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Thread: Just a few RO questions

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2021
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    Parry Sound Area, Ontario
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    Default Just a few RO questions

    I have finally bit the bullet and will be building a budget DYI RO.

    It has an Aquatec 8800 pump, good for 200 GDP. I also, for the moment have two 150 GPD membranes. I may get a third membrane. This setup is what I could afford, I realize a more powerful pump and higher GPD membranes would be superior.

    I will have two 55 gallon barrels one for the raw sap and concentrate and one for the permeate. The plan is to fill the first barrel with fresh sap around 3 pm, run the RO for 8 hours, returning the concentrate to the same barrel. At the end of the 8 hours, I would put the concentrate (25 gallons) into 5 gallon pails and store it in snowbanks near the evaporator. I would then refill the raw sap barrel and run the RO overnight and then take the concentrate (25 gallons) out again in pails to the evaporator. I would then boil the 50 gallons of concentrate.

    First question, are there any fatal flaws in the plan.

    Can I process 50 gallons of sap in 8 hours through 150 GDP membranes?

    Having more membranes just increases the concentration of the sap? (4% concentration with one membrane, 6% with 2, 8% with 3?)

    If I had enough sap for a third consecutive run, should I flush (clean) the membranes after the second run, or can I do it after the third?

    Thanks

    Gary
    2022 - 5 pan block arch - 109 taps, 73 on 3/16 lines, 36 on drops into 5 gallon pails.
    930 gallons boiled, 106.5 L of delicious syrup made
    DYI RO and DYI Vacuum Filter

  2. #2
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    Dec 2013
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    Stockbridge,Ma
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    Fatal flaws? yes. Storing your concentrate overnight in a snowbank is not a good idea. Not cold enough. It would be ok for sap but not concentrate. With the slower feed rate of your pump you should use a separate barrel for your concentrate and do a double pass, not recirculate. Also your membranes should be rinsed after every days run of sap.
    First introduced to making maple syrup in 1969
    Making syrup every year since 1979
    3 x 10 oil fired
    Revolution syrup and max flue pan
    Almost 1300 taps total with 900 on high vacuum
    Bought first Marcland drawoff in 1997, still going strong.

  3. #3
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    Jul 2021
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    Quote Originally Posted by bill m View Post
    Fatal flaws? yes. Storing your concentrate overnight in a snowbank is not a good idea. Not cold enough. It would be ok for sap but not concentrate. With the slower feed rate of your pump you should use a separate barrel for your concentrate and do a double pass, not recirculate. Also your membranes should be rinsed after every days run of sap.
    That is surprising to me, that sitting out in freezing temperatures, mostly overnight, for about 10 hours, in or on the snow, would not be cold enough to keep concentrate from spoiling.

    Volume of concentrate is almost more important than being super concentrated. I would like at least 40 gallons of concentrate (if available) to boil. If I cannot store the first run, for 10 hours out in the cold, then I have made a big mistake.



    For me the big reason for the RO is to reduce the firewood required. Time saved boiling is a bonus.
    2022 - 5 pan block arch - 109 taps, 73 on 3/16 lines, 36 on drops into 5 gallon pails.
    930 gallons boiled, 106.5 L of delicious syrup made
    DYI RO and DYI Vacuum Filter

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Location
    NY
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    97

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    Your 4% concentrate will be fine if kept cold for 10 hours. It will have virtually no temp rise from the RO, so if you process it cold and keep it cold you will be fine.

    A 150gpd membrane will process about 3 gph from 2 to 4% sugar. Two would process around 6 gph. If you want another pass above 4% it will be very very slow.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
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    Lake County Ohio
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    Originally Posted by bill m
    Fatal flaws? yes. Storing your concentrate overnight in a snowbank is not a good idea. Not cold enough. It would be ok for sap but not concentrate. With the slower feed rate of your pump you should use a separate barrel for your concentrate and do a double pass, not recirculate. Also your membranes should be rinsed after every days run of sap.
    Originally Posted by swingpure"
    That is surprising to me, that sitting out in freezing temperatures, mostly overnight, for about 10 hours, in or on the snow, would not be cold enough to keep concentrate from spoiling.
    if you don't like the answer, you shouldn't ask the question...
    John Allin

    14x18 Hemlock Timber Frame Sugar House 2009
    Leader 2x6 w/Patriot Raised Flue Pan 2009
    Leader Steam Hood 2014 - Clear Filter Press 2015
    Leader Revolution Pan and SS Pre-Heater 2016
    CDL Hobby RO & Air Tech L25 Hi Vac Pump 2019
    06' Gator HPX to collect wood & sap
    14' Ski-Doo Tundra for winter work in the woods
    Great Family 3 grown kids+spouses and 7 grand kids who like the woods
    7th Gen Born in Canada - Raised in Chardon Ohio - Maple Capital of the World..<grin>.

  6. #6
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    Jul 2021
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnallin View Post
    if you don't like the answer, you shouldn't ask the question...
    I appreciate all advice and tips, I just found it surprising, it was not what I was expecting from what I had previously read.
    Last edited by Swingpure; 12-27-2021 at 09:18 PM.
    2022 - 5 pan block arch - 109 taps, 73 on 3/16 lines, 36 on drops into 5 gallon pails.
    930 gallons boiled, 106.5 L of delicious syrup made
    DYI RO and DYI Vacuum Filter

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2021
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    Parry Sound Area, Ontario
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    Quote Originally Posted by carls47807 View Post
    Your 4% concentrate will be fine if kept cold for 10 hours. It will have virtually no temp rise from the RO, so if you process it cold and keep it cold you will be fine.

    A 150gpd membrane will process about 3 gph from 2 to 4% sugar. Two would process around 6 gph. If you want another pass above 4% it will be very very slow.
    Thank you.

    The RO unit will be kept and operated in a heated garage, kept to about 38° F (3° C) and then the concentrate will head outside in expected below freezing temperatures. This 25 gallons of concentrate should all be boiling in an hour or so after the evaporator starts. The second batch of 25 gallons will start to be boiled about 4 hours after being processed.

    All of the components should arrive from Amazon in the first couple weeks of January and I will build it then.
    2022 - 5 pan block arch - 109 taps, 73 on 3/16 lines, 36 on drops into 5 gallon pails.
    930 gallons boiled, 106.5 L of delicious syrup made
    DYI RO and DYI Vacuum Filter

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Location
    Hudson NH
    Posts
    109

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    Time is your enemy. From the moment that the sap leaves the tree the microbes are at work they want the sugar as much as you do. When you are working a full-time job and dealing with all that life will throw at you during the season time is the enemy. I have had syrup made by people that store the sap they collect all week and boil on the weekends, sounds great doesn't it? It has a 'different' flavor and color. We all do what we can to make this work and I applaud anyone that gets into this hobby or is lucky enough to make a living at this. There is a reason that most sugar makers I know have a glazed look in their eyes from mid Feb to April, they don't sleep, they process as fast as they can and they don't leave R/O ed sap for long.
    The best advice I can give you is to do what makes sense for you in year one, you will see the quality of the sap change as it is stored. I bought an r/o that matches the boil rate of my rig. I will r/o for and hour then fire the rig up and boil as I r/o into my head tank my goal is to process the sap as fast as I can. I have the advantage of oil and can process small or large amounts nightly as needed.
    You will make some nice stuff I have no doubt. I do agree that your storage times may present a problem particularly toward the end of the season. I learned a lot by going to open houses when we could do that and asking a lot of questions about their operations. We all love to talk sugaring. The best tasting syrup in my opinion always came from the guys that processed fast and did not let their sap sit for long. That being said I have yet to meet a sugarmaker who did not think that his/her stuff was the best stuff in their particular state. You will love the R/O and getting it now was a good idea. I would not stress out about it too much stick with your plan and see how it goes. One thing is for sure you will find many ways to improve for the next season. Write down what worked well and what did not and then improve.

    19x48 mini pro oil fired, Nano R/O, CDL Vacuum Press,Mountain Maple Vacuum setup
    6x12 sugar house off back of shed
    2019- 50 taps all buckets- 6 Gallons syrup made
    2020 -50 taps, more Sugar Maples, with some Reds- 6 gallons made
    2021- 46 taps- 26 on 3/16 tubing, 19 buckets - All Sugar Maples this year - 12.2 Gallons made
    2022- 83 taps - all 3/16 tubing, 48 on vacuum -All Sugars - 21 Gallons made
    "The days are long, but the years are short"

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2021
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    Parry Sound Area, Ontario
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    Quote Originally Posted by LMP Maple View Post
    Time is your enemy. From the moment that the sap leaves the tree the microbes are at work they want the sugar as much as you do. When you are working a full-time job and dealing with all that life will throw at you during the season time is the enemy. I have had syrup made by people that store the sap they collect all week and boil on the weekends, sounds great doesn't it? It has a 'different' flavor and color. We all do what we can to make this work and I applaud anyone that gets into this hobby or is lucky enough to make a living at this. There is a reason that most sugar makers I know have a glazed look in their eyes from mid Feb to April, they don't sleep, they process as fast as they can and they don't leave R/O ed sap for long.
    The best advice I can give you is to do what makes sense for you in year one, you will see the quality of the sap change as it is stored. I bought an r/o that matches the boil rate of my rig. I will r/o for and hour then fire the rig up and boil as I r/o into my head tank my goal is to process the sap as fast as I can. I have the advantage of oil and can process small or large amounts nightly as needed.
    You will make some nice stuff I have no doubt. I do agree that your storage times may present a problem particularly toward the end of the season. I learned a lot by going to open houses when we could do that and asking a lot of questions about their operations. We all love to talk sugaring. The best tasting syrup in my opinion always came from the guys that processed fast and did not let their sap sit for long. That being said I have yet to meet a sugarmaker who did not think that his/her stuff was the best stuff in their particular state. You will love the R/O and getting it now was a good idea. I would not stress out about it too much stick with your plan and see how it goes. One thing is for sure you will find many ways to improve for the next season. Write down what worked well and what did not and then improve.
    Thanks for the tips and advice.

    I will collect sap everyday. I guess the best of plans get changed, but my plan is to collect the sap at 3 pm, have the first 50 gallons in the RO by 3:30 pm, put the concentrate in pails at 11:30 pm, stored outside in freezing temperatures and in the evaporator at 8 am. So the first 50 gallons will be 17 hours old. The second 50 gallons will be raw sap for about 8 hours, in the RO for 8 hours and concentrate for 4 hours.

    If I am getting overrun with sap, I will collect more than the 100 gallons and have a third run in the morning and have a second boil later in the afternoon.

    Lots to learn, especially since I have never seen a drop of sap drop into a bucket, or run down a line, in real life. I will try and prepare the best I can and I will try and enjoy it. Goodness knows I cannot be more excited for the season to start.
    2022 - 5 pan block arch - 109 taps, 73 on 3/16 lines, 36 on drops into 5 gallon pails.
    930 gallons boiled, 106.5 L of delicious syrup made
    DYI RO and DYI Vacuum Filter

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Wardensville, Wv
    Posts
    204

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    This might sound naive but what about purchasing a used chest freezer, a large one holes about 180 gallons, install a vessel of some sort and pump your concentrate into that? Maybe even let it go through a whole house UV sterilizer unit. I know I have had good success extending the life of raw sap by filtering and then processing it through a UV lamp(mine is a Grimm branded lamp setup). This is the first year for me to have an RO and I plan on all my concentrate passing through the UV lamp on its way to my feed tank. I guess i'll let you know how it works out in April, lol.
    2023 - Add more taps on vacuum, build new sugar house
    2022 - 52 Gallons - DIY RO, 50% less fuel, no late nights in the shack!
    2021 - 48 Gallons - new pans, new arch, lots of new taps and tubing
    2020 - 32 Gallons
    2019 - 27 Gallons

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