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Jun 08, 2022 View:

Distillery Ventillation due to fermentation

We've just recently walled up and insulated a portion of our "pole barn" and so now we've got a 2000 sq. foot climate-controlled area for our production. It's a double metal building (metal exterior and interior walls). That being said, do we need to incorporate a mechanical vent in order to ensure that we do not have an overabundance of CO2 floating around in the facility, or will walking in and out with the door getting opened and closed be good enough to let the CO2 out? We will have a heating/air system installed soon, nothing different from a standard system used for 2000 sq. ft. We currently have five fermenters @ 200 gal. each. Right now I'm planning on getting a few CO2 detectors to see how things are and hopefully that will tell me if we'll need a vent. Any ideas/experience with this?


Reply:

We've just recently walled up and insulated a portion of our "pole barn" and so now we've got a 2000 sq. foot climate-controlled area for our production. It's a double metal building (metal exterior and interior walls). That being said, do we need to incorporate a mechanical vent in order to ensure that we do not have an overabundance of CO2 floating around in the facility, or will walking in and out with the door getting opened and closed be good enough to let the CO2 out? We will have a heating/air system installed soon, nothing different from a standard system used for 2000 sq. ft. We currently have five fermentation @ 200 gal. each. Right now I'm planning on getting a few CO2 detectors to see how things are and hopefully that will tell me if we'll need a vent. Any ideas/experience with this?


Reply:

Paul,

Each pound of fermentable sugar will produce about 1/2 LB of C02 (and 1/2 LB of alcohol). 1/2LB is about 227 grams, and the molecular weight of CO2 is 12+16+16=44. According to the ideal gas law, one Mole of any gas occupies about 22.4 liters of volume at standard temperature and pressure. Each 1/2 LB of CO2 = 227/44 moles, or about 5 moles, or about 115 liters of space. One cubic foot is about 28 liters, so in general you produce about 4 cubic feet of CO2 for every pound of fermentable sugar. If you have 400 LBS eq. sugars in each fermenter, and they're on a 5 day cycle, then you're producing 400 x 4 = 1600 CU Ft CO2 every day, just over 1 cu ft per minute. OSHA guidelines are 5000 ppm (.5%) for an 8 hour day. .5% is one part in 200, so you need a minimum of 200 cu ft/min outside air to mix with the newly produced CO2. This may be in addition to other ventilation requirements for habitation. Also, moisture control may be a larger consideration in the brew house.

Will


Reply:

Paul,

Each pound of fermentable sugar will produce about 1/2 LB of C02 (and 1/2 LB of alcohol). 1/2LB is about 227 grams, and the molecular weight of CO2 is 12+16+16=44. According to the ideal gas law, one Mole of any gas occupies about 22.4 liters of volume at standard temperature and pressure. Each 1/2 LB of CO2 = 227/44 moles, or about 5 moles, or about 115 liters of space. One cubic foot is about 28 liters, so in general you produce about 4 cubic feet of CO2 for every pound of fermentable sugar. If you have 400 LBS eq. sugars in each fermenter, and they're on a 5 day cycle, then you're producing 400 x 4 = 1600 CU Ft CO2 every day, just over 1 cu ft per minute. OSHA guidelines are 5000 ppm (.5%) for an 8 hour day. .5% is one part in 200, so you need a minimum of 200 cu ft/min outside air to mix with the newly produced CO2. This may be in addition to other ventilation requirements for habitation. Also, moisture control may be a larger consideration in the brew house.

Will


Reply:

Brad,

If you have 1000 gallons of "bubbling crude" - Texas Tea (Beverly Hillbillys) in a non-ventilated space, you will get mold. CO2 is heavier than air (mostly N2 and O2) while water vapor is lighter. CO2 will hang around near the floor (which is why the Coop's bathroom vent is near the floor), while water vapor will head for the ceiling. Most industrial spaces already have sufficient ventilation, but if you're rolling your own, a few of those whirly-gig vents are a good start. Ventilation is not a bad thing.

Will


Reply:

And if you haven't already, American Scientific & Surplus currently has some nice muffin fans that will move 240 cfm of air.


Reply:

Are they open or closed fermenters? At my old facility we had closed fermenters, with venting set up to the outside. We ran 1/2" pvc piping along the ceiling with valves set up over each fermenter, and had 1/2" tubing tubing that connected the valves to the fermenters vents. Just connected it together after pitching yeast and it vented straight outside.

We've just recently walled up and insulated a portion of our "pole barn" and so now we've got a 2000 sq. foot climate-controlled area for our production. It's a double metal building (metal exterior and interior walls). That being said, do we need to incorporate a mechanical vent in order to ensure that we do not have an overabundance of CO2 floating around in the facility, or will walking in and out with the door getting opened and closed be good enough to let the CO2 out? We will have a heating/air system installed soon, nothing different from a standard system used for 2000 sq. ft. We currently have five fermenters @ 200 gal. each. Right now I'm planning on getting a few CO2 detectors to see how things are and hopefully that will tell me if we'll need a vent. Any ideas/experience with this?