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New Oxygenation Method

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Lyrebird_Cycles

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I've dropped a few hints about this over the last couple of months but I've finally got around to lodging a patent application so I can reveal a little more. The idea is incredibly simple, but as usual the devil is in the details.

Since beer is moderately conductive it can be used to form an electrolytic cell, if conditions are right this produces oxygen at the anode in proportion to the applied current. If the anode and the (hydrogen producing) cathode are organised the right way the oxygen goes into solution and the hydrogen diffuses away.

The tricky bit is making sure the anode survives the evolution of oxygen: the answer is a titanium electrode with vapour deposited platinum surface, and yes that is every bit as expensive as it sounds. The other tricky bit is making the whole assembly easy to sanitise.

If you wish to DIY this* you have my blessing. The equation you need is this:

O2 (in mg / hour) = 0.3 x average current (in mA).

I will be making a unit that solves all the problems noted above commercially available but I want to do some beta testing first to make sure it is easy to use, I have a bad habit of assuming people are more comfortable with maths than they actually are.

To this end I invite volunteers for beta testing: I already have one, I'd like a couple more. The deal is that you get lent the unit for no charge and you tell me what you think. My preference is for people who have used oxygenation before and who have a fermenter volume around 25 - 30 litres. PM me if interested.



* my definition of DIY is you make it yourself for your own use and not for sale. Good luck with the platinated titanium electrodes.
 
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Lyrebird_Cycles

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Beta testing slots now filled. That took less than 10 minutes.

I should have units ready to go out next week*. I will PM participants when the units are ready.



*One part needs to be 3D printed and I am waiting on new filament.
 
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technobabble66

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Hey LC, I've been waiting for a while to see some details on your Top Secret O2 Development. Thanks for sharing lots of detail!

Out of interest, how is the O2 formed? Or rather, what is the (chemical) environment in which the molecule forms?

Basically, the reason i'm asking is to check whether there's any issue/risk of any other chemistry occurring - e.g.: O- radical formation, electrolysis of other components of the wort, etc.
(I'm guessing you kept track of our little H2O2 experiment a few months ago...)
I'm assuming you're all over these issues, but just thought i'd ask :cool:

Looks like a great idea!
 

Lyrebird_Cycles

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I think the relevant detail is in the first post.

From my reading of the available research, the actual mechanism is due to surface activity on the platinum electrode and indeed this involves some peroxide radical formation but these radicals appear to stay bound to the surface. In the presence of sulphate some ozone should form but this appears to break down immediately in a pitched wort.

There is a very important relationship between maximal current and anode surface area which is key to reducing side reactions. The device incorporates a controlled current source to achieve this.
 
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Mardoo

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Totally. Awesome. Love your work. Always something interesting.

And totally gutted I missed the beta slots. I’ll be reading this thread with interest. Here’s to hoping folks report back here.
 

SnailAle

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Top stuff mate, bit more technical than my method! I'll be watching this with interest [emoji106]

20171028_155641.jpg
 

Lyrebird_Cycles

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Does temperature have any impact on O2 production using this method?
No.

Temperature affects the solubility of oxygen but that matters litttle: the idea behind this technique is to pitch the wort first and lower the anode to the bottom of the fermenter: since the rate at which yeast can absorb oxygen is higher than the rate at which the unit produces it, almost all the oxygen is immediately taken up by the yeast.


Temperature also affects the conductivity of the wort slightly, which in turn slightly changes the voltage required to drive the control current. This is factored in for all temperatures between freezing and boiling so it won't matter.
 

malt junkie

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Other question was how this works across different batch sizes, I'm guessing at some point the size or number of anodes would need to increase?
 

Lyrebird_Cycles

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At some point yes, but that increases the cost as I have to use larger electrodes and controlled current source. The current model is designed for 10 - 30 litres but can be pushed higher or lower with no performance deficit.

I decided that the easy way to do this was to remove all adjustability from the device* and provide a chart that gives an "on" time for each combination of O2 rate and volume. You stick the wand** into the fermenter, plug it in, wait for the alloted time then turn it off and remove it.

Chart currently covers 5 - 20 mg/l O2 and 10 - 30 litres.To do an increased volume, say 60 litres, at a given O2 rate, say 10mg/l, you'd simply take the 30 litre time for that rate (about 4 hours) and double it.

* This also makes it cheaper, the electronics for the adjustable version are much more expensive. I'm trying to keep this cheap enough to retail at under $150 through LHBS assuming normal margins.

** Current working title is "Moxie Wand" because it is a bit like magic watching it work. "Oxy wand" might have been preferable but it is trademarked in the US.
 
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n87

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Out of curiosity, how many 'on hours' do you expect the electrodes to last, or to show signs of degradation?
Or is this something that in a perfect world would last forever?
 

Schikitar

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You must be stuck in 'science mode', I was only joking about a BB.. well, partially joking! Haha! ;) I am really interested in your project though, will be awesome to see what feedback you get and where the testing goes!
 

Lyrebird_Cycles

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Out of curiosity, how many 'on hours' do you expect the electrodes to last, or to show signs of degradation?
Or is this something that in a perfect world would last forever?
There is a known degradation rate of the platinum coating, which is calculated in thousands of hours per ampere per cm^2. Given that I'm putting 240 mA across 16 cm^2 I could expect >30,000 hours of anode life in a sulphuric acid bath (that's the standard life calculation for anodes used in plating operations).

In wort the life should be functionally infinite.
 
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malt junkie

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If this was welded into say a kegmenter, and controled by Brewpiless or equivalent (and yes there's a spare pin;)) you'd have the perfect repeatable fermentation process, also accurate double dropping (aerating at the 8-12 hour mark) no staying up till 3am to break out the oxygen kit. Now if only I could write code:hairout:
I'm guessing pressure wouldn't be an issue.
 

Lyrebird_Cycles

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You could always just use a timer plug.

BTW I do not recommend leaving the unit in the fermenter once its job is done. Get it out, clean it and pack it away. The above life calculation for the anode is only valid if it isn't scratched or scuffed: the platinum is very hard and durable but very thin.

The other restriction I see is that if you, like me, virtually always brew things in pairs for experimental purposes you either need two of them or to accept a difference in oxygenation times.
 
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