Most of my beer projects are quickly wrapping up, which means I've been spending a lot of time thinking about new things to try.
An idea just came to me after reading through some of the more creative fermentation chiller threads and looking at jacketed conicals. I'm sure this isn't anything new, but my search magic failed me on tracking down related discussion.
Anyways, my idea is, basically, to use an immersion chiller to circulate cool/cold water to maintain fermentation temperatures (using a bucket, keg/carboy would be tricky to get the chiller in). A temp controller hooked to an aquarium pump pumping ice water (possibly stored in a nearby chest freezer) would maintain the desired temperature.
My rationale for this is that the footprint would be roughly equal to my bucket anyways, and the cost would be relatively low (coil of copper, STC-1000, aquarium/sump/fountain pump). And should be considerably more efficient than pumping cold air from the freezer into an insulated box (my original plan).
Copper being immersed in the wort for that amount of time is potentially problematic to the longevity of the copper (?), but should be good for the yeast. Temperature stratification is always an issue, but I wouldn't expect it to be bad. Sanitation, well sanitize the thing and seal it all up (modified lid). Scalability is definitely an issue, but I very rarely ferment more than a single batch at a time anyways.
So, collective intelligence of HBT, what say you? Crackpot scheme or pure genius?