ponu still?

Distillation methods and improvements.

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Adverse Effects
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ponu still?

Post by Adverse Effects » Thu Nov 13, 2008 4:31 pm

first things first

Hi All i am known on the net and by most of my friends as "Adverse Effects" (i earned this name because every time i get board i make some "interesting things" that most of the time have Adverse Effects )
i haven't brewed for over 25 years and decided to get back in to it (my first still was a pressure cooker made in to a pot still) back then there was not the welth of infomation there is today i have spent the last 4 weeks reading the mother site and thes forums from start to finish and all i can say it "my head hurts" :shock: :wink: :cry:


just out of intrest has any one made and tested the ponu still?
Image

because i have started to make one as i find the design very intriguing
Image
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others seem to have trouble coiling pipe but that half inch pipe coil was my first attempt and as you can see it came out good

i do have to admit i did make up a tool for my metal lath to help me do it and i packed the pipe with salt (took about an hour of tapping to make sure it was all compacted as much as possible )
i don't think i would make it again out of half inch again as it put a LOT of load on my lath tool head to do it but i think i can coil any thing from 10mm and down a lot easer

i haven't got my pot/boiler yet but hope to be getting an old hot water system (140Lt) that i can cut open and gut out to make my boiler

shortly i will be making an attachment for my lath that "should" let me roll form copper flanges of what ever size tube ( 2 inch and bigger ) for mounting columns to the boiler lids

i did have an idea about other ways to mount the columns has any one looked at the "brass/bronze" coler / neck on the bottom of there kitchen sink just flip it over it could be a good work around

/jokeing on
i'll just step back and let the people with the flame throwers have a go at me :-)
/jokeing off

let me know what you think
Edit: syntax
Last edited by Adverse Effects on Sat Apr 25, 2009 10:13 am, edited 2 times in total.
Some people say its "FREE" but i say "there ant no free lunch" you get what you pay/work for
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25Lt old school SS keg as a pot with a prototype Ponu still head

blanikdog
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Re: ponu still?

Post by blanikdog » Thu Nov 13, 2008 6:48 pm

No need to worry about flames. A fascinating design but I can't work out how the bugger works yet.

blanik
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rad14701
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Re: ponu still?

Post by rad14701 » Thu Nov 13, 2008 7:14 pm

Welcome to the forums, Adverse Effects... Good luck with your build...

This design is supposed to work like a re-boiler, in theory anyway... The coil in the column is the re-boiler... The up-tube/down-tube circuit (Putki A) provides vapor into the re-boiler and take-off circuits... Pressure differential forces distillate into the take-off condenser circuit (Putki B)... At least that's how I've always rationalized this design to work...

I'll be following this build as I've always been intrigued by the concept...

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Re: ponu still?

Post by manu de hanoi » Sun Nov 16, 2008 9:36 am

looks like a half assed VM to me, the bottom coil idea is interesting though...

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Re: ponu still?

Post by decoy » Sun Nov 16, 2008 3:58 pm

i agree with manu, it looks like a VM
i think it will be intresting to do reflux ratio adjustments on it..

Image

i would theorise the operation of it as

the coil in the column which is a part of the pot acts as the reflux coulmn, vapour is introduced into the reflux via path A as liquid returns from reflux condensor "the strait up and down tube" it trickles into the coil and slowly runs back into the pot, thru the u shaped air lockas, as it spirals down the coil.
the coil is heated by the surounding vapor from the pot and the liquid trickleing down the coil acts as a coolant whie at the same time the higher boiling point liquids evaporate of up the tube to the take off condensor path B.

i have concerns about this design,
the tube lengths and diameters associated with the condensor design seem to play a important role in tuning the reflux ratio.
i think it would also direct vapour with high concentrations of water to the take off condenser, this could also prove to be a positive as it could take of some flavours from tails during the entire run, if the reflux condensor was the right size.
you wont be able to run the still at 100% reflux to reach equlibrium then take of heads..

i dont think it is intended to run as a neutral spirit reflux still, maybee more as an advanced pot still with a VM head and low reflux.

i think the still has merits, it is purpose built to produce 1 product, very little if any control of reflux ratio.

i think it would make an excellent RUM still, if tuned properly..

cheers

Adverse Effects
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Re: ponu still?

Post by Adverse Effects » Sun Nov 16, 2008 5:00 pm

thanks for your comments

i agree that coil lengths will have a lot to do with tunning and reflux

i have made both the pipe coils longer than the original plans so i can cut them back and see what happens :D

i am thinking of making another one with a much longer bottom column and much longer coil in it but that will be much later

from what i can tell you have only 2 ways of controlling it

heat input and cooling rate

one other change i was thinking of doing is replacing the J tube with a small cup size pot with a pipe going in to it this way you could hold more liquid but not increase the back pressure in the main coil
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25Lt old school SS keg as a pot with a prototype Ponu still head

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Re: ponu still?

Post by decoy » Sun Nov 16, 2008 5:10 pm

as far as the reflux coil goes i would make it a slighlty larger diameter tube to increase rate at which vapor rises and i would wind a larger diameter coil.

i woul also place small kinks at the bottom of the tube all the way along the coil say evry 3 -5cm so it forms little pools inside the tube.

i would leave the J tube as it is, i dont belive that will cause any problems..

you could implement a take of valve on path B to controll vapour take off rate..

like on the bokakob VM head..

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Re: ponu still?

Post by Adverse Effects » Wed Nov 26, 2008 5:10 am

well i have the still fully made with a 1800watt copper food grade element i have the column attached to a dog bowl that is up-side-down

all i need to do now is work out a way to seal the dog bowl to the pot and how to control the heating element out put

any one got any ideas for the heat control ?

i am in OZ and running on 220 to 260VAC (yes it fluctuates that much) should be 240VAC
Edit: i didn't mention that the heating element is inside the pot not under it
Some people say its "FREE" but i say "there ant no free lunch" you get what you pay/work for
help those that help them self first
25Lt old school SS keg as a pot with a prototype Ponu still head

HookLine
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Re: ponu still?

Post by HookLine » Wed Nov 26, 2008 8:18 pm

Image

Ingenious design. Kinda out there on its own. There is nothing else quite like it, not even close. I like it.

I think decoy has got the operation more or less right.

Here's my take on it:

The J-trap at the bottom of the column coil has to be primed with plain water before starting.

When the wash first boils, vapour rises up the column and into the main vapour arm (A). It cannot go into the column coil because of the liquid barrier in the J-trap.

All the vapour going up arm A is condensed as it goes back down through the coolant tank. This is effectively the main reflux condenser, everything condensed inside this section of arm A goes back into the still.

The condensate runs down into the column coil, and all the way down to the bottom into the J-trap, where it displaces some of the liquid (plain water) already in there. The excess liquid falls out of the J-trap into the boiler and is re-distilled.

The liquid that remains in the J-trap becomes increasingly diluted to the same composition as the condensate. While the liquid in the J-trap has a lower percentage alcohol (ie higher boiling point) than both the fresh condensate dripping into it and the vapour immediately outside the J-trap, then it will not boil. This is the critical fact in the operation of this still.

As the liquid in the J-trap reaches the same composition as the fresh condensate (and hence the vapour immediately outside the J-trap), its boiling point drops to match the vapour, and the liquid starts to boil.

Some of the vapour given off by the boiling liquid in the J-trap goes out the open end of the J-trap into the boiler head space. But some of the vapour goes back up the column coil. As it comes out of the top of the coil, it reaches the junction of arms A & B. Here some of it travels back up arm A and is re-condensed, and some of it travels into arm B and into the product condenser coil. (Though it is possible that all this vapour goes into arm B.)

And, of course, the vapour given of by the boiling liquid inside the J-trap has a higher % alcohol than the liquid in the J-trap

So, in effect the J-trap is acting as a doubler, and some kind of reflux control. But I think that there is probably also some more complex stuff happening with additional refluxing going on inside the column coil as the vapour travels up it.


There is an interesting question about the relationship between the thermal properties of the condensate inside the J-trap, and the vapour immediately around the outside of it.

I suspect the feedback mechanism in this design works by detecting a very small differential in thermal mass (and hence thermal inertia), between the rising vapour on the outside of the J-trap (that is providing the heat energy), and the condensate inside the J-trap.

As rising vapour hits the J-trap, it gives up a little of its heat energy to the condensate liquid inside the J-trap, and so a little of that vapour is condensed on the outside of the J-trap.


You do not need any valves to run this still. In particular, DO NOT put a valve on arm B, that would fully seal the still. There must be a permanently open pathway to the outside (in this case via arm A and out through arm B).

The ratio of the sizes (cross-sectional-area) of the two arms (A & B) may be important.

The length and tube size of the column coil is also probably important.

The height of the open, cut-off end of the J is probably the most critical factor in tuning this still.

This design may also be fairly sensitive to power input levels, and probably cannot be run hard, so it cannot do a low wines run. This still is probably for spirit runs only.

Equilibration (of a sort) can be done on this still if you prime the J-trap with plain water. And the reflux ratio is probably fixed as well.

Using packing in arm A might give interesting results.


Can't wait to see the results.
Last edited by HookLine on Wed Nov 26, 2008 8:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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decoy
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Re: ponu still?

Post by decoy » Wed Nov 26, 2008 8:42 pm

thanks hookline...
i belive some reflux is occuring both in the column were there lower coil is before it hits path A and the main reflux occures as the condensed liquid travels thru the column spiral coil down to the J lock and its the lower wines that evaporate in that column coil that make there way to the output coil thru path B.

oh and the valve was intended to control the takeoff rate not to close it off compleetly, altho some way of running the head at 100% reflux would be benaficial..

hi adverse effects, there are few people here that are realy good with the heat control that im sure will help you..

i am very intrested in hearing about your experiances with the designe, maybee a few photos..
hope to see a detailed write up ....

cheers well done..

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Re: ponu still?

Post by Adverse Effects » Thu Nov 27, 2008 3:34 am

ok i think i have the heat control problem fixed

http://australia.rs-online.com/web/sear ... &R=0655638" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" rel="nofollow

comes in a 6,10 or 15 AMP

i got the 10 amp since the house is only wired with 8 AMP wire

i'll post some pics soon
Some people say its "FREE" but i say "there ant no free lunch" you get what you pay/work for
help those that help them self first
25Lt old school SS keg as a pot with a prototype Ponu still head

decoy
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Re: ponu still?

Post by decoy » Thu Nov 27, 2008 3:54 am

that should serve you well...
were abouts in aus are you..?

Adverse Effects
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Re: ponu still?

Post by Adverse Effects » Thu Nov 27, 2008 4:01 am

decoy wrote:that should serve you well...
were abouts in aus are you..?
my address is ........................................................


hehe thought you had me then LOL

i am in brizzy QLD

and you?

the main problem i can see is trying to condence with days touching 40c and water comeing out of the tap at up to 45c
Some people say its "FREE" but i say "there ant no free lunch" you get what you pay/work for
help those that help them self first
25Lt old school SS keg as a pot with a prototype Ponu still head

decoy
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Re: ponu still?

Post by decoy » Thu Nov 27, 2008 12:28 pm

im in sydney..
i know what you mean about hot, and with all the water restrictions.
but the water wont be 40c tho it will heat up quickly and its harder to cool down.
i use a radiator to cool the water im thinking abouut hooking up some form of evaporative cooler to it.
basicly you tricle water over a wool or nylon stranded mesh and place it in the air stream before it goes thru the radiator core.
there are some new mesh designs that chanel water thru honeycomb cores that are very efficiant..

Image

This is my current cooling radiator
Image
this one works well but its got a lot of backpressure due to so many bends its more designed for refrgiration gasses.
but i have picked up a intercooler from a scrap metal yard inside a aluminium box with fans for $10 to make into a evoporative cooler..

Image
Image
im taking the 240V fans of and replacing them with 12V fans, but i have the option of useing ither.
i have enough room to enclose the honeycomb block for the evporative cooler, im hoping this will be very successfull and efficiant.
this might give you some ideas that might help you.

cheers.

Adverse Effects
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Re: ponu still?

Post by Adverse Effects » Fri Nov 28, 2008 7:10 am

ok here are some pics
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Image Image Image
Image Image
Image Image Image Image Image
Image Image
Some people say its "FREE" but i say "there ant no free lunch" you get what you pay/work for
help those that help them self first
25Lt old school SS keg as a pot with a prototype Ponu still head

decoy
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Re: ponu still?

Post by decoy » Fri Nov 28, 2008 1:57 pm

nice work...
dont suppose you have a pic of the coil inside the column?

have you did a run with it yet?

how did it go?

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Re: ponu still?

Post by Adverse Effects » Fri Nov 28, 2008 3:30 pm

decoy wrote:nice work...
don't suppose you have a pic of the coil inside the column?

have you did a run with it yet?

how did it go?
haven't done a run with it yet still got to work out how to seal the dog bowl to the keg

here is the main coil with the J tube on the bottom
Image

i don't have pic's of the internals of the final worm
Last edited by Adverse Effects on Fri Mar 20, 2009 11:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Some people say its "FREE" but i say "there ant no free lunch" you get what you pay/work for
help those that help them self first
25Lt old school SS keg as a pot with a prototype Ponu still head

rad14701
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Re: ponu still?

Post by rad14701 » Fri Nov 28, 2008 3:52 pm

Yeah, I kinda wondered if people wouldn't be able to see that that lower coil loop terminates when I first saw it in the earlier post... It's a bit of an optical illusion from that angle...

manu de hanoi
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Re: ponu still?

Post by manu de hanoi » Sat Nov 29, 2008 12:00 am

I understand now thanks guys. But it still looks wrong... During the run, the A pipe will bring some 40% abv or so and this will drop right on were the vapors/reflux is supposed to have the highest abv.
The A pipe should connect neared to the jturn or halfway in the coil.... and be distinct from the reflux pipe.... And even though, if we suppose the bottom coil to have some kind of refluxing, rectification action, it would be further damaged by the outside temp of the coil heated by 40% abv vapors or less during the end of the run.....This still feels like reinventing the square wheel....


...is that rolling paper I see on the keyboard ? no wonder :D

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Re: ponu still?

Post by Adverse Effects » Sat Nov 29, 2008 12:12 am

manu de hanoi wrote:The A pipe should connect neared to the jturn or halfway in the coil.... and be distinct from the reflux pipe.
no you have to run A through the cooling water to knock it down in to the lower coil

... And even though, if we suppose the bottom coil to have some kind of refluxing, rectification action, it would be further damaged by the outside temp of the coil heated by 40% abv vapors or less during the end of the run...
not so the liquid will adhere to the walls of the pipe and mainly the lower half of the pipe letting the vapor float up the coil and off in to B
is that rolling paper I see on the keyboard ? no wonder :D
hell yes been rolling all sorts of things since i was 12 :D

you can see my tabaco just above the keyboard "port royal"
and that is how you roll a good smoke
Image
Some people say its "FREE" but i say "there ant no free lunch" you get what you pay/work for
help those that help them self first
25Lt old school SS keg as a pot with a prototype Ponu still head

manu de hanoi
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Re: ponu still?

Post by manu de hanoi » Sat Nov 29, 2008 1:31 am

that's what i meant, why dont you just start with a simple proven design ? Or maybe this one is, but what is the source ?
Attachments
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rad14701
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Re: ponu still?

Post by rad14701 » Sat Nov 29, 2008 7:18 am

Hey, toss that art on eBay quick, manu... :twisted:

Even though the original design image was well drawn up we don't know if it was an effective design... I think that's why its being attempted... I had entertained trying it but not until Spring... Now someone has beat me to it...

Adverse Effects
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Re: ponu still?

Post by Adverse Effects » Sat Nov 29, 2008 9:28 am

rad14701 wrote:.. I had entertained trying it but not until Spring... Now someone has beat me to it...
hahaha sorry mate ;-) (not really)

the only reason i built this design is because its so unusual and it intrigued me to the point where i just had to do it

i did not follow the pic to much but more the rough sizes he gave in his description
Some people say its "FREE" but i say "there ant no free lunch" you get what you pay/work for
help those that help them self first
25Lt old school SS keg as a pot with a prototype Ponu still head

rad14701
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Re: ponu still?

Post by rad14701 » Sat Nov 29, 2008 11:26 am

Adverse Effects wrote:hahaha sorry mate ;-) (not really)
Not a problem... I have been trying to determine how I'd do it without the fittings... I'll have to locate a tall boiler before making an attempt... I was thinking of using a soda canister with an electric element...

Can't wait to hear how it works...

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Re: ponu still?

Post by Adverse Effects » Sat Nov 29, 2008 7:53 pm

well i am now working on the seal for the top of my pot and dog bowl

i was thinking about what could i use that is not affected by alcohol can deal with heat and can seal 2 not quite flat surfaces

100% cotton so i started looking around for something

then i looked down at the bottom of the T-shirt i had on and the edge of it had a tube around it

so i cut it off along with about 1 inch of shirt

half the length was all i needed so i cut it in half then i cut more off the shirt about 2 inches wide (you know how T-Shitt type of cloth rolls up by its self) then i folded it over and pulled it through the tube i had and then made a drawstring for it

this is what you get and its washable to

Image
Image
Image
Image

the next job will be to make some sort of clip system to lock it all down
Some people say its "FREE" but i say "there ant no free lunch" you get what you pay/work for
help those that help them self first
25Lt old school SS keg as a pot with a prototype Ponu still head

Adverse Effects
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Re: ponu still?

Post by Adverse Effects » Tue Dec 09, 2008 7:39 am

rad14701 wrote:Can't wait to hear how it works...
rad14701 here it is stayed up just so i could post it for you 8)

well its 1:08 AM and i am totaly stuffed

just did the first cleaning run in the Ponu still

16Lt of 10% crap wine from the bottle shop it was just a cleaning run and a test to find leaks (found 3 will be fixed in the morning when i wake up)

the first 250ml came off at 95%+ @ 24c

next 500ml dropped to 72%

next 500ml dropped to 58%

next 500ml was 30 something % didn't take much notice

the rate it came out of the still was about 1/2 a match stick solid trickle

the funny thing is when it had passed about 1Lt i could start to smell the wine smell coming through

don't have a coolant flow on heat up when the bottom of the cooling condenser gets warm to the touch you turn the water on just enough to hold it there

heat up took 1 hour 15

the run (not including heat up) took just over 1 hour

total cooling water used 7Lt

1500watts may not be enough for the heat up but it just kept the still going i will have to insulate the boiler very well as i was losing so much heat from it

i want to see when i am not bleeding heat so badly from the boiler

have to move the power control for the element as the panel i have it bolted through got really hot because it is attached to the element bolts

i'll just make a stand off and mount a heat sink to it with the controller on it

all in all i think the ponu still works very well

this still is a mix if CM and HM

i can think of several different ways to change the design that could make it better

what do you guys think of those numbers ? 8) :D
Some people say its "FREE" but i say "there ant no free lunch" you get what you pay/work for
help those that help them self first
25Lt old school SS keg as a pot with a prototype Ponu still head

rad14701
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Re: ponu still?

Post by rad14701 » Tue Dec 09, 2008 6:02 pm

Congratulations, Adverse Effects... To be honest, the output rate is far greater than I had expected to hear... I would have expected more reflux, slower output, and accordingly higher ABV... Not bad at all for a first run, however...

I guess I'm curious whether regulating the primary vapor output would be beneficial... Just thinking out loud here... By regulating that vapor flow down it would force some additional reboiling in the in-pot condenser which would up the ABV and effectively slow the output... Thoughts...???

Now I'm even more intrigued...

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Re: ponu still?

Post by Adverse Effects » Tue Dec 09, 2008 6:26 pm

rad14701 wrote:Congratulations, Adverse Effects... To be honest, the output rate is far greater than I had expected to hear... I would have expected more reflux, slower output, and accordingly higher ABV... Not bad at all for a first run, however...

I guess I'm curious whether regulating the primary vapor output would be beneficial... Just thinking out loud here... By regulating that vapor flow down it would force some additional reboiling in the in-pot condenser which would up the ABV and effectively slow the output... Thoughts...???

Now I'm even more intrigued...

i have a lot more testing to do yet but it would seem that if you run to much cooling it drops the boiler heat because you are running all that cooled liquid down the first coil and dropping it back in to the pot
this could be fixed with a bigger heating element but i have a feeling that the primary coil size and volume , j tube size and volume have a HUGE affect on the performance of the still

i am guessing that if you made the primary coil out of 3/4" and made the columns out of 2 1/2" or 3" and made the j tube hold more volume it could work much better

i was getting distllet out at high % before even getting the pot to the boil you could posably run the pot slower and get a petter yeald off it to
Edit: i was just thinking

if you made the "L" tube that runs from the "T" junction larger or even gave it a small cooling coil you could induce more reflux by making it hard for the distelate to get out
Some people say its "FREE" but i say "there ant no free lunch" you get what you pay/work for
help those that help them self first
25Lt old school SS keg as a pot with a prototype Ponu still head

Adverse Effects
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Re: ponu still?

Post by Adverse Effects » Tue Dec 23, 2008 3:32 pm

ok wash out run #2
same 16Lt 10% crap wine from run #1

3:16PM start air temp 36c

4:14PM first drops

4:15PM test first 50ml = 95%

4:26PM 500ml = 92%

forgot to note down the rest of the run as i was working on my car trailer build

5:40PM total 2.5Lt taken off = 67%

this time i ran the cooling at about 1.5 times the rate as run #1
seemed to have a very small effect on % coming out raised it a small amount
i have a feeling this type of still management will be what heat your putting in not the cooling you are using

one thing i am very surprised about is just how little cooling is needed
the top canister where the cooling comes in and 1/2 way up can be cold at anything but as long as you don't have the coolant flow to high you will still get steam out of the top coolant exit

i know no one will reply in open forum but i would love it if some one that know what there doing and live in or near Brisbane QLD OZ could come over and have a play with it to see what it is able to do

if your game PM me i can even put you up for a night if needed

as for the cuts i am going to have trouble there as my nose and lungs where burnt from freon gas when i was younger and i can only smell the strongest of oders good or bad
Some people say its "FREE" but i say "there ant no free lunch" you get what you pay/work for
help those that help them self first
25Lt old school SS keg as a pot with a prototype Ponu still head

rad14701
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Re: ponu still?

Post by rad14701 » Tue Dec 23, 2008 3:48 pm

Interesting results, Adverse Effects... This may or may not turn out to be a viable design... Only time will tell... What I'm noticing is that the take off rate does seem to be yielding decent ABV... How the take off rate and ABV can be regulated still remains a mystery, however... Looking forward to additional run details...

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