Induction Heating A Still?

I know next to nothing about induction heating. I do know that it can cause things to get hot quickly without a ton of power. Would it be possible to use induction heating to power a Baine Marie still similarly as powerfully as steam? How efficient/effective would it be compared to steam? I'm thinking about our next step up that will probably be a 1000+ still. I would like to avoid steam for the capital cost but I'm not totally against it. Our building has 800v 3 phase as well as a sizable gas supply. I would like to be able to compare the different scenarios.

What are your thoughts and what should I consider? Thanks!


  • edited March 2022

    You need a magnetic metal for induction to heat. Austenitic stainless like 304 won’t work, nor will copper.

    For it to work well, you need a thick magnetic metal base plate to serve as the heating surface. This could be in direct contact with something like 304 or copper. Realistically, this would be similar to simply attaching resistive heating elements to a heavy steel plate, there isn’t any magic here. It is not more efficient than immersion elements, it’s less efficient.

    Not sure where someone would find an induction coil large enough for a 1000 liter tank. I’d hate to be wearing metal anywhere near that thing ;)

  • Pace maker ?? :D

  • edited March 2022

    Single Malt Yitzer. Well I am probably one of the few people that have tried this. But not with a 1000l; still with a 100l still. I had a 100l still set up such that I could slide an industrial induction hot plate under neath it and use that to heat it up and what I found was the following. The first problem was that those induction coils heat up metal only in certain zones and I was getting really hot temperatures in a ring on the bottom of the boiler, which was stainless steel, which does heat up but not very well. So I got a ring of metal that was between 150 to 200 deg and everything else was cool. And so what happened in that ring area there was burning and caramelisation of the wash, at least for the stripping run. The final product didnt taste great as a result. So that was one good reason to stop doing it.

    I then thought about doing it on a larger scale but the problem really comes down to kW you can put into a boiler. The biggest of those industrial hotplates you can buy is about 4kw. And they end up being huge. So if you had a custom system where you could slide say 3 under there that might work but your still only putting in say 12kw. You can get 12 kw from 2 induction elements, either in immersion or bain Marie.

    With your space and energy requirements for 1000l go bain Marie, SD product of course. If you have 800v three phase you should be able to pull the amps. There has been much discussion on this website about advantages of Bain Marie but I am a beleiver. Occaisionally when I try some of my first whiskeys that I made using immersion elements they are just not as good as Bain Marie. There is a step change in quality and flavor from when I started using bain marie. No more funny caramel flavors and burnt grains. Lots more grain flavors because you dont worry about bits of grain getting into the boiler. Just more flavor.

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