Author Topic: Need Assistance with my Masters Project  (Read 510 times)

Offline drubinsky

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Need Assistance with my Masters Project
« on: June 14, 2016, 04:49:23 PM »
Howdy everyone!  I've been a member for just under a year now and have been creeping on the message boards, finally deciding to make a posting. 

A little about myself: I am a Computer Engineer and am currently working towards finishing my Masters in Systems Engineering.  The final effort I have to complete is a Project, where I put it through the Systems Engineering process.  While I wont bore you with the details of that process, it requires that I gather requirements, develop a concept of operations, outline risks, develop diagrams, etc.  My project is "systems engineer" an "Automated, All-Grain, Green/Energy Efficient, Homebrew System".  Bullet points to address, what some would see as "currently available systems"....

  • Larger scale brewing: Most automated systems available today will only brew 1-3 gallons of beer. Most non-automated setups are capable of brewing 5-10 gallons or more.
  • Efficient brewing system: Current non-automated systems utilize a large amount of energy; gas, electricity, etc., which is also not conserved across different steps of the process. There can also be considerable loss of liquid due to evaporation.
  • Safety: Current non-automated systems utilize open flames and exposed heatingelements for heating liquid, as well as electric current for powering transfer pumps.
  • Post Brewing Activities: Most automated systems do not take into account the activities required after the brewing process has finished. There is work required during fermentation, and before & during the carbonation process.

These bullet points address the high level concerns of why my system is "different".  Feel free to ask me any questions about this in order to get the creative juices flowing.

I am looking to start gathering requirements and developing the concept of operations.  I do this for my day job as an engineer, and I reach out to my users for this information.  I figured that for this system, what better place to reach users than the AHA Forums!!  In the next few days, I plan on developing a questionnaire that will assist with gathering requirements and targeting other folks as well (local micro-brewer). 

Thank you all for any assistance you may be willing to provide.

Offline erockrph

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Re: Need Assistance with my Masters Project
« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2016, 05:06:01 PM »
It's hard to ask questions about your system without knowing the basics of what it does and how it works. Knowing what it doesn't do isn't a huge help.

As far as the "considerable loss of liquid due to evaporation" thing - that is an important part of the brewing process, both to concentrate the sugars extracted in the mash and to drive off undesirable compounds like SMM. I don't know how your system works, but it would actually be less efficient on ingredients (more grain and hops required) without a decent boiloff.
Eric B.

Finally got around to starting a homebrewing blog: The Hop Whisperer

Offline drubinsky

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Re: Need Assistance with my Masters Project
« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2016, 05:55:29 PM »
It's hard to ask questions about your system without knowing the basics of what it does and how it works. Knowing what it doesn't do isn't a huge help.
Understood.  For clarities sake, I am not actually designing / building this system.  Rather, I am applying systems engineering principals to this system.  From my project guidebook, I am to do the following:

Quote
The primary purpose of the project is to demonstrate that the student understands and can apply systems
engineering principles to a specific system. The project shall involve the application of the following
systems engineering activities:
• Definition of Needs and Objectives
• Requirements Analysis and Concept of Operations
• Functional Analysis
• Conceptual Design
• Trade-Off Studies
• Risk Management
• Test and Evaluation
• System Specification (A-Spec)
• Final Report and Oral Presentation

My plan, is develop a system as such....
Quote
The All Green Auto-Brew will be sized to hold 15 Gallons of liquid, which can be utilized for batches of beer sized between 5 – 12 Gallons.  In order to reduce energy waste, the system will minimize the number of vessels that liquid is transferred to and from; this should prevent heat loss and prevent contamination during transfers.  The system will also utilize an induction based heating system.  This will introduce a safety factor to the system, as there will be no open flames during the brewing process.  The system will also be completely sealed, as to prevent liquid from coming in contact with exposed electrical currents.  After brewing is complete, the All Green Auto-Brew will house the beer for fermentation.  With automated controls for temperature, this will ensure that the beer is fermenting at the appropriate temperature according the style. 

A high-level requirements list is show below:

Requirement Number   Requirement Description
1   System shall be capable of brewing at least 15 gallons
2   System shall not utilize exposed heating elements for heating
3   System shall minimize human interaction and automate the brewing process
4   System shall minimize the number of times liquid is transferred from one vessel to another
5   System shall have built in temperature control for all stages of the brewing and fermentation process
6   System shall minimize loss of liquid from evaporation
7   System shall maximize energy efficiencies across all stages of the brewing process

As far as the "considerable loss of liquid due to evaporation" thing - that is an important part of the brewing process, both to concentrate the sugars extracted in the mash and to drive off undesirable compounds like SMM. I don't know how your system works, but it would actually be less efficient on ingredients (more grain and hops required) without a decent boiloff.
I was not aware of that.  This is due to my lack of knowledge of the all grain process and all the science that goes into brewing.  When I mentioned evaporation from boiling, I was mainly referencing the boiling of the wort.  And I don't necessarily want to minimize evaporation, rather, I want to ensure that the conservation of energy is maximized.  so if water evaporates, it is captured and utilized somewhere else in the system.

Offline BrewHalla

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Re: Need Assistance with my Masters Project
« Reply #3 on: June 14, 2016, 07:07:17 PM »
You may want to look more into kettle size as well. I wouldn't use a kettle that could produce 15 gallons of beer and then turn it around and use it for a 5 gallon batch. Width and height of a pot becomes an issue when it comes to a boil. Too tall and you don't reach suffecient temp at the top. Too wide and you don't get boiling at the sides or you end up scorching the wort.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G900A using Tapatalk


Offline erockrph

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Re: Need Assistance with my Masters Project
« Reply #4 on: June 14, 2016, 07:25:39 PM »
When I mentioned evaporation from boiling, I was mainly referencing the boiling of the wort.  And I don't necessarily want to minimize evaporation, rather, I want to ensure that the conservation of energy is maximized.  so if water evaporates, it is captured and utilized somewhere else in the system.
Understood, and to be clear I was referring to boiling the wort as well.

Sounds like a neat project, even if it is mainly a thought experiment.
Eric B.

Finally got around to starting a homebrewing blog: The Hop Whisperer

Offline drubinsky

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Re: Need Assistance with my Masters Project
« Reply #5 on: June 15, 2016, 10:48:18 AM »
Understood, and to be clear I was referring to boiling the wort as well.

Sounds like a neat project, even if it is mainly a thought experiment.
Roger that.  I am still fairly new at homebrewing.  I've been brewing for about a year or so, but strictly extract brewing.  I still don't understand all of the sciences behind everything, but I am trying to learn.  This project is designed to take something I have a degree of knowledge in, and expand on it.  Thanks for your inputs.

You may want to look more into kettle size as well. I wouldn't use a kettle that could produce 15 gallons of beer and then turn it around and use it for a 5 gallon batch. Width and height of a pot becomes an issue when it comes to a boil. Too tall and you don't reach suffecient temp at the top. Too wide and you don't get boiling at the sides or you end up scorching the wort.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G900A using Tapatalk
Something I hadn't even thought of.  Thank you!  Based upon that, there would be a key requirement for kettle size, based upon the size of batch that I wanted to brew.  Based upon my target user base for this project (advanced homebrewers and small microbreweries) I think a 10 gallon batch size would be appropriate.  Thoughts?   This is a question that I will populate in my user survey as well.   

Offline blair.streit

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Re: Need Assistance with my Masters Project
« Reply #6 on: June 15, 2016, 12:44:53 PM »
Yes, 5 or 10 would be the most popular. I think the AHA even had some survey data on this.

Also keep in mind that for ideal safety you want a few gallons of headspace above your starting volume. For example, I brew 5G batches in a 10G pot. I start with 7.75G of liquid which I boil down to 6G, then transfer 5.5 to the fermentor and 5 to the keg.