High volume ethanol recovery

Hey forum

New guy here. Been reading posts and am impressed with the information here. Here’s my question.

If you were doing a 300L vessel ethanol extraction and after you’ve drained the tanks what would be the best way to recovery that much ethanol per cycle. Falling film, rolling, something else that is more industrial? I have not been able to find much on industrial size systems.

Thanks and hope my question makes sense.

How many batches per day?
Figure out what your daily or weekly solvent recovery volumes and that will inform the answer more than batch size.

But likely some form of falling or rising/falling film is your best bet at that kind of scale.


in order to recover as much of that ethanol as possible, you’ll need a centrifuge or a press. I’m biased towards a centrifuge, but if you’ve been reading up around here you probably know that I’ve got my hat in the spiny thing ring. :wink:

a 100gal moonshine still is 1/4 the price of the a FFE with the same throughput. although it looks like I’ll have experience with my first FFE before I get the 100gal moonshine still up and running.


The main difference of a 100gal still vs an FFE is that its batch vs continuous. Its more challenging to evenly heat a vat of solution vs stripping solvent as it enters the machine.


Then there are the residence time differences, and although you can get non-decarbed cannabinoids out of a moonshine still under vac**, it is definitely better for the cannabinoids to use a FFE/RFE/…

They also have a smaller footprint than a traditional still.

** I collapsed my turbo 500 three times before I quit trying to pull vac on it :wink:


How many times a day do you want to reuse that 300L vessel?

How may 300L vessels are you using?

Do you have the bits between your still (evaporator/recovery solution) and your 300L vessel sorted?

FFE are available in actual industrial sizes and are heavily used outside the cannabis industry.

So I’m guessing they are the go to if you’ve got the dough to…

Edit: it’s also what the guy I buy my clues from says on the subject :wink:


Are you getting the plated vodka column to go with that still for re-proofing after recovery? I could see that as another advantage vs FFE. Unless I missed something and it’s possible/practical to also re-proof in a FFE?

Good point. Those FFE and thin film units are not reflux stills. Single theoretical plate if I’m not in the weeds.

It’s only the last bit you strip that needs reproofing in my experience, but I’m guessing that depends on operational parameters. Based on reports from other operators


The system we are looking at can come with the FEE and then was planning on centrifuging the extracted biomass to recover ethanol and oil left behind.

Send me an email to fverlynde@yahoo.com. We have many industrial models made tot order.
Thank you

No forum participation, no pics of your wares and a Yahoo email address? Bold move, but I think you’re full of shit. Prove me wrong.


Thanks for all of the replies. FFE is probably the way we are going. And the 300L is a thing of the past, it’s too small, unless there are efficiency issues with using a 2000L+ vessel. It would be jacketed and wrapped of course.

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So you’re going to be going 2000L bucket tek? That’s ambitious… there are likely more efficient ways to skin that cat.


Our group has a background in food processing design, manufacturing and plant layout. What we envision is ambitious but very possible.


How do you plan on drying all that biomass before it starts warming up? Maybe I’m missing something, but this approach sounds like trying to eat an elephant in one bite.


Most of the material comes dry at this time but we’re working on a drying process. Yeah it’s a big elephant we’re taking on but it’ll be worth it.


Would a moonshine still be kinda dangerous and possibly hard to control heat level?

you could probably approach it in such a manner that it was, but with agitation, indirect heat (baine marie style), and a vacuum assist, it should be a safe and controllable process. The Scots have been running big stills for some time now.

I certainly talked to professional distillers who were concerned about loading 190 into the still and firing it up. I saw nothing problematic at 5gal or 15gal scale without vacuum. Vac does add another level of complexity, but it’s one most of us are already familiar with.

Heating a vat of flammable solvent up to it’s boiling point and playing with the vapours IS inherently dangerous. Things can go wrong, and making sure you’re prepared for them is important. Adequate ventilation. Compliant electrical. Secondary containment in case of spills. Well marked exits. fire suppression.

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Please do not use a gas burner if you go this route. I got away with charging my still with 170 proof on a gas burner countless times in college until I finally didn’t. Still fires are no joke, and the money I saved in gas by doing this was heavily offset by the money and time I spent repairing the back porch (not to mention the embarrassment). I was lucky. All it would have taken was oxygen to get into the boiler and I would likely be missing limbs or worm food from an explosion. Also make sure you keep the fire extinguisher in an easily accessible place. Somewhere where you don’t have to run through flames to get to it.


What’s the best heat source that is nearly free of fire hazard?