StillDragon Europe.

    They won't be used until the cooling water system is in place.

    Regarding controlling the flow to the reflux (dephlegmator), I'm using a needle valve to control flow.

    I was going to put this at the bottom (inlet).

    Are you saying it is better to put the needle valve at the top (outlet)?

  • edited September 4

    No.

    Ideally, counter flow is optimal but not a requisite for dephlegmator operation.

    However you decide to plumb, just make sure you control the flow from the discharge side or you'll never get the shell entirely filled with cooling medium.

    If you feed from the top you'll need to fashion a nipple of sorts that insures the liquid level extends higher than the bottom of the top inlet port. We feed from the bottom to avoid having to do this.

    None of this is requisite much of the time. But is best practice especially if you are trying to optimize knock down power for larger reflux ratios.

    StillDragon North America - Your StillDragon® Distributor for North America

  • Some guys will install an air purge at the top to insure only water occupies all of the space within the shell.

    But most of us reckon that degree of optimized plumbing is not needed.

    StillDragon North America - Your StillDragon® Distributor for North America

  • My point is more or less, if you don't bleed out all the air and also avoid the siphoning effect,,counter flow plumbing is rendered less efficient than feeding from the bottom and flow control from the top as the discharge,,,if you see my meaning?

    StillDragon North America - Your StillDragon® Distributor for North America

  • edited September 5

    I must be missing something here. I had better re read and digest. RC is easy to counterflow and and i flow control thru flow meter at bottom inlet . The outlet is to waste at zero pressure so the rc must be full except possibly from the outlet connection to the top - a small amount.

    Same with PC but not counter flow. Feed via flow meter /needle valve at bottom to waste at top so PC has to be full - again maybe not the bit above outlet pipe.

    I guess by metering from the top you might fill that last tiny bit. If you fill and meter from the top and drain at bottom then the drain rate could exceed the fill rate then it might be only partially full which is def a problem that would be solved by bottom control.

    Edit Its my wrong idea of counter flow that has me confused here i believe - and makes more sense to control at bottom of RC. I am not counterflowing my RC but am my PC so had my brain in neutral. Apologies

  • I see your edit, to make it clear to others:

    bottom inlet on RC is not counter flow.. both are going up...

  • Does the temperature matter as much o. The dephlamators? I ask because I am looking at a 2 ton chiller with a 6.8 gpm nominal flow rate. I'm not sure t bgg ar could handle all 3.

  • I dont know I use my 75m3 swimming pool. No problems for cooling water for me. I am thinking at my distillery I might put in a medium sized pool. One for cooling water and two for getting the Venezuealan and Argentine customer service gals to come over on a Sunday and put on their bikinis and have a swim. Hmmmmmm Good thing.

  • @rickthenewb said: Does the temperature matter as much o. The dephlamators? I ask because I am looking at a 2 ton chiller with a 6.8 gpm nominal flow rate. I'm not sure t bgg ar could handle all 3.

    If you flow too cold of water through the dephlegmator, you are 'subcooling' the reflux liquid and wasting a lot of distilling energy... to get the level of reflux you want, the cold water may also be making lots of very cold drops... so, a lot of warm water is better than a small amount of cool water... and faster flow is better than slower flow...

    For the RC, a simple fan loop using ambient air might be better than mechanically refrigerated liquid... my RC internal temp is cooled to 150F... the exit water is a bit above that, then it goes through a 2x2 radiator and fan, a combo unit called a '200kbtu hydronic heater'. The water returns to a small storage tank before the pump at about 5 degrees above ambient...

    Anther alternative might be to use a 2nd pump to keep the RC flowing in a loop, and use a three way valve to allow hot water to exit the loop to the chiller circuit, the chiller pump would force a small amount of new, cold water in to mix.

    all these methods have been well discussed with photos and/or videos if you search a bit.

  • @DonMateo said: I dont know I use my 75m3 swimming pool. No problems for cooling water for me. I am thinking at my distillery I might put in a medium sized pool. One for cooling water and two for getting the Venezuealan and Argentine customer service gals to come over on a Sunday and put on their bikinis and have a swim. Hmmmmmm Good thing.

    Won't that put chlorine through your stainless system? I think that will end up rusting it.

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  • edited September 5

    @Smaug

    Yes, understood. I was not referring to using the top of the condenser as the inlet - just installing the valve at the top (outlet).

    The water will always enter the condenser at the bottom.

  • @Homebrew said: Smaug

    Yes, understood. I was not referring to using the top of the condenser as the inlet - just installing the valve at the top (outlet).

    The water will always enter the condenser at the bottom.

    Yes sir that's the idea.

    You'll likely want to loop down your piping so that you can keep your flow control valves within easy reach. A ball valve on the PC is really not an issue. But you'll definitely want more precision for throttling your flow control for your dephlegmators.

    Do you plan on metering your coolant flow with a flow measuring devise of some kind?

    StillDragon North America - Your StillDragon® Distributor for North America

  • edited September 6

    @Smaug

    Yes, I have flow meters with a separate LCD panel on a 1 metre cable.

    4x separate circuits for each condenser.

  • @Homebrew said: @ Smaug

    Yes, I have flow meters with a separate LCD panel on a 1 metre cable.

    4x separate circuits for each condenser.

    Ah ok. You're all plugged in.

    StillDragon North America - Your StillDragon® Distributor for North America

  • @punkin thanks for the tip. I hadnt thought about that. My first thought about a cooling system was 8 x 1m3 IBC totes. which should be enough for a 1000l boiler and a couple of 200l or gin stills. Maybe I could do the pool just for the bikini girls. Could work for a number of reasons.

  • Can't confirm @DonMateo, but you may be able to overdose your pool water with calcium carbonate to protect the metal. It is the same technique used to protect the SS ladder in the deep end of the swimming pool as well as the masonry finish.

    StillDragon North America - Your StillDragon® Distributor for North America

  • You can use 316 stainless too, about twice as resistant as 304 according to the link.

    StillDragon Australia & New Zealand - Your StillDragon® Distributor for Australia & New Zealand

  • I was planning to use some IBC totes. I have the real estate and they are very cheap here. Recently I bought one for about $100 for a 1200l tote. The funny thing was it was used to transport peroxide at 20% so when I got it it was flushed out but completely sterile. Score.

  • @Homebrew said: Yes, I have flow meters with a separate LCD panel on a 1 metre cable.

    4x separate circuits for each condenser.

    Model, make etc. and pictures of these would be great.

  • Our city water here is between 14-45ppm. And that doesn’t seem like it’s overly chlorinated wither. According to the article 20ppm is max for 316.

    I think you could wave a bottle of bleach over a glass of spring water and get it to 14ppm.

  • edited September 6

    @richard said: Model, make etc. and pictures of these would be great.

    6710M-66 Digital Flow Meter 2.4~60.0 Litres/Min 3/4" BSPM @ vyair

    image

    The wire in the photo is much longer, 1.5 metres.

    I will install these above a 22mm to 15mm manifold (4 port) and then install the LCD panels higher up above table level, next to each other.

    That model is for 3/4" BSP, which suits my requirement for a 15mm pipe.

    Ones with larger bores are available. Plus panel mounted LCDs.

    Here: Digital Flow Meters @ yvair

    I'm building the system to take water from a 3000 litre tank and then run 4x 15mm lines for 4x condensers.

    digiflow.jpg
    492 x 371 - 14K
  • I use those, they are great in their range, (somewhat narrow), and make sure they are on the cold side, preferably right after the pump... if you want to measure smaller flows, the 1/4" one is good... I have mostly migrated to these 1/2" brass ones and using arduino and brucontrol to display on my panel..

    image

    If they could machine those threaded ends into 19mm TC, they would be perfect...

    image.jpg
    800 x 702 - 41K
  • 2.4 to 60l is a pretty big range and on my PC a lot of the time i would be below 2.4. There was another something like 1.5 to 30 which seems a better range. Totaling flow is good but for just an indicator there is nothing wrong with the plastic bobbin indicator valve unit.

  • Yeah I’m usually between 1.5-8lpm on my reflux.

  • you just gotta look a bit... if someone carries one 6710M, they likely carry more... that is the 3/4" one, the 1/2" one is 1/5L/min, and the 1/4" one is 0.2l/m minimum...

    Search results for: '6710m' @ vyair

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