Cold DeGumming

Hey guys,

I have a client that wants to scale ethanol primary extraction on a fairly large scale of about 2000lbs a day. We are hitting a bottleneck not with cooling the ethanol, but rather heating it back up in the degumming process. The amount of time/energy consumed in the process is super expensive. The chillers we can get past but the cost of adding a steam boiler/TCU that can bring the -50C solvent at time of extraction to 35C in order to get a proper filtration is pretty astronomical. The flow rate is 110gph on ethanol.

I am wondering has anyone every preformed a successful degum/cleanup staying cold through the entire process?

I am also open to other means of heating. We were playing with the idea of a liquid to air heater at least to bring it close to room temp.

Thank in advance.

You might want to go into more detail about how they are currently degumming to help us get a better idea of how your process might be optimized.

Where is this facility located? I’ve thought about using a liquid-liquid heat exchanger and an air handler to both air condition a cold extraction facility as well as bring the plant oil-laden ethanol closer to room temperature to reduce the energy necessary to bring it up to boiling temps once it goes into the still or rotos. The reason I shy away from going direct from liquid to air with an air handler is that you’ll get nasty color from the ethanol/hash oil interacting with brass and copper, and if I had to guess an all stainless air handler is going to be both worse at thermal transfer and super expensive

Location is important because if it’s hot all the time that would change suggested strategy versus somewhere like the PNW where you wouldn’t want to air condition the facility year round.

You might look into how Delta Separations is doing their cold degum/dewax, they claim “high flow” though I’m not sure what GPM that is. From the looks of the video it’s certainly being done cold given the ice buildup on the pipes:

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THanks for the reply. They are using standard Citric Acid to PH adjust and degum via a couple different media. It’s the exact same process or nearly the same as is detailed on this forum.

As for the fabirication of the SS heat exchanger we can design one from scratch and have it fabbed seeing as that is what our company does. Even ambient to -50C is going to be quite a jump, it would probably cool the entire lab lol.

On to the issue of using heat exchangers for the cold-warm-cold cycle during degum/filtration/winterization. The amount of energy needed to move 110 gallons of ethanol in 30 min from -50c to 35c and back to -50c is massive. It’s about 65,000 btu or 10KW @ -50C and 10KW at 35C. This is before you account for fluid and insulation in efficiencies so add 30-40 percent to that and you are at a 30KW(ish) load. To do this in stand alone TCU’s I’m going to guess that will cost in the 250-300k range, hence the question can we just degum cold.

I’ll do some digging. Additionally comments welcomed.

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Wow, you completely misread what I wrote. Try re-reading it.

In terms of process, you could degum cold (thus the link to the Delta CUP video) and then use a heat exchanger + air handler to warm your liquid closer to ambient. Doing so would mean drastically less energy spent heating cold liquid up to boiling temps in a still or roto. And maybe reducing the amount you’re spending on air conditioning the interior of your building.

SS shell and tube heat exchangers are easy to find and relatively inexpensive, for transferring enthalpy from liquid-liquid. But AFAIK almost nobody is using stainless for exchanging temperature from liquid to air, because stainless transfer ability sucks compared to normal copper/brass air handling units. You can’t use copper/brass in an ethanol application because the hash oil/alcohol will react badly with copper/brass and air handler interiors aren’t meant to be anything resembling sanitary, CIP or food grade.

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How about: circulate the cold tincture through your recovery still as coolant…use the heat you need to remove to condense your solvent to warm your tincture…

Or use an intermediate heat transfer fluid.


I have played with this concept, but when I am expected to deliver results to a client, I would rather not guess at something that might work. Definitely a great way to use the energy in the process though. I have even used this concept on hydrocarbon recovery.

All signs right now are pointing to a steam boiler and SS H/E. Getting pricing today will keep you guys in the know.

I did mis-read that a bit lol sorry.

Im going to do some more research on the cold CUP degum. Do you know anyone using that process and going straight to decarb, then a WFE?

I am curious as to their purity, performance, etc once it hits distillation. I am guessing it is still pretty dirty and requires multiple passes.

so don’t guess…do the math :slight_smile:

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Some points of order here:

Cryo ethanol extractions rarely require degumming, especially enzymatically. We have had many customers use our degumming enzyme on cryo ethanol extracts and say that it didn’t do much; where as, HC and CO2 extractors find it very useful.

The Delta Sep filtration system is a carbon scrubber, and now they have a lenticular plate filter as well, that is more of a dewax/chlorophyll removal system.

Every degumming method I am aware of would occur at room temp or above.


I wondered about that, especially at the 3:00 mark on this video where they call it “high flow degumming filtration” Delta Separations CUP - YouTube

Makes me wonder what (if any) the difference is at sufficiently cold temps between “degumming” and simply winterizing.

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I don’t. I assume Delta is doing their process on the cold “tea” after its been spun out of the plant material but before the ethanol has been removed, so I think process would actually be Delta CUP → degum/dewax → solvent recovery still or rotovap → decarb → WFE

If anyone who has this system from Delta can tell us how it actually shakes out I’d be very interested

maybe just ask the guys at Delta Separations?


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