team photo

Figure 1
project photo

Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Team 12

Team Members

Advisor

Sarah Ayers
Elzbieta Chwatko
Matthew Lewicki
Dominique Schiraldi

Douglas Cooper

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Designing a Moonshine Production Facility

Planning a successful business can be a challenge, however the craft spirit market has great potential to be profitable. Moonshine is a novel product that is easy to produce and makes a great choice for a starting distillery. The goal of this project is to optimize the engineering behind a craft moonshine distillery, while considering marketing, business, and alcohol production. We aim to make 10,000 gallons of 80 proof moonshine per year with a positive return on investment in ten years. Operations required to produce moonshine include: fermentation, distillation, and quality control. We can manipulate grain proportions, yeast, enzymes, and amendments to achieve our desired flavor as well as model this process’ kinetics. Batch distillation, using a pot still and small distillation column, will ensure desired alcohol content while removing harmful chemicals, such as methanol. We modeled these processes by applying theory of reaction kinetics, non-steady-state distillation, and computer simulation. The product quality can be measured using factors such as alcohol content, flavor, color, and odor. A successful solution to this problem will be evaluated by estimated profit, return on investment, and efficiency of operations. Entering the craft moonshine market will allow us to fill a niche in the liquor industry while providing a premium product to customers and stakeholders.