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Neverending Seltzer Water Maker - Interest? Answered

I've been making my own seltzer water for many years. And in normal situations (you know when there isn't a worldwide pandemic crisis.), I have to refill my 5 gallon keg about once every 7-10 days. But lately with a family of four at home, my refill cycle is down to 2 days!

This has forced me to design a new system that will replenish itself automatically overnight. Basically, once its setup, the only thing it will need is a new tank of CO2 when the gas runs out. Even for me with a 25 lb tank at this high consumption rate will last about 4 months. So it will be a huge improvement for me, but was unsure if a broader audience would value the concept/project.

Basically, I'm curious to know if people would be interested in an Instructable detailing this system. It will be completely electro-mechanical, and not require any raspberry/arduino/software/etc. (Also, it will be completely different from the other endless supply seltzer Instructables already published, and should be much cheaper too!)

The system is currently in design phase, so I'll be much more diligent about documenting the process if others would be interested.

Thanks in advance for your responses.

(You can see my Instructable "Lazy Man's Carbonating Shaker (Seltzer Water or Beer)" to get an idea of my current setup.)

Comments

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LawrenceCrist
LawrenceCrist

11 months ago

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Jack A Lopez
Jack A Lopez

11 months ago

You know it is kind of a silly question to ask, "Is anyone interested in a new instructable?"

The reason why is because the crowd here is hungry for new 'ibles, in much the same way dogs are hungry for raw meat.

However, I think you should ignore the crowd, because your time is your own.

Also I am wondering how your current setup,

https://www.instructables.com/id/Lazy-Mans-Carbona...

could possibly be improved.

It already rocks. Maybe in more than one sense of the word.
;-)

Perhaps you are contemplating larger batches? Or a continuous process?

I think that is what the pros use. I mean, like any restaurant that owns a soda fountain. I am thinking that device, somehow, produces carbonated water on demand, drawing the CO2 from a big steel bottle, and drawing water from the tap, or a reverse-osmosis setup.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soda_fountain

By the way, can you tell me quantitatively, approximately how many pounds mass of CO2 you use per batch? I am guessing each batch is about 40 pounds mass of water.

Or what that works out to as a mass fraction, i.e pounds of CO2 divided by pounds of water?

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Icelandian
Icelandian

Reply 11 months ago

Thanks for the detailed post. Sorry for delay in responding - I thought the website would send an email if someone responded to this, but it didn't. I like your pun! No, not larger batches, just gets a bit repetitive doing it every other day, so continuous is the path I'm going down.
You're right, there are commercial carbonators, but they are $$$ AND bulky AND need electricity. My solution will be much simpler.
Correct, about 40 lbs water. No idea how much CO2. That'd be a fun math problem though.

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Jack A Lopez
Jack A Lopez

Reply 11 months ago

I kind of thought that was where you were going with the intro to this topic, by telling us how often you were making batches of carbonated water now, and how long you expected the bottle of CO2 to last. That is, you could divide 25 pounds mass, by the mass of all the water that would carbonate. E.g. a ratio of 1:100 would give 2500 pounds of water, or (62.5 batches)*(40 pound/batch).

I recall, years ago, in high school, our chemistry teacher made the claim that molar mass for gases was like kitty litter,

MM = (d*R*T)/P

Because they were both, "dirt over pee."
;-P

The symbols in that equation come from the ideal gas law (P*V=n*R*T), and the usual definitions for mass density (d=m/V) and molar mass (MM=m/n).

The reason it is relevant to carbonated water, is because I found a reference,

https://drinks.seriouseats.com/2014/01/print/cocktail-science-what-is-carbonation-how-to-carbonate-soda-better-carbon-dioxide-facts.html

suggesting there is a practice of expressing carbonation as a ratio of volumes, specifically liters of CO2 (at room temperature and pressure, I guess) per liter of beverage or food.

That author claimed the following, like, typical levels of carbonation,

Beer = 2 to 4 volumes, or 2 to 6 g/L.[sic]
Seltzer = Around 4 volumes, or 6 g/L.[sic]
Champagne = Around 6 volumes, or 8 g/L.[sic]

Also that author is kind of sloppy with the math, because multiplying by the same density factor (1.5 g/L), each time, would give:

Beer = 2 to 4 volumes, or 3 to 6 g/L.
Seltzer = Around 4 volumes, or 6 g/L.
Champagne = Around 6 volumes, or 9 g/L.

Moreover, when I do the math for calculating the density of CO2, at 1 atmosphere and 20 C (or 293 K), I get a density closer to 1.8 grams per liter.

>>> R=8.314e-2, P=1, T=293, MM=44, d=(MM*P)/(R*T)
R = 0.083140
P = 1
T = 293
MM = 44
d = 1.8062

Using that number, 1.8 g/L, gives:

Beer = 2 to 4 volumes, or 3.6 to 7.2 g/L.
Seltzer = Around 4 volumes, or 7.2 g/L.
Champagne = Around 6 volumes, or 10.8 g/L.

To get a mass ratio, I just assume that liter of beverage has a mass of 1000 grams, same as the usual approximation for the density of water.

Beer = 0.0036 to 0.0072, CO2 by mass
Seltzer = 0.0072, CO2 by mass
Champagne = 0.0108, CO2 by mass

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Icelandian
Icelandian

Reply 11 months ago

Jack, thanks for taking the time to write all that. I always liked little tricks to remember equations. Can't say I remember that one. (Will forever now though.) I just filled my two bottles, so I have a good starting point to verify how much gas I use. And it would be an easy calculation. That is, IF, I was sticking with my current setup. I'd just need to track the number of refill cycles (and weight the CO2 tank now and before the next fill). But with the new system I'll have no way to measure the water (since it will just refill what was lost that day inside the keg.). Based on your writeup I would say mine is around 9g/L. Just based on the comparison of the different drinks. I like it very bubbly, but its not quite to the champagne level.

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Jack A Lopez
Jack A Lopez

Reply 11 months ago

Actually approximate numbers are good enough for me, since I am really only at the stage of imagining, erm dreaming, of building some kind of water carbonator.

I wish you success with your next build! Progress!

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Downunder35m
Downunder35m

11 months ago

Sounds like a nice thing to have.
Just go ahead and make an Ible for it, I am sure people will like the idea.

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Icelandian
Icelandian

Reply 11 months ago

Thanks, I'll plan on doing it.