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Power Requirement & Boiler Size for 8" Column?

edited February 2014 in General

Hey all, just wondering how much power it takes to run a 8" column. Lets say, 2 to 3 single cap plates. Thanks for any feed back. Oh, also, what size boiler would be appropriate?



  • You looking at going 8" googe?

    From RDD thread it looks like he runs at about 22kw. But he uses i think it was 11 plates. At a guess maybe 10kw minimum to balance etc? Boiler size i reakon you'd have to have atleast a 200L boiler to have any reason to go 8". Look kind of silly sitting on your 50L keg =))

    I keep thinking i'll go bigger but i'm pretty content with my sub 4 hr runs with my still. Thats from heat up to clean up. These blokes who go the 6" route i reakon should be part of a brew club or something and all go in parts for the still/boiler. Actually that's a good idea lol

  • @RedDoorDistillery runs perf plates though bubble cap plates need less power to operate but are nominally the same (meaning bubble cap plates can accept a broader range of power input).

    @jonno is correct, if you want to go 8" you need a minimum of 10kW to play with and 12 or even 14 would be better depending on the number of plates as more plates need more power. 4 eight inch plates need at least 8kW as a bare minimum and 10kW is nominal to play with - so I'm told as I cannot power an 8"er yet but if I move into a new warehouse I am hopeful to do so.

    Lordy the bar raises on the power input as the column diameter increases. You need to have 3+kW regulated for a 4" x 4 plated column (12.5 square inches of plate area each plate) vs 8" (50+ square inches of plate area each plate).

    You need about 4 times as much power to drive a 8" column as you do a 4" column.

    The calcs are Area = pi times the radius squared. A 4" plate = 4" divided by 2 and squared = 4 times pi (3.14) = 12.5 (or thereabouts). But 8" would be 8 divided by 2 and squared = 16 times pi = about 50 or so. Huge difference in area and the power needed to drive the plate.

    So @googe I'd say you need to allot 10K of power as a minimum for 2 to 3 plates to be comfortable to power your 8" plates, it might be less but your controller will help you to tune that in.

  • Thanks.jono, just something im looking at for the future. I was thinking around 200~300L boiler too. was wondering what rdd was lol. I'll have a look for the thread. Thanks.for the info Lloyd, much appreciated!. That's alot of power but not do hard to deal.with I'd imagine. Thanks.again .

  • I compiled data from many sources and topics and I would suggest that 22kW to 27kW would be fairly typical for an 8" column.

    Don't forget that you might be wanting even more if you are trying to heat up for example, a 1000 litre boiler. Even if you don't use it all during the run, you may use a lot more to reduce your warm up times.

    The other aspect of this is that you should be thinking about thermal recovery after the run. There is a lot of energy in the boiler that normally gets discarded. Seems a bit wasteful to me.

  • With 11 perforated plates on an 8" column I run around 21k watts for a final run. For the strip run I was doing today I was running 33k watts today. Less plates needs less watts. Also the bubble caps require less power as well. I have up to 44k watts that I can use but I only use that much during the heat up. Just keep in mind that you can always use less that what you have. But you only have what you have as the max... I tend to over plan and under use. 1000Liter charge takes along time to heat up if you don't have a lot of power to throw at it.

  • Thanks for the info fellas, much appreciated :-). Just found your thread rdd, will have a read.

  • @googe said: Thanks for the info fellas, much appreciated :-). Just found your thread rdd, will have a read.

    It is one of the best threads on the forum @googe. RDD is an awesome resource and everyone here should pick his brains at every opportunity. Plus he single-handedly forced the development of the 8" Crystal Dragon, dragging all of StillDragon along for the ride, which led to the 4", 6" and now the 5" CD's.

    He is one of the very few commercial distillers that openly shares his knowledge with us.
    I've learned to listen when that man speaks so if he says you should plan for 1.21 gigawatts then that's what you should do. (Me? I blow a fuse with a toaster oven with no possible power upgrade path in the near future). ++insert bleeding heart emoticon here++

  • Is anyone using gas direct firing? We're looking to use a 600lt boiler (400L wash) with our shiny new 6 bubble plate 8" crystal dragon :) in a commercial on farm operation. 3 phase isn’t an option so looks like direct firing with lpg (or wood - exhausting!!). I'm thinking I'd need at least 70,000 btu (20kWh) or maybe up to 140,000btu?

  • I think your running speed may be just a bit less than 70, 000 btu.

    With 140, 000 available, you would be in good shape for heat up. I would recommend an agitator for sure.

    StillDragon North America - Your StillDragon® Distributor for North America

  • With 11 plates on an 8" glass column I find 15Kw an absolute minimum. I have 21Kw which is good for initial warm up, thereafter I use 9 - 15Kw throughout the run.

  • Thanks @Grip. We get so little feedback on 8" columns except from you and @RedDoorDistillery but it's critical to folks that are wanting to go commercial.

    If you could start with a clean page and do it all again, what would you do or order differently?

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