moonshine distillery explodes today

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Re: moonshine distillery explodes today

Postby rubber duck » Sat Apr 09, 2016 8:20 am

The still was shipped with a pressure relief valve , there is no argument about that.

What I'm wondering is why did the distillery modify the still? A tube was added to the vent side of the pressure relief valve. I assume the tube was to move the steam away from the still in the event the valve opened. So did they do this modification in anticipation of a problem if the valve opened, or was there already a problem this modification was intended to solve?
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Re: moonshine distillery explodes today

Postby LWTCS » Sat Apr 09, 2016 10:27 am

rubber duck wrote:The still was shipped with a pressure relief valve , there is no argument about that.

What I'm wondering is why did the distillery modify the still? A tube was added to the vent side of the pressure relief valve. I assume the tube was to move the steam away from the still in the event the valve opened. So did they do this modification in anticipation of a problem if the valve opened, or was there already a problem this modification was intended to solve?



Only spit balling here, but I assumed they changed it out because they were looking to heat up faster and just did not realize the potential danger?
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Re: moonshine distillery explodes today

Postby Edwin Croissant » Sat Apr 09, 2016 10:41 am

They sure wanted to heat up faster. The still was bought with 4 electric heating elements. A similar still from the maker is rated 40 kW. The owner quadrupled the firepower with 4 burners to 160 kW. The picture on facebook of the burners during the first run got the comment: That''s what a million BTU's looks like under 300 gallons of LBL mash-*Could pull a train a mile long – Yeah the pressure is on [..]. The configuration of the 4 burners brought the flames also nearer to the rim. It is plausible that the boiler material got hot enough to flash boil the liquid inside right at the surface and to form a vapor layer between the boiler and the liquid. Because vapor is a crappy conductor of heat, the boiler metal got hot enough to melt the silver solder joints so during the second run the seam split open where the side wall connected to the bottom.

I think that the initial idea was to shorten the heat-up time to less then an hour but after the split the owner decided to stick to the original 2-3 hours by turning the heat down. Maybe at that moment the bottom – sidewall silver soldered connection was weakened. Also the report mentioned that the bottom of the pot showed signs of scorching where the burners were located and excessive scorching on one area of the bottom that was showing much greater signs of heat damage the the other three.

The large burner capacity, the mismatch between burner capacity and column capacity, the unavailability of information about the heat applied and the pressure of the still to the operators makes it at least plausible that this still was driven to hard to long and after 3 years the pot popped it's bottom, and launched itself out of the distillery into the gravel driveway (a distance of 70 feet) with a boiling hot very wet fart.
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Re: moonshine distillery explodes today

Postby MichiganCornhusker » Sat Apr 09, 2016 10:48 am

Was there no discussion at the ADI event about why the accident happened? What caused the pressure build up?
Sure seems like a big part of the story to leave out.
Wish I could have been there to see you go all Morley Safer on them, 3d0g. :thumbup:

Edit: That is a good guess, Edwin, that very scenario led to more than one steam locomotive leaving its tracks back in the day.
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Re: moonshine distillery explodes today

Postby HDNB » Sat Apr 09, 2016 4:09 pm

i think Edwin's comment is much more than a good guess.

a couple of PSI of what has been referred to as "normal" would raise boiling temps.
The vapour layer of the flash boil would be super-heated high ABV at even a few PSI...the weight of a couple feet of mash alone would add pressure to the flash boil, i doubt the column would need to be plugged.

that layer of Super-heated vapour would go off like a fuel-air bomb when exposed to the open flame of the burner...after the soldered joint failed...plus the explosive de-comp of the mash above it...adds more fuel/energy

all you US military guys know that fuel/air bombs are the most powerful (conventional non-nuclear) weapon in the military's arsenal...i'm just surprised it didn't "grenade" more instad of "rocket".

revenoor made a shoddy product, imho...it should be welded at that size/grade...not soldered
silvertrails didn't have a decent inspection, operations, safety or training protocol.
operators were not trained in the proper operation , care and feeding of an alcohol still

The operator that 3d0g saw at ADI is out there spreading the ignorance??? :wtf: ??? if he have a "talk" about this and talked about pressure in a still, and "welds" (does he not know the difference between a weld and a solder joint?) does he not know that stills should not be under pressure? Still?
i wish i was there to hear for myself, as i'm commenting on my interpretation of the info posted above...but if it is accurate, this guy is talking out his ass on risks to home distillers. he doesn't even know/understand what he experienced up close and personal.
sad.
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Re: moonshine distillery explodes today

Postby BoomTown » Sat Apr 09, 2016 4:30 pm

HDNB wrote:i think Edwin's comment is much more than a good guess.

a couple of PSI of what has been referred to as "normal" would raise boiling temps.
The vapour layer of the flash boil would be super-heated high ABV at even a few PSI...the weight of a couple feet of mash alone would add pressure to the flash boil, i doubt the column would need to be plugged.

that layer of Super-heated vapour would go off like a fuel-air bomb when exposed to the open flame of the burner...after the soldered joint failed...plus the explosive de-comp of the mash above it...adds more fuel/energy

all you US military guys know that fuel/air bombs are the most powerful (conventional non-nuclear) weapon in the military's arsenal...i'm just surprised it didn't "grenade" more instad of "rocket".

revenoor made a shoddy product, imho...it should be welded at that size/grade...not soldered
silvertrails didn't have a decent inspection, operations, safety or training protocol.
operators were not trained in the proper operation , care and feeding of an alcohol still

The operator that 3d0g saw at ADI is out there spreading the ignorance??? :wtf: ??? if he have a "talk" about this and talked about pressure in a still, and "welds" (does he not know the difference between a weld and a solder joint?) does he not know that stills should not be under pressure? Still?
i wish i was there to hear for myself, as i'm commenting on my interpretation of the info posted above...but if it is accurate, this guy is talking out his ass on risks to home distillers. he doesn't even know/understand what he experienced up close and personal.
sad.


++++ Now we are getting there! Manufacturers have to anticipate user ignorance. But most importantly, they ought to know their science.
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Re: moonshine distillery explodes today

Postby shadylane » Sat Apr 09, 2016 4:53 pm

BoomTown wrote:Manufacturers have to anticipate user ignorance.

I'll agree with that -up to a point-
Building a product that anticipates the ignorance of some users,
Would render it unusable to the rest of the people.
Picture a saw with no teeth and doesn't move.
It would still need a warning label saying
Improper use may lead to a Darin award.
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Re: moonshine distillery explodes today

Postby DAD300 » Sat Apr 09, 2016 8:13 pm

Well thecroweater, how is your still vented. You still inside or out? I'd be glad to see a better homedistiller alternative.

My CCVM always has on open column on top and always outside.

But, I imagine the cork would come out at 3-5psi...might hit the porch ceiling. Guess it could put my eye out though...since I'm always there and all...

My point was that a SS keg could potentially hold a lot more pressure without deflection than most any copper pot.
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Re: moonshine distillery explodes today

Postby rubber duck » Sat Apr 09, 2016 8:33 pm

thecroweater wrote:I think pop off corks are an added danger and a crazy idea for any indoor still. Shady lane posted a picture of an external vented relief and if you want to go that path its the way to do it. By the time something has gone very wrong and you have pressure to blow the cork you already have a dangerous situation so when that cork goes you will have a still room suddenly filled with an explosive gas. Any sort of ignition point and its good bye room/ still house/shed home/ and good bye stiller. You will not move fast enough to prevent this as it will take a second or two. You still will become a rocket and you a statisic


Your point is a good one, if your not paying atention you could have a problem and have a lot of vapor escape, but it's not going to happen in 2 seconds. Now if your busy posting on HD and generally screwing off and it vents you have a problem.

Now if you don't vent it and your not paying atention and it plugs up your going to have an explosion, then your going to have a fire. The thing is in if you where paying atention you would know somthing is wrong.

I think you and dad are both correct, the take away is pay atention.....
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Re: moonshine distillery explodes today

Postby rubber duck » Sat Apr 09, 2016 8:39 pm

Hobby Stills don't give off enough vapor to fill a room in a few minutes , and they don't build enough pressure to blow up in a few minutes either.

I've had a fire and it happened because I got complacent, I don't mess around now.
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Re: moonshine distillery explodes today

Postby stillvodka » Sat Apr 09, 2016 10:56 pm

3d0g wrote:
stillvodka wrote:The still has been in use for some time, it's not a new! still, with no reported problems to the manufacturer, so really the 150 PSI PRV don't really have a bearing on what's happened, because the still was being monitored by the operative :eh:, well, but was it :shh:


Not sure I fully understand where you're going stillvodka, but if something is defective one fixes it or gets it fixed. ANY still operator knows 150 PSI isn't appropriate. Can you imagine if this still went off during a tour (or Moonshiner's filming)?

Note Balencorp (Silver Trail) did pay $3,500 in OSHA penalties for this incident.


I recon it's quite simple really. but correct me if I am wrong

There are Two vents built into them stills, the PRV + the product take off point or collection tube, so , if the PRV pops, and or if product is being collected from the still, you do not have any sort of excess pressure build up in that still.
one or the other, the still operator would of seen that something was not right and be there to take control.
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Re: moonshine distillery explodes today

Postby NZChris » Sat Apr 09, 2016 11:05 pm

A PRV doesn't 'pop' and release all of the pressure. It vents at excess pressure, thereby limiting the maximum pressure in the vessel.
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Re: moonshine distillery explodes today

Postby stillvodka » Sat Apr 09, 2016 11:19 pm

NZChris wrote:A PRV doesn't 'pop' and release all of the pressure. It vents at excess pressure, thereby limiting the maximum pressure in the vessel.


Just a manner of speech :thumbup:
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Re: moonshine distillery explodes today

Postby NZChris » Sat Apr 09, 2016 11:31 pm

stillvodka wrote:
NZChris wrote:A PRV doesn't 'pop' and release all of the pressure. It vents at excess pressure, thereby limiting the maximum pressure in the vessel.


Just a manner of speech :thumbup:


It is very different from bursting a disk, popping a cork, plug, or any other blowout device.
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Re: moonshine distillery explodes today

Postby stillvodka » Sat Apr 09, 2016 11:41 pm

NZChris wrote:
stillvodka wrote:
NZChris wrote:A PRV doesn't 'pop' and release all of the pressure. It vents at excess pressure, thereby limiting the maximum pressure in the vessel.


Just a manner of speech :thumbup:


It is very different from bursting a disk, popping a cork, plug, or any other blowout device.


OK, right I got you, I am sure you know what I am getting at :thumbup:

Second thought that I would edit my post, just to state
I have worked in engineering departments for most of my life, that of a being general welder , over a 30 year period, you learn a lot being around engineering workshops :)
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Re: moonshine distillery explodes today

Postby 3d0g » Sun Apr 10, 2016 4:27 am

MichiganCornhusker wrote:Was there no discussion at the ADI event about why the accident happened? What caused the pressure build up?
Sure seems like a big part of the story to leave out.


Jay spent a great deal of the time talking about his recovery, and what he remembered immediately after the explosion (waking up in boiling mash, pulling Kyle from the building, etc.) He also said "It was one of the best runs they'd ever had." and "Several gallons of product had already been collected."

In their minds, the "event" happened because Revenoor installed an incorrect PRV, causing the bottom of the still to rupture and be ejected from the building. This matches the fire report and they've subsequently received a default judgement against Revenoor (they were a no-show in court to defend themselves), so that's that.
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Re: moonshine distillery explodes today

Postby 3d0g » Sun Apr 10, 2016 4:34 am

stillvodka wrote:I recon it's quite simple really. but correct me if I am wrong

There are Two vents built into them stills, the PRV + the product take off point or collection tube, so , if the PRV pops, and or if product is being collected from the still, you do not have any sort of excess pressure build up in that still.
one or the other, the still operator would of seen that something was not right and be there to take control.


You asked to be corrected so...

It is entirely possible for significant pressure to exist in a still and product continue to run. That's exactly what happened in this case, according to witnesses.

Consider a pressure cooker. Most operate at about 15 PSI and still vent PLENTY of steam.
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Re: moonshine distillery explodes today

Postby 3d0g » Sun Apr 10, 2016 4:57 am

rubber duck wrote:The still was shipped with a pressure relief valve , there is no argument about that.

What I'm wondering is why did the distillery modify the still? A tube was added to the vent side of the pressure relief valve. I assume the tube was to move the steam away from the still in the event the valve opened. So did they do this modification in anticipation of a problem if the valve opened, or was there already a problem this modification was intended to solve?


My thinking (and where I was going with my question to Jay) was Silver Trail OBVIOUSLY knew this was a PRV as they modified it. They were most likely told by Revenoor or OSHA that they needed to regularly test the PRV so they added a tube to avoid spraying the side of the still. Most homeowners / plumbers do the exact same thing (install a tube) on a water heater install. All Watts PRVs come with a stamped metal tag attached that clearly states the ratings. I wanted to know if Revenoor somehow obfuscated this information or did Silver Trail operators operate the still knowing full well the PRV was rated for 150 PSI.

Oh, here's what can go wrong @ 15 PSI with less than a gallon of liquid...
Pressure-Cooking-Gone-Wrong.png
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Re: moonshine distillery explodes today

Postby 3d0g » Sun Apr 10, 2016 5:01 am

Edwin Croissant wrote:They sure wanted to heat up faster. The still was bought with 4 electric heating elements. A similar still from the maker is rated 40 kW. The owner quadrupled the firepower with 4 burners to 160 kW.


Revenoor is on record as approving this direct fire installation. The electric elements were not wired.
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Re: moonshine distillery explodes today

Postby Edwin Croissant » Sun Apr 10, 2016 5:41 am

Revenoor stills can also be gas fired according to their site. Revenoor confirmed that. But did Revenoor knew that instead of one 40 kW burner, four 40 kW burners were installed? Stating that the manufacturer approved gas firing is not the same as stating that the manufacturer approved quadrupling the power.
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Re: moonshine distillery explodes today

Postby 3d0g » Sun Apr 10, 2016 5:47 am

Edwin Croissant wrote:Revenoor stills can also be gas fired according to their site. Revenoor confirmed that. But did Revenoor knew that instead of one 40 kW burner, four 40 kW burners were installed? Stating that the manufacturer approved gas firing is not the same as stating that the manufacturer approved quadrupling the power.


Revenoor confirmed Silver Trail's configuration as supported in an interview with Mark Gillespie.
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Re: moonshine distillery explodes today

Postby stillvodka » Sun Apr 10, 2016 8:39 am

3d0g wrote:
stillvodka wrote:I recon it's quite simple really. but correct me if I am wrong

There are Two vents built into them stills, the PRV + the product take off point or collection tube, so , if the PRV pops, and or if product is being collected from the still, you do not have any sort of excess pressure build up in that still.
one or the other, the still operator would of seen that something was not right and be there to take control.


You asked to be corrected so...

It is entirely possible for significant pressure to exist in a still and product continue to run. That's exactly what happened in this case, according to witnesses.

Consider a pressure cooker. Most operate at about 15 PSI and still vent PLENTY of steam.


OK, yes absolutely, that's fine :relaxed: but no I've not been corrected, that still had a lot of pressure inside, the product would of not been exiting that still in the same manner as it would if it was running correctly.

I stated in a earlier post, I've been around all this sort of stuff most of my working life, 50 years old now,99% of the accidents I've see in the workshop, is by the people not paying due care and attention,
That's it for me now :wave:
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Re: moonshine distillery explodes today

Postby Edwin Croissant » Sun Apr 10, 2016 8:49 am

3d0g wrote:
Edwin Croissant wrote:Revenoor stills can also be gas fired according to their site. Revenoor confirmed that. But did Revenoor knew that instead of one 40 kW burner, four 40 kW burners were installed? Stating that the manufacturer approved gas firing is not the same as stating that the manufacturer approved quadrupling the power.


Revenoor confirmed Silver Trail's configuration as supported in an interview with Mark Gillespie.


In this interview no such statement was made. Please provide a link to the interview this statement was made as I can't find it.
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Re: moonshine distillery explodes today

Postby 3d0g » Sun Apr 10, 2016 3:55 pm

You'll have to listen to the actual audio interview. Mark specifically asks about Silver Trail being gas-fired.
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Re: moonshine distillery explodes today

Postby cranky » Sun Apr 10, 2016 5:52 pm

One thing I keep reading that I think you guys have wrong is the statement that they soldered the still. In the report it states that the original joints were tig welded using silver rod. I believe this would actually qualify as silver brazing and is a much stronger joint than the kind of silver soldering we commonly do. I think Corene1 has experience with this type of joint and might have some valuable input there.
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Re: moonshine distillery explodes today

Postby NZChris » Sun Apr 10, 2016 9:45 pm

When the seam split there was enough pressure in the still to propel it out the door and across the yard. With that amount of pressure at the time of the event, how could you justify blaming the seam's failure as the cause, or primary cause? It may have been better if it had failed at a much lower pressure when it couldn't blow people off their feet and give them a scalding bath.
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Re: moonshine distillery explodes today

Postby Edwin Croissant » Sun Apr 10, 2016 10:56 pm

3d0g wrote:You'll have to listen to the actual audio interview. Mark specifically asks about Silver Trail being gas-fired.

I did that and I think this question wasn't asked. Can you provide a time stamp in this interview?
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Re: moonshine distillery explodes today

Postby Tater » Tue Apr 24, 2018 6:31 am

PLEASE READ THIS FORUMS RULES AND THESES Links: http://homedistiller.org and New Distiller Reading Lounge I use a pot still
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Re: moonshine distillery explodes today

Postby jon1163 » Tue Apr 24, 2018 9:04 am

Tater wrote:https://thewhiskeywash.com/whiskey-styles/american-whiskey/silver-trail-distillery-explosion-investigation-findings-released/
from the article :

"Basically it verifies that the tower failed due to an internal plate being only tack welded when it should have been welded fully around. This allowed a distilling bean or beans (glass marble) to clog the product (shine) output hole. This caused an immediate over pressurization which ruptured the still bottom and sent it hurtling through the door. The pressure relief valve did not open due to the still builder installing a valve too large for this size pot plus being made for a water heater."

You would think that any company worth their salt would at least test the over pressurization valve after production. Or have the good sense to realize that 150 lb of pressure is just stupid High when you're talking about hot Steam and liquid.
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Re: moonshine distillery explodes today

Postby Bushman » Tue Apr 24, 2018 9:28 am

Was wondering what conclusion the investigation would come up with. Seemed like both sides were throwing blame at the time of the explosion.
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