BIODIESEL & SVO DISCUSSION FORUMS





Sponsors    Biodiesel and SVO Forums Home    Forums  Hop To Forum Categories  Biodiesel  Hop To Forums  Methanol Recovery    Milk can still with a hot plate heater

Moderators: Shaun, The Trouts
Go
New
Find
Notify
Tools
Reply
  
Milk can still with a hot plate heater
 Login/Join
 
member
posted
Ok guys, I bought an old carbon steel milk can and a 750W hot plate. With the help of this website:
http://www.moonshine-still.com/page8.htm
I hope to turn it into the basis of my methanol still.

The can was $15 at an antique shop. The hot plate was $1.50 at Goodwill. Now I will need to follow the instructions on the moonshine website to set it up.

I bought used a 35 gallon hot water heater a while back, but I'm just not ready to jump into that scale yet. Besides, the hot glycerin coming out of the still is going to go right into making soap. I can do a few gallons of soap at a time. I can't do 20 gallons of soap at a time.

I think what I like best about the idea is that I can do it outside to help with ventilation and I can throw my submersible pump into my hot tub and use it as the cooling water supply. Yes, I realize that 90-100F is much warmer that what comes out of the tap, but with enough condenser surface area and enough cooling water flow it will not matter. Besides, the heat won't be wasted.

Anyone know how big these cans are?

-Jim


www dot FryerPower dot com
1987 300DT (The sedan, not the wagon.) Some modifications to the fuel system.
1995 S350D Unmodified fuel system.
I plead the 5th.


ImageSmaller_Milk_Can.JPG (219 Kb, 51 downloads)
 
Location: Middle Tennessee, Jack Daniel's country | Registered: August 10, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
posted Hide Post
My parents used to milk into those cans. I think they are 5 gallon.


You'll never go wrong by doing right.

Who do you call when the lawmakers ignore the law?
 
Location: Belle Plaine Iowa | Registered: November 06, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
member
posted Hide Post
This one is definately bigger than 5 gallons. I added 8 gallons of glycerin to it and there is still some room.


www dot FryerPower dot com
1987 300DT (The sedan, not the wagon.) Some modifications to the fuel system.
1995 S350D Unmodified fuel system.
I plead the 5th.


ImageTop_Milk_Can.JPG (51 Kb, 43 downloads)
 
Location: Middle Tennessee, Jack Daniel's country | Registered: August 10, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
member
posted Hide Post
Top of the can with the parts laid out.

ImageTop_with_parts.JPG (34 Kb, 62 downloads)
 
Location: Middle Tennessee, Jack Daniel's country | Registered: August 10, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
member
posted Hide Post
Condenser end. 1/2 inch PVC, 1/4 copper tubing.

ImageCondenser_end.JPG (21 Kb, 62 downloads)
 
Location: Middle Tennessee, Jack Daniel's country | Registered: August 10, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
member
posted Hide Post
The still as set up with manual control. The hotplate is under it providing 750W of heat. The column is 1 inch copper about 4 feet long. It is stuffed with 4 copper scrub pads. If you snip the middle of the pad it will unroll like a sock. There is a 1/8 inch compression fitting at the end of the elbow with a type J thermocouple installed. I have a Watlow 103E-1601-1000 temperature controller to attach the thermocouple to. I'm just not there yet. The cooling water is supplied by my hot tub as the heat sink. I have a Garden Treasures MD320 fountain pump in the hot tub providing the flow through the condenser. (320GPH at 1 foot of lift. Max of 11.5 foot lift.) The return line of the pump is under water so once the flow gets going it should come up to nearly the 1 foot rated level.

I still need to insulate the milk can to speed things along and build the controls so that the hot plate will cycle on and off to hold the desired temperature. Once it gets up to temperature I can manually turn down the hot plate to reduce the number of times the controller cycles.

I also still need to provide some mechanical support for the whole thing.

-Jim

ImageStill_manual.JPG (17 Kb, 62 downloads)
 
Location: Middle Tennessee, Jack Daniel's country | Registered: August 10, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post



member
posted Hide Post
In the head shot you can see the line that leads to the condenser section and the thermocouple clearly. The extended verticle section off of the top of the column is there for two purposes. First, it is the threaded removable part that I can take off to clean and back flush the column. Second, it provides some surface area for cooling and reflux action. If I find I am getting too much reflux I can insulate it to slow it down.

ImageHeadshot.JPG (12 Kb, 51 downloads)
 
Location: Middle Tennessee, Jack Daniel's country | Registered: August 10, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
member
posted Hide Post
Condenser top. 1/4 inch copper tubing passing through 1/2 inch PVC plumber's delight style condenser. It is only about 6-7 feet long. I hope it is enough.

ImageCondenser_top.JPG (14 Kb, 37 downloads)
 
Location: Middle Tennessee, Jack Daniel's country | Registered: August 10, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
member
posted Hide Post
Condenser bottom.

ImageCondenser_bottom.JPG (36 Kb, 40 downloads)
 
Location: Middle Tennessee, Jack Daniel's country | Registered: August 10, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
member
posted Hide Post
Hotplate under the can.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: Shaun,
 
Location: Middle Tennessee, Jack Daniel's country | Registered: August 10, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
member
posted Hide Post
I am also planning on using a tubing pump to draw air from the top of my collection container and push it to the bottom of the milk can. This should improve recovery rates and provide some stirring of the glycerin.

-Jim
 
Location: Middle Tennessee, Jack Daniel's country | Registered: August 10, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
member
posted Hide Post
Clearly something needs to be done about the rate of heat input. It has been running for hours and is not up to temperature yet. I'm still wiring the control board while I sit inside in the nice cool air conditioning. I'll dig out my multi meter with the temperature probe on it when I am done and see where I am at. Clearly I need some insulation on the can. I've wrapped it in a wool army blanket, but it could be better. Should I insulate the reflux column and just leave the top of it uninsulated?

-Jim
 
Location: Middle Tennessee, Jack Daniel's country | Registered: August 10, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post



member
posted Hide Post
The control board is now wired up. The hot plate will plug directly into the the socket. The light switch shuts the whole thing off. I'm going to put a nite light into the other socket so that it turns on and off at the same time as the hot plate. The sockets are wired in series with the relay in the Watlow controller. When the light is on the hot plate is on. A nice visual indicator to help me get the right power setting once it gets up to 152 F in the column head.

If it ever gets there...

(edit: I don't need the nite light. The controller has a load light on the front to let you know when the load is energized.) I plugged in the radio instead...Smile

-Jim

ImageControl_Board.JPG (27 Kb, 44 downloads)
 
Location: Middle Tennessee, Jack Daniel's country | Registered: August 10, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
member
posted Hide Post
Hi Jim

Nice-looking setup.

You definitely need better insulation Smile About two inches of rockwool or polyurethane foam would be a good start. The latent heat of vapourisation of methanol is 1008 Joules per gram, or 1008 Watt-seconds if you prefer. So, *assuming no losses*, your 750W hotplate will be capable of vapourising 2678 grams or 3.38 litres or 0.893 US gallons of methanol in an hour.

Going by your picture of the assembled still, your can looks to be about two feet tall and 10 inches diameter. Taking it as a cylinder, it has a surface area of 832 square inches or 0.5368 square metres (the cylinder wall plus one end) to lose heat from. The heat loss from a steel tank with a 50C temperature differential is around 27W per metre squared per degree C (http://www.spiraxsarco.com/resources/steam-engineering-tutorials/steam-engineering-principles-and-heat-transfer/energy-consumption-of-tanks-and-vats.asp). This would give you about 675W losses without insulation, leaving only 75W to drive off methanol. Add in your column, and you aren't likely to be able to supply enough heat at all with 750W.

I distil methanol from by-product in 200 litre batches. My tank is insulated with 2" of polyurethane foam top and bottom, and 1" of rockwool around the sides, overlaid with a metallic foil outer layer. I get about 5 litres an hour (1.3 US gallons) coming off, maybe a bit more, using a 3KW heater. I'm thinking of doubling the rockwool....

All the best

Pete
 
Location: Prees, Shropshire, UK | Registered: May 15, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
posted Hide Post
Jim,
Can you not drill a hole in the can and install a 1500 watt heater element in it like I did my beer barrel? I put about 8 to 9 gallons in it at a time so theres no chance of the element being uncovered.
 
Location: Athens Al | Registered: July 22, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
member
posted Hide Post
I wanted to do this with minimal modifications, but I think I need more heat. I think I will do it heat spear style and come in from the lid inside of black iron pipe. I think I'll run the air supply pipe to the bottom of the can just under the heating element. Yes, it could cause momentary air pockets on the heating element, but in reality it should just cause flow over the element.

-Jim


www dot FryerPower dot com
1987 300DT (The sedan, not the wagon.) Some modifications to the fuel system.
1995 S350D Unmodified fuel system.
I plead the 5th.
 
Location: Middle Tennessee, Jack Daniel's country | Registered: August 10, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
member
posted Hide Post
I've got three boxes of 2" rockwool. I hate cutting the stuff. I guess I need to make this thing a permenent part of my shed/biodiesel area.

The Watlow controller I have can only handle 240V 8A. It should be able to handle a 1500W element. (1500W/240V = 6.25 Amps.)

-Jim
 
Location: Middle Tennessee, Jack Daniel's country | Registered: August 10, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
  Powered by Social Strata  
 

Sponsors    Biodiesel and SVO Forums Home    Forums  Hop To Forum Categories  Biodiesel  Hop To Forums  Methanol Recovery    Milk can still with a hot plate heater

© Maui Green Energy 2000 - 2014