Winegrowers Supplies  -  Carbonators and carbonation

The following approximations relate to pressure of carbon dioxide (CO2) at 20 °C at sea level:
1 volume CO2 = 1 atmosphere = 1 bar = 100 kilopascals = 14.7 psi (pounds per square inch) = 1.53 grams per litre volume.

The pressure in a bottle of 'fully' sparkling wine, such as Champagne is typically 6.0 bar, but may be as low as 5.0 bar.
European Union wine regulations define a Sparkling Wine as any wine with an excess of 3 bar pressure. These include German Sekt, Spanish Espumoso, Italian Spumante and French Cremant or Mousseux wines.
Naturally semi-sparkling wines are defined as those with between 1 and 2.5 bar pressures and include German spritzig, Italian frizzante and French pétillant wines.

Carbonated sparkling wines usually have 3 to 5 bar pressure, semi-sparkling wines typically have 2 bar.

Cider which is in a closed bottle is termed Sparkling if, due to the presence of CO2, the pressure in the bottle is not less than 3 bars in excess of atmospheric pressure.
    The pressure in a bottle of French cider is typically x.x bar.
    The pressure in a bottle of English cider is typically x.x bar.

In bottled beers the typical pressure is:-
    Stouts and porters: 1.5 to 2.2 bar.
    Lagers, Ales, Ambers, most beers: 2.2 to 2.6 bar.
    Highly carbonated ales, Belgian lambics, wheat beers: 2.6 to 4.0 bar.

Cola has close to 3 bar pressure.

Soda water has 2 to 3 bar pressure.

For carbonating there are several important factors:-
- the temperature of the liquid while carbonating,
- the quantity of gas present in the product before carbonating (fermentation gas, oxygen etc),
- the liquid should be calm/settled down before carbonating (not moved in a shaking tank etc),
- the temperature of the liquid while filling,
- the presence of particles in the liquid; eg. cider filtered through a crossflow filter (0.2 microns)or similar fine filter is easier to carbonate than cloudy liquid.

In Bottle Carbonators: designed to be rotated, allowing the contents of the previously filled bottles to enter a spherical stainless steel pressure vessel, where the liquid is saturated with carbon dioxide from a pressure cylinder.

        the improved version: 

With 2 bottle holders, 500 x 500 x 1800 mm, 26 kilos, the improved version, 1950 Euros = £1660
With 4 bottle holders, 500 x 1000 x 1800 mm, 50 kilos, the improved version, 3330 Euros = £2750

The 'improved' versions have a new pressure relief valve with CE and Ispesl certificate, and the ball-valve has a longer handle so that the bottle door cannot be opened while the valve is open.

A carbon dioxide cylinder needs to be connected to the machine, with a pressure-regulator fitted.
The gas in this cylinder is under very high pressure. A pressure-regulator must be fitted in order to reduce this pressure to at maximum 3 bar; 3 bar is the maximum pressure for the carbonation unit.
When the valve is opened and the gas leaves the cylinder it expands in volume, this has a cooling effect, similar to what occurs in the cooling compressor in a refrigerator. It's likely that the cooling effect will slowly 'freeze' the pressure-regulator; the cooling effect depends on the quantity of gas coming from the cylinder. If the CO2 gas flow decreases slowly then you will not recognise that the carbonation of the liquid gradually becomes less. To ensure this does not happen it's necessary to buy this 'pressure-regulator with heater':-

CO2 pressure-regulator with heater, 299 Euros - essential for achieving a consistent level of carbonation.
The pressure tube to go from the regulator to the carbonator, should be 6 mm outside diameter, as used with an air-compressor.

Extra kit for a 26 mm bottle neck, 45 Euros for each bottle holder. The standard kit included is for 29 mm champagne bottles.

 

On the left is the Kit for a 26 mm bottle neck.

In the middle and right is the Set of seals; O-ring and gasket.

Set of seals for one bottle holder, 18.50 Euros.

Construction is in stainless steel with ball valves and some fittings in brass.

Note: The same frame is used for 2 or 4 bottle holders. To extend an existing 2 bottle model, by adding 2 extra bottles holders, is not easy to do. A good craftsmen who can weld could do it but they say it’s not a good idea.

For use with glass bottles from 180 mm to 380 mm tall, up to 1 litre capacity and resistant to at least 3 bar pressure.
These in-bottle carbonators work with a CO2 gas pressure up to 3 bar.

After filling, the glass bottles are placed on the machine. The bottle-holder is rotated so that the liquid enters the stainless steel spherical pressure vessel where the carbonation takes place.

The amount of carbonation that can be achieved depends on two main factors:-

- what is in the liquid: fine particles, sugar, gas etc. Fine filtration will improve this. The liquid should be at least visually clear.

Water is less easy to carbonate than cider or wine. Usually water contains different types of gas and ideally those gases should be removed before carbonating; that's not easy to do with a small unit.

- the temperature of the liquid: for really effective carbonation the liquid should first be cooled to between 0 and 4 °C. In cool liquid the saturation is much better than in warm liquid; if it's too warm then CO2 will evaporate immediately after the bottle is removed from the carbonation unit and moved to the corker or capper.

With one turn you can achieve up to 75 bottles per hour per bottle-unit with 75 cl bottles, or more with smaller bottles.
Experience has shown that one turn is enough to nicely carbonate cider, two turns is too much.

More CO2 can be infused into the liquid by making 2 or 3 or even 4 turns of the bottle-unit.
With cool, filtered liquid and 3 to 4 turns the maximum carbonation should be reached.

It is possible to achieve a reasonable level of carbonation, at least up to the level of frizzante or pétillant. This gentle carbonation can enhance bouquet and flavours, and add value to products, without the large investment involved in a counter-pressure filling system.

  Some photographs and details of how to set it up and use it.

To wash and sanitise:-
1. turn the CO2 gas off.
2. fill two (or 4) bottles with hot water and turn the carbonator round to rinse the units.
3. then the same again with a cleaning solution; for example 2% Peracetic acid solution, after carbonating beer (with low acidity).
4. afterwards do the same again with fresh water.
You may leave a cleaning solution inside the units until the next day, then remove and rinse very well with water.

Or:

CO2 dosing, from tank to tank:-

Before dosing, especially for higher dosing, it is recommended to chill the drink down to 2 °C. A pressure tank ( 2 bar or 3 bar) with cooling jacket is necessary; on that type of tank the cylindrical surface is almost entirely covered in jacket, a far larger area than on normal pressure-less tanks, which do not have a large enough jacket area.
It's not easy to cool down a normal tank to 2 °C and maintain that temperature when the room temperature is 10 to 15 °C.

With models that carbonate with over 1 bar pressure, a Counter-pressure (isobaric) filler is then needed to fill the bottles.


CarboFresh dosers
: the standard models enable carbonating with up to 1 bar pressure, with that level it's just possible to fill with a normal gravity filler. I can be difficult to retain that pressure in the drink if temperature is too high. One customer reports: "our product is definitely less fizzy than it used to be and we have had complaints but we are not yet convinced that less fizzy is bad.".


      Carbo-Fresh   

Beer, cider and some low acidity 'flat tasting' white and rosé wines, can benefit from binding in of fine bubbles of CO2, becoming fresher and more aromatic.
CO2 in red wine is not advantageous, it can be driven out by dosing with nitrogen through the CarboFresh processor.

You connect your tank of chilled drink to your pump, then to the CarboFresh, and onwards to a receiving tank.
The cylinder of CO2 is connected to the CarboFresh.
For lower doses the drink does not need to be especially chilled, it should be below 10 °C. The colder it is the faster the CO2 will be absorbed and less will come off in the receiving tank.

CarboFresh Standard: flow of 700 to 1800 litres/hour, up to a maximum total dosage of 1.5 grams/litre (1 bar),
  with type 1.1 and 2.0 injectors, and connecting threads, 2395 Euros

There are 3 types of injectors:-
  1.1 for a pump speed from 700 up to 1100 litres per hour,
  1.4 for a pump speed from 900 up to 1300 litres per hour,
  2.0 for a pump speed from 1200 up to 1800 litres per hour.
With every Carbofresh you must choose 2 of them, you also choose the inlet/outlet fittings, 1" bsp thread is usual.

Our experience of the CarboFresh system is that it's very difficult to regulate and achieve a consistent carbonated product. It's really only satisfactory for making a very low carbonation of water or wine.

It is never easy to carbonate and fill at the same speed in an isobaric filling line.

The following automatic carbonator from Sfoggia can carbonate with up to 6 g/l (4 bar) at 8 to 10 °C without foam.

This system with the pneumatic pumps gives an especially good result. In any filling line run there are usually several stops. With this pneumatic pump, the pump stops when a certain pressure is reached and restarts alone when the pressure goes down, working without any sensors it regulates the flow of liquid into the carbonator and hence afterwards into the filler.

One pump feeds the liquid to the carbonator once requested. The second pump will keep a stable liquid flow and even more important a stable pressure to and into the isobaric filling unit.

       

- made from stainless steel, AISI304 and AISI316
- Opening of the bell by a clamp
- 60 litre tank for saturation, PED certified up to 7.9 bar
- Pipes input, output and venting
    removable stainless steel clamp
- Digital pressure sensor membrane
- Electronic scale for liquid level
    with stainless steel apron 600x600
- Audible alarm for pressure
- Pressure regulator
- Nivea sensor for the tank
- Safety valve
- Front control panel
- 220V single phase

- Maximum flow rate 2000 litres/hour
- Carbonation up to 1500 litres/hour, at lower pressure.

     from 0 to 1000 litres/hour,  22,300 Euros

Stainless steel pneumatic membrane pump, 5,500 Euros

For product supply to the carbonator: stainless steel pneumatic membrane pump, 2,850 Euros

For pressure regulation at exit to the filler: CO2 pressure regulator, 290 Euros

Cleaning ball in stainless steel installed, 390 Euros

Working with a pressure tank in-line between carbonater and isobaric filler will help to have a fine and very well impregnated perlage.

Other automatic carbonators: single column in-line:-

Designed to carbonate and deliver sparkling liquid directly to a counter-pressure filling machine, at high pressures up to 5 bar.
A larger carbonator is needed than for the speed of the isobaric filler, allowing the liquid to settle better before going in to the filler.

The complete cycle sequence is fully automatic and free of operator intervention. The machine operates on a demand cycle automatically sequenced by the counter-pressure filling machine. The operation cycle is controlled by several level control devices and safety valves to avoid faults.

Speed is dependent on the type of beverage, the temperature and the amount of CO2 gms/litre.
The saturation achieved by the carbonator produces very fine bubbles, which are consequently long lasting in open containers.
The consumption of CO2 is only the quantity mixed in the liquid, there is no waste.

The saturation is obtained by a double effect pump, which sucks the wine and compresses it in a chamber at a very high pressure.
Successively it passes through an injector, creating a vacuum, thus becoming incorporated in the liquid.

The mixture then passes into a pre-saturation column where the possible residual air left in the liquid is separated out.

Following the pre-saturation phase the liquid flows into the saturation column where is distributed like rainfall over the entire cylinder surface. While falling it passes through porcelain filters specifically made to subdivide the liquid. When saturation is complete the liquid is deposited in a tank within the same column, it is then ready for bottling.

A second pump sucks the liquid from the saturator and transfers it to a separate counter-pressure filling machine (not part of this equipment) thus creating an over-pressure.

Giove - up to 3000 litres/hour,  37,275 Euros

The parts of the pump, filter, valves, pipes and all other product contact parts are in top grade stainless steel (internally and externally polished and constructed for hygiene control) except where glass or food quality rubber or plastic are used for seals or similar components.
The components are mounted on a rectangular stainless steel AISI 304 base.

The machine comprises:-
  - an electrical control panel in stainless steel, with safety devices and contactors, overloads, fuses and transformer; 3-phase 380 volt supply. The electrical devices are water-resistant to EU standards.
- a CO2 inlet with non-return valve.
- a CO2 recovery pipe to feed the pre-carbonation column (on models from 1200 litres/hr upwards).
- a stainless steel vessel for incoming liquid complete with cover, control level and valve; with automatic flow control.

The operational cycle commences when the incoming liquid is fed to the stainless steel vessel. This can be by gravity feed or by external pump (not included in the unit).
The recommended temperature of the incoming liquid is 2 °C, a separate pre-chiller is required.
The incoming liquid is then delivered by a pump (carbonating pump) into the stainless steel carbonating column (pressure tank) where there is a CO2 atmosphere at a pressure corresponding to the carbonation degree established for the liquid. The CO2 mixes with the liquid, which is carbonated in the column at the pre-set pressure, not exceeding 5 bar. An automatic level system operated by probes (fitted inside the carbonation column) connected to the centrifugal pump, demands or stops the liquid flow. Pressure security valves are installed.
This stainless steel carbonating column contains a special stainless steel perforated disk distributor. Through this distributor the drink is dispersed to increase the surface area to allow the completion of the carbonating process.
The dispersed liquid then passes over a series of stainless steel inclined plates thus allowing for CO2 saturation across a large surface area.
On models from 1200 litres/hr upwards there is a vertical centrifugal pump which first passes the liquid through a pre-carbonation column, where unmixed CO2 is re-used, before it is delivered to the main carbonating column.

The fully carbonated liquid is retained at the bottom of the tank for stabilisation prior to transfer via the overpressure pump to the filling machine.
The overpressure pump is particularly effective in maintaining control over highly carbonated liquids. This integral, all stainless steel, pump allows the application of a constant overpressure during the product transfer.

Options: automatic control of the carbonating pressure, Euro ... according to the model.


CO2 Stations
- heater station with pressure adjuster:-
  model STAR 1, for a single CO2-cylinder, 1260 Euros
  complete with:
- automatic stainless steel gas warmer in oil bath, model CALOR COMPACT.
- 2 CO2 reducers.

The CO2 station, of compact dimensions, ensure that the carbonic anhydride contained in suitable CO2-cylinders is duly warmed before reaching the machine utilising the CO2.

The model STAR is suitable for the carbonator, while the model SUPERSTAR is normally combined with a pre-mixer.

Of simple and modern design the STAR and SUPERSTAR stations are manufactured completely in stainless steel AISI 304. The numbers of the fittings depend on the CO2 demand of the bottling plant.
The CO2 stations are arranged to be fixed on a wall. The connections between the CO2-cylinders and the station are made with Teflon pipes that give high working security.

With the STAR (models 4 and 6) and SUPERSTAR stations it is possible to replace empty CO2-cylinders without stopping filling. These stations are fitted with special non-return valves that prevent the gas escaping during the absence of the CO2-cylinders.

The STAR models are combined with the gas warmer COMPACT CALOR while the version SUPERSTAR is supplied with a larger version named BIG CALOR. Both versions are supplied with pressure reducers, at different sizes according to the quantity of gas to be used.
The thermal oil inside the gas warmer, heated by an electric resistance, is fully sealed and its tank is duly insulated to avoid any possibility of scalding.

The gas stations STAR and SUPERSTAR are both available with different fittings according to the requirement of the carbonator or pre-mixer to be connected.


Afrometer:
 for testing the quantity of CO2 inside a filled champagne bottle with natural cork stopper, 485 Euros

Note: an Afrometer cannot be used to measure CO2 inside a pressure tank.


Prices shown are exclusive of Vat.
Delivery usually will need to be charged at cost.

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