Water cooling systems

Built or modified a still? Designed a great gadget? Tell us here!
User avatar
myles
Valued Member / Donated to SS
Posts: 261
Joined: Wed Apr 03, 2019 9:24 pm

Water cooling systems

Post by myles »

I just put in a new cooling system for my two electric stills.
I have a 3 kW packed column and a 6 kW cask boiler that can be used with either a pot still or a plated column. The pot still is in use at the moment.

I have put in a 1000 litre IBC, re-plumbed the supply lines with 1/2" pressure hose, and used flexible braided hoses to connect the supplies to the condensers. I also fitted a copper "radiator" into the return line to the reservoir to try and shed some heat from the warm water.
Cooling supply.png
The ceiling has been insulated and clad with white upvc for a clean look. In the summer I will repaint and fit a new floor. May even fit it out with new units and worktops, instead of the odds and ends that I am currently using.

User avatar
Jennysgin
Moderator
Posts: 332
Joined: Wed May 08, 2019 11:45 pm
Location: Scotland

Re: Water cooling systems

Post by Jennysgin »

My goodness you've been busy Myles! That looks amazing :clap: :clap:
Did you need to strengthen the floor for the water tank?

User avatar
Easydrinker
Admin/Donated to SS
Posts: 2110
Joined: Sun Feb 17, 2019 8:15 am
Location: The Hills of Lowland Scotland

Re: Water cooling systems

Post by Easydrinker »

That looke impressive myles, and may give you some re-usable heat as well.

Robert.
There is no ONE way.
"Everyone's happy. Everyone's smiling. No-One here is sad anymore" :D

User avatar
myles
Valued Member / Donated to SS
Posts: 261
Joined: Wed Apr 03, 2019 9:24 pm

Re: Water cooling systems

Post by myles »

The room is a breeze block built garage with a concrete slab floor, that I have re-purposed. It is cool (ambient 7 deg C at the moment) so any extra heat is welcome.
The floor is fine. Walls need to be re-painted as they had 1 coat about 10 years ago just to seal in the dust.

In the summer I will probably empty it, repaint, and put in a timber T&G floor to make it more comfortable to work in.
I have re-done the wiring for power and lights, my controller is on a dedicated 32 amp circuit.

User avatar
Maker
Admin/Donated to SS
Posts: 183
Joined: Sat Feb 16, 2019 7:52 pm

Re: Water cooling systems

Post by Maker »

I am assuming you are circulating the water from the IBC back in to itself?
How much increase in IBC temperature do you predict over the run and do you think it will make the running of the still more tricky with an ever increasing coolant temp?
I can see if you are in pot mode it would have little impact but using reflux I can see problems.

This is something I have been pondering since I tried something similar with a 40L tub and frozen water bottles back in the early days, did not go well for me... the increasing temp to reflux cooler meant I was constantly tweaking things, I was cooking on gas back then and had a very small condenser which did not help, the still went out of control very easily. I thought 2 large containers where you pump one in to the other would be my next try.
I'm not as think as you drunk I am...

User avatar
Mash
Valued Member / Donated to SS
Posts: 2036
Joined: Wed Feb 20, 2019 7:25 pm
Location: In front of PC.

Re: Water cooling systems

Post by Mash »

Can I have some seeds or a cutting please Myles. You clearly have a copper pipe tree in the garden :D

I did think of doing something similar as a condenser, pitched over at 45 degrees. Good work.
To Gin-finity and beyond !

User avatar
myles
Valued Member / Donated to SS
Posts: 261
Joined: Wed Apr 03, 2019 9:24 pm

Re: Water cooling systems

Post by myles »

Maker wrote:
Fri Jan 10, 2020 11:54 pm
I am assuming you are circulating the water from the IBC back in to itself?
How much increase in IBC temperature do you predict over the run and do you think it will make the running of the still more tricky with an ever increasing coolant temp?
I can see if you are in pot mode it would have little impact but using reflux I can see problems.

This is something I have been pondering since I tried something similar with a 40L tub and frozen water bottles back in the early days, did not go well for me... the increasing temp to reflux cooler meant I was constantly tweaking things, I was cooking on gas back then and had a very small condenser which did not help, the still went out of control very easily. I thought 2 large containers where you pump one in to the other would be my next try.
Yes recirculating back to the IBC.
It depends on the relative sizes of the boiler and reservoir. My packed column is on a 50 litre keg (40 litre boiler charge), because I wanted to be able to complete a run in a reasonable time frame. Any bigger and the run times are excessive. As the RC on a packed column is typically putting out HOT (or at least very warm) water, this does put a strain on the cooling supply on longer runs.

My packed column is an LM design with a horizontal tube and shell condenser with a liquid heads trap between the RC and the product/vapour splitter section. These style of RC can cope with a warm water supply, and mine is plumbed in series with a product cooler. Product cooler first and then RC.
crossflow head.png
LM 4.png
The product valve is on the other side of the column. That top valve is to remove the heads.

My other still uses an 80 litres cask - so that is typically a 65 to 70 litre boiler charge.
I used to run this on a 150 litre drum of water. With either the pot still or the plated column a single run can heat this water to 35 or 40 deg C. On a cleaning run on the plated column at 100% reflux, I have managed to get it a lot hotter - by mistake. I recommend a minimum water supply of 2 x boiler charge unless you have additional means of cooling the water. I used to run the return water hose in a 100 foot loop outside on the ground, before it returned to the drum. Inconvenient and only useful in cold conditions.

By increasing to 1000 litres I hope to be able to do a couple of runs before the water gets too warm. That is also why I put in the copper return path - I used 24 meters of 15 mm copper tube - to try and shed heat before the water goes back into the reservoir.

The other method I have seen that works well on a pot still or plated column, is to use a worm condenser in a separate tub of water BEFORE the product condenser. This generates a secondary supply of HOT water by the end of the run, and removes a lot of heat from returning to the main reservoir. When I set up the bigger gas heated strip still, I will probably use this method.

User avatar
myles
Valued Member / Donated to SS
Posts: 261
Joined: Wed Apr 03, 2019 9:24 pm

Re: Water cooling systems

Post by myles »

Please feel free to add in YOUR own rigs.

I am a big fan of the air cooled option, and it does work within the power limitations imposed on it. For a small boiler system it really can be a viable option, and I have used it in some places where it would have been a real problem if I had been caught!!!

If you run a car radiator system, or a cooling tower, or anything else, please add them. Do you run a backwood rig with a cooling coil submerged in a stream? Please show us. :)

I did have a 3 gallon pot still once that used a swamp cooler style (damp) air cooled coil. Unfortunately I can't show any pictures of that particular rig.

User avatar
myles
Valued Member / Donated to SS
Posts: 261
Joined: Wed Apr 03, 2019 9:24 pm

Re: Water cooling systems

Post by myles »

I just added in the temperature monitor that arrived in the mail yesterday. It is measuring the temperature of the water coming out of the reservoir.
Temp monitor.png
No batteries, it generates its own power from the water flowing through it. Because I use flexible braided tap connectors in my system to connect supply hoses to condensers, I may even fit another one of these into the output line on the packed column. Just to get an indication of the water temperature inside the reflux condenser.

User avatar
Mash
Valued Member / Donated to SS
Posts: 2036
Joined: Wed Feb 20, 2019 7:25 pm
Location: In front of PC.

Re: Water cooling systems

Post by Mash »

Now that is clever (& handy)
To Gin-finity and beyond !

User avatar
myles
Valued Member / Donated to SS
Posts: 261
Joined: Wed Apr 03, 2019 9:24 pm

Re: Water cooling systems

Post by myles »

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07 ... UTF8&psc=1
They are intended to go into mixer taps on baths or showers, so you can monitor the water temperature and not burn children.
Clever and convenient with applications for us. :D

User avatar
Easydrinker
Admin/Donated to SS
Posts: 2110
Joined: Sun Feb 17, 2019 8:15 am
Location: The Hills of Lowland Scotland

Re: Water cooling systems

Post by Easydrinker »

Very tidy lttle gadget.

Robert.
There is no ONE way.
"Everyone's happy. Everyone's smiling. No-One here is sad anymore" :D

User avatar
Mash
Valued Member / Donated to SS
Posts: 2036
Joined: Wed Feb 20, 2019 7:25 pm
Location: In front of PC.

Re: Water cooling systems

Post by Mash »

My mind is spinning with ideas.
Domestic water temps (renewables)
Beer IC temps (in and out)
Parrot
Beer wort exit temp.

Cracking find.

Ps. Might get one lol.
To Gin-finity and beyond !

Swedish Pride
Valued Member
Posts: 144
Joined: Wed Jul 31, 2019 9:36 am

Re: Water cooling systems

Post by Swedish Pride »

myles wrote:
Sat Jan 11, 2020 8:18 pm
Please feel free to add in YOUR own rigs.

I am a big fan of the air cooled option, and it does work within the power limitations imposed on it. For a small boiler system it really can be a viable option, and I have used it in some places where it would have been a real problem if I had been caught!!!

If you run a car radiator system, or a cooling tower, or anything else, please add them. Do you run a backwood rig with a cooling coil submerged in a stream? Please show us. :)

I did have a 3 gallon pot still once that used a swamp cooler style (damp) air cooled coil. Unfortunately I can't show any pictures of that particular rig.
would love to have to room for something like that, alas my stilling area is my kitchen, I'd be handed my shipping order if i even brought up a permanent installation like that.

User avatar
Leatherman
Valued Member
Posts: 38
Joined: Sat Mar 02, 2019 8:20 pm

Re: Water cooling systems

Post by Leatherman »

Hi guys,

I have a question, my new 4" 5plate column is on its way and I am not fancy cooling it with running water and would like to make a recycling system. Would it work if I would use 200L water butt? I use 50L beer keg as a boiler. I mean should I consider a bigger butt or water tank? Or 200L would manage not to heat up so much?

User avatar
myles
Valued Member / Donated to SS
Posts: 261
Joined: Wed Apr 03, 2019 9:24 pm

Re: Water cooling systems

Post by myles »

200 should do you for one run and you can always drop big blocks of ice in the reservoir. The real issue is if you wish to do back to back runs.

For example a strip run closely followed by a spirit run. You might find that scenario would warm it up a lot. If you can schedule time for the reservoir to cool down between runs then it should not be a problem.

User avatar
Easydrinker
Admin/Donated to SS
Posts: 2110
Joined: Sun Feb 17, 2019 8:15 am
Location: The Hills of Lowland Scotland

Re: Water cooling systems

Post by Easydrinker »

I think 200 lts will be fine for the next few months.
In the summer, it may be an idea to add another water butt to the system.

Robert.
There is no ONE way.
"Everyone's happy. Everyone's smiling. No-One here is sad anymore" :D

User avatar
Mash
Valued Member / Donated to SS
Posts: 2036
Joined: Wed Feb 20, 2019 7:25 pm
Location: In front of PC.

Re: Water cooling systems

Post by Mash »

If we are talking about outside, rain filled water butts, is it worth considering a simple water filter to keep the crud out and occasionally lobbing in some chlorine tablets??
To Gin-finity and beyond !

User avatar
myles
Valued Member / Donated to SS
Posts: 261
Joined: Wed Apr 03, 2019 9:24 pm

Re: Water cooling systems

Post by myles »

A water filter on a rainwater store is a good idea.
In the past I used to just replace the water every few months. However, now I have a bigger reservoir I have been looking at the concept of water treatment.
Possibly the same treatment as a hot tub? I don't know because I have never tried it myself. Does anyone have any ideas?
It is only cooling water, but I suppose you do not want a build up of algae or slime inside your hoses and condensers.

User avatar
Mash
Valued Member / Donated to SS
Posts: 2036
Joined: Wed Feb 20, 2019 7:25 pm
Location: In front of PC.

Re: Water cooling systems

Post by Mash »

myles wrote:
Mon Jan 20, 2020 8:09 am

Possibly the same treatment as a hot tub? I don't know because I have never tried it myself. Does anyone have any ideas?
Oooooh yes - thats why I mentioned it - & yes in many guises.
What else are you planning to use the water for and what color is the IBC?
To Gin-finity and beyond !

User avatar
EchoSevenNine
Valued Member / Donated to SS
Posts: 298
Joined: Tue Mar 19, 2019 12:45 pm
Location: Northern Ireland
Contact:

Re: Water cooling systems

Post by EchoSevenNine »

Bloody hell Myles😂

A hero amongst men,... What a setup!
Something... something inspiring and Signature related.

User avatar
myles
Valued Member / Donated to SS
Posts: 261
Joined: Wed Apr 03, 2019 9:24 pm

Re: Water cooling systems

Post by myles »

Mash wrote:
Mon Jan 20, 2020 4:19 pm

Oooooh yes - thats why I mentioned it - & yes in many guises.
What else are you planning to use the water for and what color is the IBC?
It is a white IBC, semi translucent, you can see the water level inside it. It is indoors under LED lighting, and it is dedicated as a coolant supply. Not used for anything else.

User avatar
Easydrinker
Admin/Donated to SS
Posts: 2110
Joined: Sun Feb 17, 2019 8:15 am
Location: The Hills of Lowland Scotland

Re: Water cooling systems

Post by Easydrinker »

I would expect a little chlorine to be the easy way to go.?

Robert.
There is no ONE way.
"Everyone's happy. Everyone's smiling. No-One here is sad anymore" :D

User avatar
Mash
Valued Member / Donated to SS
Posts: 2036
Joined: Wed Feb 20, 2019 7:25 pm
Location: In front of PC.

Re: Water cooling systems

Post by Mash »

myles wrote:
Mon Jan 20, 2020 11:17 pm

It is a white IBC, semi translucent, you can see the water level inside it. It is indoors under LED lighting, and it is dedicated as a coolant supply. Not used for anything else.
As it is indoors, I would add copper sulphate. At 50ppm it is a simple fungicide. Not sure how easy it is to get, I can post if you handful - picked up a sack full in Italy and discovered it goes on forever. Even when you use it on the veggies.
To Gin-finity and beyond !

User avatar
myles
Valued Member / Donated to SS
Posts: 261
Joined: Wed Apr 03, 2019 9:24 pm

Re: Water cooling systems

Post by myles »

Thanks but I have stock of an algicide we use in the pond. I can just add some of that.

Post Reply