Making a still... - Page 2 - SailNet Community
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post #11 of 19 Old 12-17-2012
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Re: Making a still...

The last picture is a good example. I am usig it to distill alcohol, The tubing is similiar but enclosed in a closed container, water is fed to the container which cools down the alcohol.

Do not worry about mineral content of the water. It will be pure water without any minerals, butwater is not the only source for minerals. You can get minerals from what you eat. If worried for your water you can add some sea water to your distilled water. I am not sure about the amount but sea water contains all the minerals,the only drawback is the of NaCl.
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post #12 of 19 Old 12-17-2012
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Re: Making a still...

My only problem with this is the inordinate amount of propane/alcohol needed to make any useful quantity of water (for drinking for instance - to top of batteries as a one time thing, sure).

The more coil and cooling you get from the copper line the more efficient the process becomes due to less vapor loss. I grew up in West by god Virginia, I've heard of these things (wink wink, nudge nudge).

Please note that using a still in the US is legal - if the sole reason is to produce distilled water, provided it can make less than a gallon. Produce one drop of alcohol and nasty things can happen.
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post #13 of 19 Old 12-17-2012
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Re: Making a still...

More info:


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post #14 of 19 Old 12-17-2012
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Re: Making a still...

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The WHO also formulated an ideal drinking water, which isn't found anywhere in nature, though the water from Caribbean and South Sea islands comes close! (calcium laden waters)
WHO | Calcium and magnesium in drinking-water

What, no lithium? That's a serious oversight for an "ideal" drinking water.
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post #15 of 19 Old 12-17-2012 Thread Starter
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Re: Making a still...

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Originally Posted by chucklesR View Post
My only problem with this is the inordinate amount of propane/alcohol needed to make any useful quantity of water (for drinking for instance - to top of batteries as a one time thing, sure).

The more coil and cooling you get from the copper line the more efficient the process becomes due to less vapor loss. I grew up in West by god Virginia, I've heard of these things (wink wink, nudge nudge).
Sure, you'd be trading a lot of propane for your water, but this is a backup/emergency item in my intended usage. Just something in case the primary water system failed, not a replacement for a water-maker. The E-still made about a pint an hour but it didn't have any tubing and was a very inefficient design.

Any guesses on how much water a unit like this might produce? Sounds like some of you guys have "heard" more about these things than I.

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post #16 of 19 Old 04-22-2013
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Re: Making a still...

Making water by cooking/distillation is not that hard once you have the right gear, but it does use up a lot of fuel. Solar distillation is the way to go, IMHO. I would much rather invest in solar still set up, something that can be hanging outside on gimbals. Or a setup that uses a solar oven to heat the water in a distillation rig.
The cooling bucket needs to have the water changed quite often, or it will not cool the coil enough. You could set it in the cockpit so that it drains better and does not make a mess in the galley - just have a longer piece of the copper tubing between the cooker and the 'worm'.
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post #17 of 19 Old 04-22-2013
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Re: Making a still...

Most solar stills seem to be very poor design and produce very little water. A good design would use a Compound parabolic Concentrator to concentrate sunlight onto a container filled with seawater that would evaporate. Most solar stills allow the water to condense on a transparent membrane thru which the sunlight has to pass radically reducing the efficiency. Condensation should be on another surface.
Maybe I'll get around to making this someday. It should hang from a halyard so it maintains constant orientation with a flat membrane reflector to track the sun reflecting it into the concentrator. The tracker would be a simple bimetallic strip where differential temp would orient the flat membrane reflector. Use of the Compound Parabolic Concentrator also minimizes the tracking accuracy requirement.
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post #18 of 19 Old 04-23-2013
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Re: Making a still...

Another issue when distilling seawater is that as the salt content increases in the feedstock, the boiling point increases as well, needing more fuel to facilitate evaporation. And you can't keep on heating the water until you end up with dry salt, or you will burn the pot. Thus you need to dump the concentrated brine more often, requiring even more fuel to heat up another batch. You will also need a high quality cooking vessel to withstand corrosion from the combined high salt and high temperature factors.
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post #19 of 19 Old 04-23-2013 Thread Starter
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Re: Making a still...

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Originally Posted by krisscross View Post
Another issue when distilling seawater is that as the salt content increases in the feedstock, the boiling point increases as well, needing more fuel to facilitate evaporation. And you can't keep on heating the water until you end up with dry salt, or you will burn the pot. Thus you need to dump the concentrated brine more often, requiring even more fuel to heat up another batch. You will also need a high quality cooking vessel to withstand corrosion from the combined high salt and high temperature factors.
All good points and things I learned with the E-still. I've got the cooking vessel. It currently does double duty as crab boiling pot (using seawater) and beer brewing kettle (not using seawater). If I use it for my still I'll have 3 functions on the boat as well as a giant pasta pot if I ever need one. Usually most of the taste from the previous job washes out...

Crab-leg Porter anyone?

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