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Old 10-26-2010, 05:31 PM   #1
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Default Need help with fermenter cooling system!!

Hey All!

I needs some ideas for improving my cooling system. I made a bit of an error in my design. I have a freezer with coolant in a bucket. I have temp sensors and controllers. Selenoid valves and stainless immersion chillers. The failed link is my submersible pump. I did not even consider the heat that thing puts off. My coolant only stays cold for about 15 minutes of running the system.

What are my options. I was thinking some other kind of continuous duty pump. It has to be strong enough to pump three lines with distances of up to 75 feet each line. plus the lines are 7 feet in the air.

Here are a couple of pictures of what I have going so far.





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Old 10-26-2010, 05:38 PM   #2
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Use an external pump outside of the cooler? I like your pictures and where you are going with it all Why not build a cold box around the fermentors though?

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Old 10-26-2010, 05:39 PM   #3
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Are you sure the reason is the heat given off by the pump? Trying to temp control 3 fermenters with a 75 foot line run with just one bucket of glycol seems impossible.

how big is the bucket of glycol in the freezer?

what you want is the largest thermal mass of coolant in the freezer....like a large trashcan or something.....or just fill the entire freezer up with glycol, that should do the trick

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Old 10-26-2010, 05:40 PM   #4
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I want people to see the fermenters. Part of the decor of the place. They are right up front near the bar. The wall where the controllers and valves are, that is the walk in cooler. I have three more tanks in there for tax determination and clearing.

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Old 10-26-2010, 05:43 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by infection View Post
Are you sure the reason is the heat given off by the pump? Trying to temp control 3 fermenters with a 75 foot line run with just one bucket of glycol seems impossible.

how big is the bucket of glycol in the freezer?

what you want is the largest thermal mass of coolant in the freezer....like a large trashcan or something.....or just fill the entire freezer up with glycol, that should do the trick
I have a 10 gallon tank filled, with the lines filled too. It works well. The return fluid is coming back to the freezer at about 49 degrees. Going out it was 29 degrees. I have to think the motor is bringing the fluid up to 69 degrees.
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Old 10-26-2010, 06:29 PM   #6
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It's not realistic to look at the performance when the 10 gallon reservoir is already cold. You might need to run it warm, and see how much the system can realistically pull the temperature down, over a given time.

You need to look at the volume of your lines, coils, and tank.

For instance,
If you have 3 lines that are 1/2" ID and 75 feet long with return, they are holding 1060 cubic inches of coolant - Or about 4.6 gallons.

If your reservoir is 10 gallons, you have about 33% of your coolant being heated at any given time.

That means your coolant is actually being "cooled" for 2 units of time out of 3. So if it takes 30 seconds for the coolant to leave the chiller and return, it will have 60 seconds to chill before leaving again.

If it's losing 20 degrees in 30 seconds, do you really expect a chest freezer to chill it 20 degrees in 60 seconds, by letting it sit in a bucket? I couldn't heat a 10 gallon bucket of water 20 degrees in a microwave in 60 seconds...

I would take a serious look at chillers on eBay or CL. I have seen them go for less than $500, and they are designed to handle that kind of thermal load.


All that said, if you have a more efficient way to accomplish the heat exchange in the freezer you could be more successful. A tank has very little surface area to exchange heat with the cold air. Running it through a radiator of some sort with fans moving the cold air across it would probably help significantly.
But then you run into the issue of putting a huge and constant thermal load on a home chest freezer that's not designed for it.

I'll be curious to see how this works out for you! I'll be following this thread

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ecnerwal View Post
What does the primary pressure gauge on the tank tell us? That's right, the temperature. Put it on a scale if you want to know how much is in it...
Put some duct tape over the gauge - Or better yet - Replace the high pressure gauge with a plug - High pressure gauges are useless!
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Old 10-26-2010, 06:46 PM   #7
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Ok That makes sense. The values are a bit off but close. The lines are 3/8 the return line is shared and is 1/2. So I guess i will start with a larger maybe two stage design in the cooler. maybe run the return through a copper chiller in the freezer too before dumping into first reservoir. Have the first reservoir fill from bottom exit from top into next bucket then draw from bottom of bucket to external pump?

I guess I could put some computer fans blowing across the copper coils too.

I am hoping this will be just a start-up system. If we start doing well we are going to purchase jacketed tanks, larger system and proper glycol system. We would like a 7bbl system ultimately. This was a much cheaper way to prove our concept to investors and possible lenders.

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Old 10-26-2010, 06:57 PM   #8
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I'm thinking something along the lines of a pre-chiller before the warm glycol gets back into the chest freezer.

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Old 10-26-2010, 06:59 PM   #9
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I would seriously consider a much better heat exchanger. For that kind of volume, you need a LOT of transfer, and you have very little time to do it.

There are 3 ways (That I can think of right now ) to get where you want to go;
1) Time - Leave the coolant in the freezer for longer (Larger reservoir)
2) Temperature - A larger differential in temperature will transfer faster (Colder freezer)
3) Surface area - More surface area will exchange more heat, faster.

Of course all 3 are even better. A larger reservoir, with huge surface area, and slower flow rate will perform much better.

But then the problems compound as well... Slower flow (more time inside the cold) means you lose more cold to ambient on the way to the fermenters. Insulation would help a great deal here.
And when you do reach maximum thermal transfer in the cooler, you're going to put an enormous load on the freezer. I would be shocked if it could actually keep up...

If you're interested, we had some dialog about this in my chiller build here:

There are a bunch of other threads about chilling.

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Originally Posted by Ecnerwal View Post
What does the primary pressure gauge on the tank tell us? That's right, the temperature. Put it on a scale if you want to know how much is in it...
Put some duct tape over the gauge - Or better yet - Replace the high pressure gauge with a plug - High pressure gauges are useless!
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Old 10-26-2010, 07:05 PM   #10
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Hey - Ping this guy - He's got a chiller

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ecnerwal View Post
What does the primary pressure gauge on the tank tell us? That's right, the temperature. Put it on a scale if you want to know how much is in it...
Put some duct tape over the gauge - Or better yet - Replace the high pressure gauge with a plug - High pressure gauges are useless!
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