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, which limit the amount of carbonation that can be achieved:-
- the temperature of the liquid, when carbonating and also later in the isobaric filler,
- the quantity of gas (oxygen etc) present in the liquid,
- the presence of fine 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,
- the liquid should be calm/settled down before carbonating.
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, 1980 Euros = £1660
With 4 bottle holders, 500 x 1000 x 1800 mm, 50 kilos, the improved version, 3350 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.
CO2 pressure-regulator with heater, 299 Euros- essential for achieving a consistent level of carbonation.
Extra kit for a 26 mm crown cap bottle neck, 45 Euros for each bottle holder. The standard kit included is for 29 mm crown cap 'champagne' bottles.
Extra kit for a 28 mm MCA screw cap bottle neck, 44 Euros for each bottle holder.
On the left is the Kit for a 26 mm crown cap bottle neck.
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.
It is never easy to carbonate and fill at the same speed in an isobaric filling line.
The following models incorporate a small pressure tank and feed the carbonated liquid in-line to an isobaric filler:-
Rizzolio carbonator: 10,995 Euros
Designed to carbonate liquids such as beer, water, soft drinks, wine etc, at a rate of up to 1000 litres/hour depending on the level of carbonation required.
There is only one pump, which is on the in-feed to the carbonator.
A centrifugal pump is standard, an option is a pneumatic membrane (diaphragm) pump instead of the centrifugal pump, 1335 Euros extra.
This in-feed pump must create the correct pressure to pressurise the liquid at the point it goes into the isobaric filler tank.
Experience is that it will work successfully at lower levels of carbonation, such as with beer.
For higher levels a second pump is essential, between the carbonator and filler, to achieve the correct pressure into the isobaric filler tank, giving a consistent level of carbonation.
To achieve this, it is possible to install a separate pneumatic membrane pump with air pressure regulator. Also a compensation vessel should be installed and a by-pass.
The process of the CO2 bonding with the product takes place naturally, forcing the pressures with inert CO2 gas.
The molecules are mixed at high pressure, intersecting the flow in forced deviation channels.
This method achieves an homogeneous and superior quality carbonation compared with the 'porous stone' traditionally used for beer.
The stainless steel pressure tank (ANSI 304) is 1 cm thick and welded at both ends with thick flanges.
In a working cycle, the storage tank contains about 25 litres of product, continuous automatic flow is achieved by means of electronic level probes.
At the end of use, cleaning of the tank and of all the parts takes place with the withdrawal of the product, by the installed pump, forcing the product into a washing sphere.
Working pressure: 3 to 4 bar
Inlet connection: DIN 40
Output connection: Triclamp flange 52 mm
Liquid temperature up to 10 °C but 2 to 7 °C is recommended.
Electrical supply required: 400 Volts 3-phase 50 Hz, and 24 Volts DC; 2.5 Kwatt/hour.
The important parameters on in-line carbonators are the pressure and the flow rate.
With a pneumatic membrane pump you can set the required pressure by adjusting the air pressure on the pump, then afterwards you have stable pressure and flow.
To achieve a consistent level of carbonation it is most important to learn how to set and install the parameters of the carbonator and filler:
the filler tank pressure, opening of the in-feed valves for the filler, and the flow and pressure into the carbonator and pressure tank.
The following SF models are far superior, they have a digital control panel and two pumps. One pump which pushes the product (at the right pressure) into the carbonator,
and a second pump installed between carbonator and isobaric filler to pressurise the liquid for filling.
Together they create and hold the correct consistent pressure into the isobaric filler tank and the bottles; this is one of the critical points in an isobaric filler.
The SF automatic carbonator can carbonate with from 2 to 8 g/l at 8 to 10 °C without foam.
The M1000 model with pneumatic membrane pumps gives an especially good result. In any filling line run there are usually several stops.
With this pneumatic membrane 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 afterwards into the isobaric filler.
Model M1000: up to 1000 litres/hour, with two stainless steel pneumatic membrane pumps, 19,695 Euros.
One pump feeds the liquid to the carbonator as requested. The second pump keeps a stable liquid flow and even more important a stable pressure to and into the isobaric filling unit.
alternatively there is a much cheaper model 1000K, with two centrifugal pumps, 16,698 Euros or the slower model 600K, 15,359 Euros.
The membrane pumps treat the liquid in a more gentle way and the pressure/flow rate regulation is easier to maintain than on the centrifugal pumps.
- made from stainless steel, AISI304 and AISI316
- Maximum flow rate 2000 litres/hour
Working with a small pressure tank in-line between carbonater and isobaric filler will help to have an even finer and very well impregnated perle.
Other automatic carbonators:-
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.
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 will need to be charged at cost.