Best Material for CO2 line
we are in the process of building a new facility and we are planning on eventually putting in a CO2 receiver about 100 ft away from the building. We have already created a 12" trench in the ground and we are now wondering what the best material would be for running CO2. Stainless, Copper, pvc, high-pressure beverage tubing ??? Also, any input for material and design for running CO2 inside the buildings would be incredibly helpful. Also, what pipe diameter from tank to building and then from the building to different points inside the brewery.
Thanks for any input
real ale brewing co
Stupid, but important questions
What size and how many tanks are you feeding CO2 to?
Also, where do you see your Brewery (tanks and size) eventually growing to at this facility?
Will you be able to access the trench in the future?
Being under ground, and the costs of digging things up, I would see about getting 1/2" or 3/4" SS tubing for the underground portion (depending on your answers to the questions above), as you will definitely sleep at night with it be there. Believe it or not, I have spent major coin on "piece of mind" technology and have not been off too many times. Do it right the first time, even if it costs a few extra hundred $$ up front. Build for future capacity, not for todays, when it comes to permanent installations.
Copper is the best material for CO2 lines. Use hard tubing and sweated fittings and put valves everywhere. 1/2" is sufficient for most applications. How big is your receiver? Make sure you have a regulator that will handle your flow rate requirements. Otherwise, you will ice up your regulator.
I would run copper from the receiver to the building, but at the building I would run stainless with swaged fittings. If you have the cash use Parker-Hannifin fittings and valves. I've used John Guest snap-in fittings with braided tygon for the fittings from the lines to your tanks.
At the copper/stainless junction I would install a block and bleed valve arrangement so that I could flush hot water from the farthest stainless point back to this bleed valve and to a drain. If you can flush it back to the source thats ok too. CO2 lines can be the biggest source of bacterial contamination in a brewery, although it may take years for it to show up.
Without knowing the size of your bright beer tanks, and your expected daily usage, it would be hard to put a size out there. The comment about sizing your vaporizer is spot on, you dont want to freeze the lines up as you are using CO2 in the brewery.
If you also have the money put in a totalizing infrared flow meter somewhere in the line so you can keep track of your CO2 usage from tank to tank, and help you plan your CO2 needs better. It will help with consistency.
Further to my last post, I forgot that any large receiver worth anything has an electric vaporizer on it that keeps the pressure up when the flow rate is high so that the CO2 doesn't turn to dry ice with a drop in pressure. That would negate the requirement for a heated regulator, I believe. Good luck! Cheers!