Recent Continuous Distillation Example

We don’t condone the use of Continuous Stripping stills as a method of running 24/7 as this is a commercial setup only .
Home distillers should never leave any still run unattended and Continuous strippers should not be operated for longer periods than a Batch stripping session would typically be run to minimise operator fatigue..

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tiramisu
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Recent Continuous Distillation Example

Post by tiramisu » Sat Feb 13, 2021 4:49 am

This seems like a practical solution for the home distiller.
Am I missing anything obvious?


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Re: Recent Continuous Distillation Example

Post by Bushman » Sat Feb 13, 2021 5:06 am

I will go back and finish watching it for the content on continuous distilling but I lost interest early when I saw his plastic lines and plastic collection bottle. It’s early in the morning and I will give it a better look after some coffee.

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Re: Recent Continuous Distillation Example

Post by Demy » Sat Feb 13, 2021 5:18 am

Just to get me a culture, do you have an outline of how continuous distillation works? I always hear about it but I have never considered it ... I am not going to do something like that but I like the knowledge. I understand that the washing flows backwards towards the boiler (in counterflow towards the steam)?

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Re: Recent Continuous Distillation Example

Post by tiramisu » Sat Feb 13, 2021 5:49 am

The inability to ignore bad grammar and focus on the content is not something to be proud of.
(pretend the plastic is PTFE and carry on)

Small scale practical continuous distillation seems like a very tidy process.
Especially if you combine it with on-demand steam distillation.

Necessary? Nope, but definitely small and tidy.

Their implementation for reflux is a lot simpler than bubble plates
but a lot less messy than copper mesh.

The peristaltic pump is a bit pricey but you get really nice control of the beer input
Looks like you need to be quite careful about sediment.

I'm not quite sure what is going on at the boiler with the thermometer and the three holes.
Boiling water is going to be 100C so it's not clear to me exactly what the point is of measuring temperature down there.

Watching for reflux up top seems to be the necessary step to turning on the pump but maybe I am missing something.

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Re: Recent Continuous Distillation Example

Post by Yummyrum » Sat Feb 13, 2021 2:52 pm

tiramisu wrote:
Sat Feb 13, 2021 5:49 am
I'm not quite sure what is going on at the boiler with the thermometer and the three holes.
Boiling water is going to be 100C so it's not clear to me exactly what the point is of measuring temperature down there.
I think you are referring to the small section between the boiler and the column .
That section is to separate the spent wash so it doesn’t go i to the main boiler .
The steam from the boiler passes up the three tubes , the spent wash collects at the bottom of it below the top of the tubes and acts as a fluid lock . The fluid lock has to be large enough to overcome the pressure of the column so it doesn’t just blow out the exit .

The thermometer in the waste is important to show how efficiently the stripper is working . If the temp is lower than 100°C then the feed rate is too high and there is still alcohol in the waste .

I have made this simple style of continuous stripper and it is a total bitch to operate . As mentioned n the video , accurate feed rate is crucial. I have given up on this project until I have a better pump .
There is also a huge reliance on the pre-heater to raise the wash temp before feeding to column . Feed rate , pre-heater , output AVB are all inter related .
Feed rate too low , wash boils to fast and basically vaporizes before it hits the top of the column .Due to no flow down column , no stripping and low ABV out .
Feed rate too high , pre-heater can’t heat incoming wash fast enough , the column very quickly crashes .

Adding a second heat exchanger to the waste wash helps immensely in terms of efficiency and operating stability .

The use of a boiler as used in this video is a simple way to get started but it negates one of the advantages of a continuous stripper and that is very quick start time. Instead of waiting an hour or so until the boiler s producing vapour ,if run off a steam generator the still can be producing in 5-10 minutes .

This I found to be a big plus , if I only had an hour to run the still , I start it up and its producing almost straight away whereas if I had an hour to strip with a pot still , the boiler wouldn’t have got up to heat before I had to shut down .

The other big plus for the continuous stripper is that since the incoming Wash is condensing most of the vapor , the usage of coolant water is almost nil .

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Re: Recent Continuous Distillation Example

Post by LWTCS » Sat Feb 13, 2021 3:29 pm

Second video after this one here was far more interesting.
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Re: Recent Continuous Distillation Example

Post by Demy » Sat Feb 13, 2021 3:39 pm

If I understand correctly the ferment must be very clear right? Perhaps a disadvantage in certain situations.

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Re: Recent Continuous Distillation Example

Post by LWTCS » Sat Feb 13, 2021 3:44 pm

Demy wrote:
Sat Feb 13, 2021 3:39 pm
If I understand correctly the ferment must be very clear right? Perhaps a disadvantage in certain situations.
That may be just a preference Demy?
The dude's plate system looks like it can handle some solids. Though I not quite sure how well his spent wash system copes with fouling?
I don't think his feed circuitry is good at moving any solids either.
But those are minor adjustments that can be made.

The bourbon stills in Kentucky are specifically engineered to allow for grain in solids. There is an advantage to dealing with solids from a production standpoint because there are less labor hours needed for pre distillation material handling.
Also, there is a distinctive character with continuous distillation that the presenter alludes to. Very robust flavor carry over.
On the video after ( the one with Jesse) the gentleman mentions a transformative process that occurs to tails while the beer dwells in the column.
Also Manu has commented that plates (theoretical or actual) above the take off branch allow for his (rum) heads constituents to release some fruit aromatics that can be influenced downward into the final product.
Its all fascinating.
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Re: Recent Continuous Distillation Example

Post by tiramisu » Tue Feb 16, 2021 5:29 am

Using an Arduino, a NEMA stepper motor, some rollerblade bearings, and a 3d printer it looks like you can make a fairly nice little peristaltic pump. ( or you could buy one ). These are extremely accurate. A peristaltic (kind of like going for a poop) squeezes the liquid forward in the tube only the pump uses rollers.

This took me down the Not to be discussed Tubing composition. There are PTFE peristaltic pumps (not entirely sure how. PTFE/teflon doesn't strike me as flexible). Platinum-cured silicone tubing sounds like a commercial option. In both cases, you are pumping beer rather than hot ethanol. Shame we can't talk about these things.

The pump being used supports 1750ml/minute which seems to run about 3-400CAD from China. Probably cost you more to make and longer to build but it would be very cool.

Separating and solving beer delivery and steam delivery seems like the smart thing to do.
Break down the problem and solve the solvable.

To my mind... (be afraid)...

The speed of the steam delivery is going to be related to the volume of water you have in your tank. If I put 2 gallons in my 15-gallon tank and throw 5kw at it then it will produce steam faster than if I put 12 gallons of water in my 15-gallon tank.

Sustaining the reflux while adding water to my tank becomes an open question.
If I add water too fast I will kill the reflux, too slow I dry out my tank.
In a perfect world, you would have steam on demand but I am imperfect so let's start with accepting a buffer.

a) The simplest solution is to stop and refill
b) Next might be to add water already heated to the system. (pre-boiler).
c) Next is to provide the amount of energy required to bring the additional water to 100C as it is added to the system with exactly the right amount of power almost instantaneously.

C sounds really hard but B seems achievable after A.

Water boils at 100c where I live (sea level) and there are a number of available solutions for turning off and on a heater to boil water; My rice steamer is a good example of a shutoff above 100C, A pot on my stove another.

b) I can sustain a secondary tank of water at this temp and then
i) manually add it to the primary boiler as required ( pour my pot of water into the boiler)
or
ii) mechanically add it to the primary boiler as the water level changes.

So Bi then Bii gets me almost all the way to C but removes a bunch of the fussiness of "steam on-demand".

.... This all seems very cool if you are trying to make a perpetual vodka machine but doesn't really get me to distilling on the grain so is probably an example of spending the weekend overthinking the rabbit hole as after 1 or 2 Saturday afternoons per year I would have enough neutral spirits for vodka, gin, limoncello for a year for personal use. I don't actually drink that much.

... efficient small-batch distillation on the grain would be very cool, however.
BIAB and squeezing it out with a mop pail seems like the simplest solution to getting a relatively pumpable beer.

If you have a way to flush your system (water) you might be able to distill a few different beers on the same weekend in smaller batches without tearing everything down. This seems appealing from a home distilling perspective. I don't really want to or need to make large batches. Using my current techniques it seems to be the norm to brew 3x the volume of your boiler, strip, and then spirit the 3 runs. This approach with an appropriate number of bubble plates seems like you could be one and done with a 4-gallon bucket.

10% abv = 1.5l /.40% = 3.75 / .750 = 5 bottles of whiskey.

To me, this seems very appealing.

Just reading yummy's build post and finding many leaks in my thoughts (pre-heating the beer using the waste hmm.. tiramisu like....) to plug but this does seem like a fun way to distract my mind while locked in my basement.

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Re: Recent Continuous Distillation Example

Post by LWTCS » Tue Feb 16, 2021 6:39 am

I have a side canister off of the main boiler.
There is a cheap 24V SS float switch housed in the side canister. The side can keeps the floats isolated and prevents the floats from being too agitated by the boil.
Screenshot_20210213-151549_Gallery.jpg
The travel on the floats is very minimal so as not to introduce an excessive amount of replacement water and disrupt the boil.
The replacement water is provided by a 24V solenoid.
This allows the steam generator to run indefinitely, without interruption.
The replacement water also enters into the side canister to allow for the newly replaced water to temper and reduce the likelihood of disrupting the boil in the larger canister.
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Re: Recent Continuous Distillation Example

Post by Yummyrum » Tue Feb 16, 2021 12:56 pm

tiramisu wrote:
Tue Feb 16, 2021 5:29 am
This took me down the Not to be discussed Tubing composition. There are PTFE peristaltic pumps (not entirely sure how. PTFE/teflon doesn't strike me as flexible). Platinum-cured silicone tubing sounds like a commercial option. In both cases, you are pumping beer rather than hot ethanol. Shame we can't talk about these things.
Theres no drama talking about or using Silicone tubing for moving wash or Beer ,its low ABV .
tiramisu wrote:
Tue Feb 16, 2021 5:29 am
Using an Arduino, a NEMA stepper motor, some rollerblade bearings, and a 3d printer it looks like you can make a fairly nice little peristaltic pump.
After a fare amount if googling , that was were I was going to going . Seems like the perfect next project . I just recall that from all the you-tubes and stuff , that the feed rate from a single unit was not going to quite be enough and I’d need a bank of them in parallel . But that was on a 4” stripper . A single unit would probably di fine on a 2” unit

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Re: Recent Continuous Distillation Example

Post by LWTCS » Tue Feb 16, 2021 2:07 pm

Got the 4" doing 35 gph with 10" plate spacing yummy.
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Re: Recent Continuous Distillation Example

Post by tiramisu » Wed Feb 17, 2021 1:52 pm

LWTCS wrote:
Tue Feb 16, 2021 2:07 pm
Got the 4" doing 35 gph with 10" plate spacing yummy.
What are you using for a pump?

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Re: Recent Continuous Distillation Example

Post by LWTCS » Wed Feb 17, 2021 2:21 pm

tiramisu wrote:
Wed Feb 17, 2021 1:52 pm
LWTCS wrote:
Tue Feb 16, 2021 2:07 pm
Got the 4" doing 35 gph with 10" plate spacing yummy.
What are you using for a pump?

.37Kw / 220V / 3 phase
It's on a PID / VFD that governs feed rate according to a target head temperature on the stripper column.

Shooting for 40 gph. The next iteration I'll increase the diameter of the downcomer.
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Re: Recent Continuous Distillation Example

Post by tiramisu » Wed Feb 17, 2021 2:32 pm

LWTCS wrote:
Wed Feb 17, 2021 2:21 pm
tiramisu wrote:
Wed Feb 17, 2021 1:52 pm
LWTCS wrote:
Tue Feb 16, 2021 2:07 pm
Got the 4" doing 35 gph with 10" plate spacing yummy.
What are you using for a pump?

.37Kw / 220V / 3 phase
It's on a PID / VFD that governs feed rate according to a target head temperature on the stripper column.

Shooting for 40 gph. The next iteration I'll increase the diameter of the downcomer.
That's a lot bigger than I can imagine/consider.
Does the larger sizing reduce the overall sensitivity of the system?
The little 2 inch systems sound like they are fairly twitchy.

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Re: Recent Continuous Distillation Example

Post by LWTCS » Wed Feb 17, 2021 3:28 pm

That's probably a yummy and Pope question?

I do think the chap in the video has some design issues that are preventing his system from performing optimally. Primarily ensuring that the beer has been optimally preheated. As yummy mentions, two heat recovery preheaters would benefit that system. Though he does mention that his injection temps are 80°C. So that is definitely adequate.

Also, with the help of some of the guys here, we have determined that 408 watts per gallon/per hour is a reliable amount of power needed for optimal performance. The chap in the video didn't comment on his power usage, but I would be very interested to deconstruct his watts used to feed rate ratio and see how his usage matches up to his processing speed?

This here what I am doing is an alternative to a 300 gallon commercial kettle. Basically using the smallest diameter to process (legal) commercial quantities within the same time frame that the big kettle does.
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Re: Recent Continuous Distillation Example

Post by Butch27 » Wed Feb 17, 2021 5:59 pm

tiramisu wrote:
Tue Feb 16, 2021 5:29 am
...

a) The simplest solution is to stop and refill
b) Next might be to add water already heated to the system. (pre-boiler).
c) Next is to provide the amount of energy required to bring the additional water to 100C as it is added to the system with exactly the right amount of power almost instantaneously. ...
d) Drain the waste distillate into the boiler and have an overflow at an appropriate level in the boiler that has a p-trap to prevent steam from escaping. Might even be able to just have a port near the bottom and elevate the pipe that is attached to the port. This would have the added benefit of helping to recapture alcohol that may not have been totally stripped from the beer. The heat for the overflow water could still be used to heat the beer going in.

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Re: Recent Continuous Distillation Example

Post by Yummyrum » Wed Feb 17, 2021 10:50 pm

Butch27 wrote:
Wed Feb 17, 2021 5:59 pm
d) Drain the waste distillate into the boiler and have an overflow at an appropriate level in the boiler that has a p-trap to prevent steam from escaping. Might even be able to just have a port near the bottom and elevate the pipe that is attached to the port. This would have the added benefit of helping to recapture alcohol that may not have been totally stripped from the beer. The heat for the overflow water could still be used to heat the beer going in.
Thats how I did mine .It was a quick and easy way to get started with what I already had . It’s fine if you want to just run a sugar wash or even a Rum wash but not so good for a thick slurry like grain mash .

Its one of the first things I want to address when I get back to this project . I want to go to a steam generator.

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Re: Recent Continuous Distillation Example

Post by LWTCS » Thu Feb 18, 2021 3:46 am

I went that route with the first smallish system too. I wasn't happy with the exasperated foam up issues that constantly pushed into the beer column.

I did go with the jacketed kettle with electric elements in the reservoir in an effort to prevent any scorching in the boiler.
But the surface area on the jacket proved to be too small to adequately transfer heat and the jacket would come to max pressure long before desired jacket temps were achieved. As it turns out, in order to run the volume I was shooting for in a timely manner and have adequate heat transfer I would need the same kind of jacketed surface area as a 300 gallon kettle. So that definitely defeated the purpose of a small jacketed reboiler. Just couldn't transfer enough heat into the system

That's my lesson on why live steam is the best choice for transferring heat while simultaneously avoiding scorching.
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Re: Recent Continuous Distillation Example

Post by LWTCS » Thu Feb 18, 2021 4:43 am

LWTCS wrote:
Wed Feb 17, 2021 3:28 pm

Also, with the help of some of the guys here, we have determined that 408 watts per gallon/per hour is a reliable amount of power needed for optimal performance. The chap in the video didn't comment on his power usage, but I would be very interested to deconstruct his watts used to feed rate ratio and see how his usage matches up to his processing speed?
Based on him (on the video) saying his feed rate was 12 liters per hour, he shouldn't need any more than 1224 watts.
If he is using more than that he really could use an additional HX to recover column bottoms heat.

I reckon he could speed up his feed rate with an extra HX too. Though that may mean he might need a dedicated cooling circuit to adequately cool his low wines distillate.
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