Who sells huge cryo chillers that aren't huge disappointments?


#1

I’m about ready to say Hubers are fucking garbage and nobody should buy them, ever. I guess I don’t have experience with the ones bigger than the Unistat 815’s we have but the problems I’ve seen I’m not exactly eager to give them a chance. The Pilot One interface is neat, but so far on 3x Unistat 815’s we’ve seen:

  • One has worse cooling performance than the others right out of the crate. Suspect a pump issue. In communication with Huber about it.
  • Can’t reset an alarm from the HMI, have to power off and reboot.
  • If there’s a way to make the chiller attempt to restart after an alarm, I haven’t found it in either interface or manual. Can’t imagine I’m the only one using these with expensive products.
  • Documentation is painfully bad
  • Data logging software doesn’t want to read log files from chillers. Has a “patch” I can download from Huber’s website, but doesn’t think the original program has been installed when I try and install the patch software.
  • Been a month for price & availability on process thermocouple. Nothing. God forbid they just stock or sell me the fuckin connector so I could wire my own.
  • One has touchscreen errors, frequently, for no apparent reason
  • Air burping process is dumb and takes forever
  • Published specs for cooling performance must have been tested inside a walk-in freezer
  • Not enough expansion tank volume & level gauge is slow to register actual level. Spillage is almost guaranteed when trying to fill.
  • Not enough fan area/power (can get considerably better performance by putting a box fan by the exhaust, pulling hot air away from the unit

I want to get a descent amount of ethanol from our storage freezer at ~-25C to -45 for our process. Above 80F/26C ambient temps the Unistats can barely maintain temps on 60 gallons in an insulated reactor, much less actually cool that far in a reasonable amount of time. These weren’t going to be our “forever” solution for that but they were supposed to be a good stopgap.

Long term to hit the rate I need I want to get 105 gallons an hour cooled down from -25C to -45C. I realize this is going to take a massively large and expensive system to do so. Needless to say this is going to cost cubic dollars, and I’d like to only do so once. Curious if anyone has experience with systems that large that aren’t going to be huge, poorly designed disappointments like these smaller lab chillers have been.


#2

Precision Mechanical is a guy local here to Seattle who buy, fixes and resells lab grade freezers. I believe he will ship.


#3

I looked at Precision Mechanical’s website, and it looks awesome for small scale lab chillers and freezers. I think for the amount of chilling “work” I need to do I’m well into industrial grade and scale territory (and price…ouch)


#4

Wow I’m really surprised to hear this. Huber is supposed to be the best quality available. I can get you really big chillers that go down to -60C or more. I’m sure it would cost far less than anything else out there, but I don’t know how good the quality would be in comparison. You might need to get a big simple industrial chiller as described and get a refrigeration tech on retainer.


#5

Just mix dry ice and iso. So much more worth than anything on the market


#6

Sorry to hear you are having so much trouble. Our clients have had a lot of success with Julabo FPW91-SL and FP-55 for heavy demand levels.

Unfortunately what you are seeing is, as all these vendors try to expand their production lines, QC starts to slip. It is common in every business.

If you want to chat more about your specific challenges and cooling capacities you can slide me a PM ill try to help.


#7

Also, you may want to try moving to a water cooled application, which in and of itself has advantages and disadvantages, but ambient heat build up never becomes and issue.


#8

For the scale I’m talking about (105 gal/hr with eyes on over 200 GPH) that’s not going to be cost effective and its going to eat a lot of labor that could be doing other more lucrative things.

Around -20F I found that 5 lbs of dry ice in direct contact with solvent in a 35 gal insulated reactor would drop temp about 1 degree, and obviously theres a very real limit to how much you can put in at an 80% fill without having the alcohol boil out and all over the floor. For 105 gals/hr that says I would need 100 lbs an hour of dry ice per 35 gal reactor, 800 lbs per reactor in an 8 hour day to achieve the rates I’m looking to get. I don’t think its realistic to be burning thru more than a ton a day of dry ice regardless of the cost.


#9

is that 105 gallons an hour of blasting into machine? and with eyes on gph? Is that gallons per hour as well? What is around -20f? and what’s your insulated reactor? Your collection pot? and for here “and obviously theres a very real limit to how much you can put in at an 80% fill without having the alcohol boil out and all over the floor.” what is that in context to? Recovery pot? Material Column? But honestly, considering what you’re doing it looks like you’d need at least two industrial sized chillers that after labor, maintenance and electric cost, poor mans cry still seems cheaper and easier


#10

I’m not blasting, I’m doing ethanol extraction. Ideally, cold ethanol extraction so that I don’t pull fats and lipids that I’ll have to filter out later in a winterization process that I’d really like to avoid.

Right now my ethanol storage freezer gets it down to -20F, so that’s the “starting” temp of my ethanol. Insulated reactor holds about 35 lbs of biomass + 35 gal ethanol without getting too full for comfort. There is no collection pot, we have a primary solvent recovery still that gets 50-60% of the ethanol out of the “tea” and from there goes to a team of 50L rotovaps for final solvent evaporation/recovery. From the rotos it gets emptied out and goes to a different lab so its not my problem after that.

105 gal/hr is my current target, that would mean 105 lbs/hr running 1 gal ethanol to 1 lb biomass across 3x 35 gal reactors/maceration tanks. Long term I’d like to double that to get 210, at 35 lb loads across 6x 35 gal reactor/maceration tanks.

There isn’t an eye on GPH/GPM, as I would need all 35 gallons at once to fill up a reactor to do a load of biomass.

80% fill regards to how full I can fill a reactor/maceration tank with ethanol, add dry ice and not have it boil over and end up on the floor when I tried using dry ice to cool. I figured this out when I ran an experiment to try and reduce cycle times getting my Hubers to cool down from -20 to -45C, that’s how I determined I would need 800 lbs/day per 35 gal reactor to use dry ice to augment (not replace) my cooling needs.

I think you’re right that I need a couple of large industrial sized chillers, I posted this thread because I’m trying to find what brands I should be steering towards (or away from) given my abysmal experiences with Hubers which are supposed to be “top of the line” units


#11

In the direction we’re wanting to move I think it’s not a question of “if” but “when”. If you have any manufacturers you’ve worked with for water cooled applications I’d be very interested to hear your thoughts on them. Sending you a PM shortly.


#12

Iced.tech is what you need my bro.


#13

To be honest I think Ice tech has potentional but I think it’s to hyped up. It requires a ac unit to be installed on roof of facility which requires building permits etc… It uses 504a refrigerant I believe and is around 350psi operational pressure. I checked it out in person at bhogart SJ for a demo and looked behind the cover they had. it’s a series of 6-8 tube and shell heat exchangers daisy chained together with the refrigerant pumped through. It’s a good concept but when I was their they tried to claim 4lbs a min propane recovery with an mvp and it only did 2lbs and that was consistent as they gave the demo to me for over 2 hrs. On top of that tom the owner was using a torch to take a dab just about 5ft away from the unit that was being Demo’d to me that was actively recovering propane. Idk about you but this showed to me a high disregard for safety which in turn can be reflected in the quality of products and customer service they offer including ice tech. It definitely has potential not trying to hate but just share my experience with the ice tech chiller. I was turned off from what I experienced and the fact u need to have an install on the roof.


#14

I’M DEAD LOL. :joy:


#15

@710enigmatic I am in no way surprised that Bhogart was failing to live up to their own promises.


#16

@greenbuggy
Dear Greenbuggy,
sorry to hear that you are having issues with our chillers. We stand behind our brand and quality and we certainly will help you to get your 815’s running. However some of your statements are wrong. In particular you are questioning published cooling performance. This is tested at ambient conditions and we provide FAT’s on a frequent basis. It seems you are way undersized for what you are trying to accomplish with the Unistat 815. This machine provides 1.2 Kw of cooling capacity at - 60 C and you like to cool 60 gallons of material in a insulated reactor ? If you want to chill from -25 to -60 C you need at least 4KW of cooling power and for a 100 gallons about 7-8 KW. I don’t know on what basis / calculation the 815 was sold to you, but it is clearly undersized. Furthermore you are complaining about expansion tank volume, this is an issue which we usually calculated and if needed there is an add on expansion tank. I am more than happy to discuss all this topics with you on the phone. Last but not least I am ready to send a technician to your site to look at your set up , provide proper training and try to do things right. It seems like your ambient is also not suitable for an aircooled chiller, but you need a water cooled unit , especially if you want to cool 100 gallons.
We are the market leader with closed loop systems and 50 years in the market with 1000’s of units successfully running in North America only.
Kind Regards
Huber USA INC


#17

@precisionnick


#18

We have bigger chillers which run 24/7 in Pharma , Aerospace and Automotive.
Most of them critical applications. We are market leader with these systems.
Greenbuggy is undersized big time and of course our 815 has a struggle with 1.5 KW where at least 4 KW is needed.


#19

Well that got interesting.


#20

@huber_king_of_temp: thanks for stoppping by and chiming in.

Any chance you could lay down the sizing math for us?

Or just confirm that this is close?

    Ethanol = 46g/mol

    has a heat capacity of 112J/mol.K

    and a density of 0.7893g/cm3

    1gal = 3785.41cm3 (mls)

    => density = 2990g/gal

    => 100gal = 299000g

    => 299000g/46g/mol = 6500mol.

    to lower  6500mol by 40 degrees C (or Kelvin) would be 
    40 * 6500 * 112 = 29,120,000J = 29,120kJ

The above tells me how much heat I need to remove. It doesn’t tell me how big a chiller I need to accomplish this. What else does one need to actually size the chiller correctly?