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Old 12-15-2008, 12:11 PM   #1
DharkMeadBrewer
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Default CO2 gathering

so it occurred to me the other day that I am going to be buying CO2 (I just started kegging), and I was producing plenty of the stuff when I was fermenting my beer. Now I understand its impossible (read to damn expensive) for me to reproduce the amount of pressure I would get when I buy the co2 from the store (I believe its something like 830 psi until the liquid CO2 is depleted), but I thought It would be novel and I just don't like the thought of throwing away something only to buy the same exact thing.

The thought I had was this:

I collect the CO2 over water by piping the carboy into a C02 "reservoir" and then pumping it into an air compressor that I have had vacuum pumped (to remove nearly all the air). The C02 reservoir would have a float switch which kicked the compressor on and off. it would also have a port to the water reservoir, which would allow the water to escape the co2 reservoir when displaced. The water reservoir would have to be weighted on a see saw like thing so that as it filled with water it would fall as to keep the whole system zero pressure.


any obvious shortcomings?

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Old 12-15-2008, 12:27 PM   #2
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I have absolutely no idea if what you are trying to do is plausible but I will tell you this..... I pay $15 for a years supply of CO2.

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Old 12-15-2008, 12:36 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajwillys View Post
I have absolutely no idea if what you are trying to do is plausible but I will tell you this..... I pay $15 for a years supply of CO2.
+1 DIY is fun, but eventually reality comes comes crashing down on the practical side.

If you want to do it just to say you did it, but if the sole reason is money saving on Co2 costs, See above.
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Old 12-15-2008, 02:46 PM   #4
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The reservoir will have to be at least 15-20 psi to be useful for carbonating and serving. Collecting over water and relying on the water column to provide pressure, you're looking at a 40-50 foot tall tank.

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Old 12-15-2008, 06:08 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by david_42 View Post
The reservoir will have to be at least 15-20 psi to be useful for carbonating and serving. Collecting over water and relying on the water column to provide pressure, you're looking at a 40-50 foot tall tank.
err... not what I meant.

the water reservoir falls as the co2 reservoir fills making sure that the co2 enters the co2 reservoir at almost 0 psi because if the pressure where too high it would inhibit fermentation.

the air compressor would take co2 out of the co2 reservoir and store it in its tank, by doing so the water reservoir would rise and the co2 reservoir would fill back up with water.
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Old 12-15-2008, 06:30 PM   #6
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I wonder if instead of using an air compressor if you could just use city water pressure to get you up to 60 PSI or so.

Also wouldn't there be other gasses besides Co2 mixed in from yeast production?

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Old 12-15-2008, 06:35 PM   #7
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One idea I had once to save the carbonation was to replace the airlock in the fermenter with an adjustable pressure relief valve. You could set the valve at 12 psi and then the fermenting beer would already be carbonated when it was done. I'm sure there's something wrong with this plan though. You're idea is certainly interesting.

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Old 12-15-2008, 07:49 PM   #8
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Shortcomings:

Lack of CO2 volume produced by the fermentation process, it would take years to produce the volume required to force carb even one cornie

The process of evacuating your entire system of air prior to the introduction of CO2 from the fermentation process would be very costly

A compressor would more than likely bleed in air to your process and would more than likely require oil to run thus contaminating your gas

Basically a very costly and inefficient method of producing something you can buy for dirt cheap

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Old 12-15-2008, 08:05 PM   #9
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pressurized fermentation. You'll start with carbed beer and only have to push it.

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Old 12-15-2008, 08:08 PM   #10
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Quote:
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Shortcomings:

Lack of CO2 volume produced by the fermentation process, it would take years to produce the volume required to force carb even one cornie

...
While I agree with the rest of your points, I disagree with this one. Enough CO2 is produced during the consumption of 5 oz of dextrose to carb 53 bottles, there certainly is enough CO2 produced during fermentation to carb the batch. ajwillys' comment is the low cost way to do it, just build a spunding valve and ferment under pressure.
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