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Old January 4th, 2016, 11:19 PM
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Default Another RO Build

I have been thinking for a year about building an RO, and have even acquired some parts, so now I need to get it done if I want to use it this year.

I spent the last couple of days reading everything I could, both on this forum as well as Dow Water and Process Solutions website. My plan is to document the design and build here on this thread, much as Dennis H has on his effort (by the way, thanks Dennis for the wealth of information.) There may not end up being much new on this thread for you all, but I am hoping to get feedback from folks that have "been there done that"as I get this project going - and with a little luck, maybe there might be some info for the next guy who wants to build one.

So with that preface; here goes...

Requirements
- Hobby sized RO that will complement my 75 tap operation. My trees are all Red Maples, so I typically have lower sugar concentration in the sap, and my little 2x3 evap works awful hard. I would like to start small, but have the ability to expand production over the next few years.
- Build an understanding of the equipment, how it works and how it should be run by putting it together myself.
- Cost is a factor, but I am doing this because I LIKE to build equipment. If I can save a few bucks great. I consider the time spent designing and putting it together to be free - heck, I would probably pay to take a class in the stuff.

Some design parameters:
- Last year I bought a Procon 5.5 GPM Series 5 Stainless pump, so I am limited by what that pump can do.
- I want to be able to move the unit around. I have not settled on where I want to do everything and want the flexibility to run the RO where I place the tanks in the future
- I am going to use a single stage design, as I am only interested in removing as much water as possible. Multiple stage designs and concentrate recycles add complexity. I will return concentrate to the sap tank and recycle the diluted concentrate through the membranes. That way, I believe I will remove the greatest amount of water the fastest (I have to think about that one...) Also, I am thinking that as I get the vacuum system set up, I will be running the RO as the sap is coming into the tank, so I have time for concentration to build.


I think I have settled on using 2 Filmtec XLE membranes in a 2.5x21 configuration for several reasons:
- Not running huge volumes (yet)
- Size of my pump - Dow manual suggests a minimum of 3-5 GPM of concentrate flow for a 4x40 membrane. So, I could probably run 1 4040 very safely, and 2 marginally. 2521s have a min flow of 1 GPM. I should be able to add another 1 or 2 in the future.
- Easy to store the small membranes in the off season, while 40 inchers would be a pain for me.
Of course, I only get 1/7 of the membrane area in a 2521 as compared with a 4040.
Before I settle on this configuration, I need to do some calculations to see what my rate of water removal would be.

I drew up a Piping and Instrumentation Diagram (attached) as a starting point.

So... Everyone...

Thoughts? What am I missing, doing wrong, etc. Constructive feedback is appreciated.

Thanks and happy New Year
John
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File Type: pdf RO P&ID.pdf (1.24 MB, 211 views)
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Old January 5th, 2016, 08:38 AM
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Hey johnnj the series 5 pump should not limit your build at all. It is actually way over size. I run the brass version on my home build and run 2 4x40s. Thinking of adding a 3rd, then It would be on the undersized side.
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Old January 5th, 2016, 01:11 PM
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Default Pump Size

Yes it is interesting to me - I know that many guys do run a pair of 40 inch membranes with these pumps. In your system, do you split the flow from your pump, or run the membranes sequentially (concentrate output of membrane 1 to input of membrane 2). Reading the mfr recommendations, it really seems like they don't want less than 3gpm of flow to minimize fouling - I am sure that their recommendations are conservative, however.

I do think I am going to start off with the 2.5 x 21's to start. I'll probably get to the bigger ones sooner or later when I find out how slow these will be.

If anyone out there has some real world data from their system in terms of temperature, pressure, and permeate flow at given sugar concentrations, I would love to see it. My knowledge is all theoretical and from reading - Real world measurements mean a great deal, because all the ratings out there are done at 77 degrees and with a liquid input that looks nothing like sap. I know that just to get from 77 degrees to 40 degrees you need to divide your output of permeate by something like 2.6. Also, the sugar in the sap produces a very high osmotic pressure that you have to overcome with your system, so that lowers output that much more, especially as your concentration starts to go up.

Thanks
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Old January 5th, 2016, 01:50 PM
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My membranes are in series. If I were to add third membrane I would go parallel, because I am recirculating back into storage tank. I'll try to dig up my data, first year I would take data religiously. Last year not so much.
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Old January 5th, 2016, 03:01 PM
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We'll be on year #2 running our homebuilt RO. No complaints on our end, makes for a much shorter day. I'd recommend liquid-filled pressure gauges. The needle bounces like crazy on ours so that's a fix before sugaring this year.
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Old January 5th, 2016, 09:48 PM
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Jim I'm confused what does the second membrane do? The only way the second one would be of help is if the first one is passing sugar.
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Old January 5th, 2016, 10:10 PM
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Come on Chuck, put your thinking cap on and the beer down ! You feed concentrate ( from the first membrane) into the second membrane.

Jim, I'm doing 3 membranes this year . Gonna do them in series . I did upgrade my HP pump to a Goulds multistage pump. Rated for 600 gph so it should help with fouling .
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Old January 5th, 2016, 10:15 PM
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Default Procon Pump

Nice to wake up this morning to see that winter finally has shown up - 6 degrees.

So, I didn't have the clamp to mount the Procon pump to a motor, plus the motor I happened to have is not a 56 frame size, so here is my solution (see attached).

I made a brass shaft coupler with the proper boss to drive the pump, plus a frame that mounts to the motor and clamps onto the pump. Everything bolts to strut channel.

I think I figured out today that the RO stand is going to be made of a combination of strut channel and aluminum extrusion. I have some leveling feet that I am going to use to bring it slightly off the deck, so that I can get a hand truck under everything to move it around.

Ordered a low pressure switch and centrifugal pump today. I have most of the big parts needed to start the build. Will probably build the frame over the weekend, cause it is supposed to rain.

Good call on the glycerin filled gauges, I really like them. Does anyone use pulse dampeners on the output of their pumps. This might really smooth out the pressure spikes and be nicer to the membranes

Regards
John
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Another RO Build-img_0603.jpg   Another RO Build-img_0604.jpg   Another RO Build-img_0605.jpg  

Last edited by johnnj; January 5th, 2016 at 10:24 PM. Reason: acknowledge RHales comments
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Old January 6th, 2016, 12:45 AM
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I thought we discussed that it was bad policy to run in series. Its hard on the pumps. Plus how do you rinse or wash without packing the backside of the first membrane.......................................... .....WOOOOPS stupid me valves, valves and more valves.
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Old January 6th, 2016, 12:59 AM
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Not sure what back side your membranes have... but series is the only way to high concentrate... even with commercial maple units. Besides... what is the difference of pushing through 1 8x40 or 2 or 3 4 x 40? It is all about surface area. The old ros all had double stacked 4in membranes. Then they usually hooked them in series as well. The only thing to watch is getting enough flow across the membrane to keep it from plugging. For most 4in you would want no less than 5 pgm and don't exceed 14 gpm.
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Last edited by sapaholic; January 6th, 2016 at 02:30 AM.
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