Maple Syrup and Reverse Osmosis Units?
Results 1 to 11 of 11
  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Algoma District Northern Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    5,230

    Default Maple Syrup and Reverse Osmosis Units?

    Ravenseye's mention of the nice drinking water produced by using the RO on maple sap could interest a few people here. I think quite a few of us do a small maple syrup harvest.

    I have been doing a bit of tire kicking in regard to one for my own drinking water. Some of the units look like they would be quite portable. I wonder if they could do double duty for the maple sap run?
    Frank

  2. Remove Advertisements
    BeeSource.com
    Advertisements
     

  3. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Pepperell, MA.
    Posts
    6,169

    Default Re: Maple Syrup and Reverse Osmosis Units?

    I have the RO Bucket. RO10. It has tremendously reduced my boil time since my job and distance really limits how much time I can babysit the pans. Since I boil at a slower rate that the RO unit, I always have concentrated sap ready to go. I can even run it through a second time and really raise the sugar concentration level. They do take some care as in flushing out, sterilizing, etc. I found it easier to (if you can) do a lot at once and then boil down. Otherwise the overnight (or longer) maintenance is a little bit of work.

    Note that it works great for concentrating sap. The sap is even cleaner since you're running it through a filter before the RO membrane does it's job. Also note that the ions are removed from the percolate water so the total dissolved solids is next to nothing (my meter read "3"). However, you don't pull germs, etc., out. So if you're looking to use the percolate for long term drinking water you still need to sterilize in some way such as boiling, chlorine, etc. Your percolate is essentially as concentrated in the bacteria category as your sap is in the mineral category. Here's a quick pic. The bottom left bucket is the percolate after reverse osmosis takes place. The bottom right bucket is the concentrated sap (came in just over 4%). The upper right bucket is what's left of the original sap that was being run through the RO. The upper left is the RO unit.

    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Ravenseye; 03-18-2020 at 01:00 PM. Reason: Had the wrong percentage on the first pass and the wrong model #...grr....
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    England, UK
    Posts
    1,808

    Default Re: Maple Syrup and Reverse Osmosis Units?

    If reverse osmosis can be used to remove water from maple syrup - could it then not also be used for doing the same with half-cured honey ? Or is honey far too viscous for this ?
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Pepperell, MA.
    Posts
    6,169

    Default Re: Maple Syrup and Reverse Osmosis Units?

    I'm thinking not. The RO membrane needs high pressure to work. And what you're pushing through that filter has to be fairly thin. With that little unit that I'm using, I can get 2 passes before your risk blowing the membrane out. That's what the manufacturer says. I think the commercial ones run at even higher pressures but still, the incoming product has to be pushed through those membranes and if it's too think you have a problem. That's my thought.
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  6. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Algoma District Northern Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    5,230

    Default Re: Maple Syrup and Reverse Osmosis Units?

    One report said they were increasing the 2% sugar content sap to 8% sugar; must have been running it through twice. That is taking away about 30 gallons of water per barrel of sap. A tremendous savings in BTU's of energy, compared to the cost of running the RO pumps.

    I had a tour of a commercial setup a few years ago. Besides the initial RO savings they were pulling a high vacuum on the evaporating vessel and reducing the boiling point quite considerably. A lot of tech goes into the way the big boys do it today. I actually prefer the taste of open pan direct heat syrup to the #1 light modern stuff. It has a lot more "character" to it.

    What is the brand name of your unit Ravenseye? What is its gallons per day rating?
    Frank

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Pepperell, MA.
    Posts
    6,169

    Default Re: Maple Syrup and Reverse Osmosis Units?

    Look up RO Bucket on the google. Very small kit. 8-12 gallons per hour. I think the membrane is rated to 2,000 or 2 years. I have to say it worked great. It set up in about 5 minutes. Took me a little bit to get used to it but overall it's worth it considering my time.
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Location
    Albany NY
    Posts
    224

    Default

    Lj, it definitely would not do honey. We are talking taking sap that is between 1 and 3% sugar and concentrating it to about 8%. Honey has less water than maple syrup even if it's a bit wet.... If you can gather enough nectar and run it through before the bees get it you might be able to concentrate it some 🙂
    Crofter, et al, I built an ro system with help from the net. We go from about 2%-8% in one pass using household equipment and an aquarium booster pump. We are taking out about 75% of the water, and thus the boil time and wood. (Math: 2% sap - half the water = 4%; - half the water again = 8%.) I simply run the sap into the pump, a 5 micron pre filter, and then 5 ro filters in series. They need to be flushed regularly and washed with ro soap (lye, every couple hundred gallons) and citric acid (every couple wash cycles or 1x at end of season). It can process about 150 gallons per day. I boil faster than it concentrates so I have to plan ahead. Ideally concentrated sap does not sit more than a couple hours. When we have a lot of sap coming in sometimes I'll run the ro 24 hours before starting the boil. It takes a couple hours to get the first draw off and then we get about a gallon of finished syrup per hour of boil. (I could boil faster but like the flavor to develop in the syrup pan more...)
    I'm not sure I'd want to use the same filter as for the house as the sap has soo much sediment etc. If you do try the household unit be sure to use only the pre filter and the actual ro filter. The carbon filter, for example, will filter out your sugar as well....

  9. #8
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Algoma District Northern Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    5,230

    Default Re: Maple Syrup and Reverse Osmosis Units?

    Amibusiness. Some very important info there. I do remember problems with bacteria and mold growth. Thus the flushing and washing. Good point on the charcoal filters being a bad idea. The sediment filter and then afterwards the multiple RO elements in parallel would be the way to go. The little drinking water prefabs not the up to the job. I just thought another use for one during the sap run would be justification for a one click acquisition from amazon!

    Thanks,
    Frank

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Location
    Albany NY
    Posts
    224

    Default

    Yeah, I store mine in the off season. I don't use them for drinking water because the tap is fine. I think if you ran them in parallel you could do more sap volume but not concentrate as high. I set it up in series so I can get to about 8% in 1 pass. I have a needle valve at the end of the concentrate line to create back pressure /higher concentration. If I have too much sap to go through I open the needle valve a bit to increase volume. Then I do a second pass recirculating the concentrate to take out more water. If filters were in parallel one could also just do a second pass to concentrate more. To get beyond 8% I would need different filters and a stronger pump.... Cost of everything was $500 which is a chunk of change and then the filters only last about 2 years. So that's an anual maintenance cost of a little over $50 including soaps and such. A logger offered me 5k for all the big maples on my 3 acre woods. I kept my trees. In several years we get that in syrup and when they fall over we get the firewood. But they'll be producing syrup for as long as I want to get it. And we've been selecting the replacement trees to keep this level sustainable as long as we still like doing it. Who knows, maybe the kids will live here and have a nice set up to work with their children....

  11. #10
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Algoma District Northern Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    5,230

    Default Re: Maple Syrup and Reverse Osmosis Units?

    Got you on the series vs parallel. I was thinking back pressure bad, but in RO pressure differential is actually what makes it tick!

    Are you using tubing for sap collection?
    Frank

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Location
    Albany NY
    Posts
    224

    Default

    Yes, back pressure needed.... We are on buckets. Up to 150 possible on the lot. We've done 80 max so far. This year only about 50. If we do all and it's a good year I'd definitely need to run a second ro.... We do use lines so a 3 tap tree only gets one bucket. Sometimes we collect 2x/day. I'd use the gravity vacuum lines but the property slopes the wrong way.... When we are flooded we talk of pumping. But the children are still around and enjoy colecting. When they move out we'll either make less or put in lines!

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •