Platinum filtration of vodka – NPP Technofilter



Platinum filtration


Home - Carbon processing - Platinum filtration

A noble metal creating a noble taste!

 “Since the creation of the world until now this metal has remained completely unknown which is undoubtedly quite surprising”  

 The first natural-science journal of Moscow “Magazine of natural history, physics and chemistry”, 1790.

Indeed, in addition to ancient methods such as purification with milk and starch, new vodka production technologies are used today. New types of carbons, including cocoa, kernel and silver-containing carbons (such as BAU), have emerged. One of the most important issues in alcoholic beverage industry is now the choice and use of high-quality and effective carbons for treatment of water-alcohol mixtures. The organoleptic value of vodkas depends on how correctly carbon is used, how successfully the purification mode has been selected and, of course, which carbon is used for treatment of the water-alcohol mixture.

Several years ago Technofilter offered to vodka producers a new method of water-alcohol mixture processing and additional improvement of vodka, the Silver Filtration technology. The new technology allowed the enterprises to reduce expenses caused by loss of alcohol and to use production areas more effectively. However, as the experience of using the technology has shown, its main advantage is improvement of the product itself. The taste and flavour of the product became more balanced. In 2005 the Silver Filtration technology was included into the process regulations for production of vodkas and is successfully used by more than 200 enterprises in Russia and abroad. Brands of vodka produced using Silver Filtration include Zelyonaya Marka, Zhuravli, Pyat Ozyor, Flagman, Kristalnaya Kaplya, Belaya Beryozka and many others.

The successful experience of using the Silver Filtration technology has demonstrated broad prospects of using catalyst-containing carbons. We decided to continue working in this direction and tested another metal, that is now widely used in the industry, platinum as the catalyst.

It is of interest that the word Platina means little silver in Spanish (from plata that means silver). This name was given to platinum by Spanish conquistadors that discovered the new metal resembling silver in the middle of the 16th century in South America (on the territory of modern Columbia). This scornful name is explained by exceptional refractoriness of platinum that resisted melting and found no applications for a long time which is why it was twice cheaper compared to silver. Europeans that inhabited South America considered platinum to be counterfeited silver. Due to its low cost jewelers and counterfeiters diluted gold with platinum. To preclude counterfeiting of money, platinum extracted at gold mines was sunk in rivers or buried.

For more than 200 years since discovery of platinum there existed no method of melting it. At that time it was only possible to soften the metal a little bit in order to forge separate pieces of platinum together, but such “ingots” were very fragile. The scientists who investigated the new metal found out soon that platinum did not react to any acids except for “aqua-regia” (the mixture of concentrated acids, nitric acid (HNO3) and hydrochloric acid (HCl)). In 1756 the Swedish chemist Henrick Sheffer examined platinum in detail and proved that it was not a mixture of known metals (such as gold and iron), as some scientists claimed in earnest, but a new chemical element. A leading role in the study of platinum was played by Russian, and then Soviet, scientists. 

Platinum compounds are now used in medicine as cytostatic agents for treatment of malignant growths. Platinum is also widely used in technical applications. The entire world production of nitric acid and hydrogen peroxide is actually based on the use of platinum. Very powerful miniature magnets are produced from a platinum-cobalt alloy. It would be impossible to produce optical glass and glassfibre without using platinum. Fuel cells, an indispensable prerequisite for exploration of space, were also invented owing to the existence of this metal.  

Platinum is a very active catalyst of many chemical reactions in a finely ground condition. The German chemist Döbereiner discovered in 1821 that platinum sponge stimulated the progress of several chemical reactions while platinum itself did not change. For example, platinum oxidized the vapours of ethyl alcohol to acetic acid even at ordinary temperatures.

By request of Technofilter, platinum-impregnated coconut shell carbon was prepared. On the basis of that carbon, Technofilter made the EPSF.UPt sorptive filter element and tested it in cooperation with All-Russian Research Institute of Food Biotechnologies at several distilleries, including Topaz (Pushkino). The tests were intended to find out the type of effect of the platinum-impregnated carbon on physico-chemical and organoleptic properties of vodka.

The tests have shown that the use of platinum significantly increases catalytic properties of activated carbon. The processing rate of vodka was 25 to 40 dal of the water-alcohol mixture per 300 g of carbon (BAU-A 0.04 carbon, 0.04 to 0.06 dal per 300 g or 30 to 60 dal per 300 kg of carbon). Closed tasting sessions revealed improved organoleptic properties of vodkas that underwent Platinum Filtration. These vodkas received the highest tasting grades among all samples presented.

Investigations in laboratories of the All-Russian Research Institute of Food Biotechnologies have shown that the samples of vodkas that were subjected to Platinum Filtration have a high organoleptic rating probably due to the presence of ethyl acetate as well as traces of acetal and ethyl formate (Table 1).

Table1.       Results of gas-chromatographic and organoleptic analyses of vodka

Name of vodka sample    

Tasting grade, points

Admixture being detected, mg/dm3


ethyl acetate1


2-propanol ­


Ethyl formate­3

Vodka processed using silver-containing carbons      















Vodka processed using Silver Filtration,  Technofilter Research-and-Manufacturing Enterprise Ltd












presence detected


presence detected

Vodka processed using Platinum Filtration,  Technofilter Research-and-Manufacturing Enterprise Ltd












presence detected


presence detected

1 – Ethyl acetate is a colourless volatile liquid having a pleasant fruit flavour

2 – Acetals are ethers, derivatives of the hydrate form of aldehydes: liquids having a pleasant odour

3 – Ethyl formate is an ester of organic acid; it is added to some brands of rum to impart a typical flavour to them

Formation of ethers and esters is apparently due to oxidation of alcohols, primarily, ethanol that results from catalytic reactions initiated by platinum on the surface of active carbon.

This is also confirmed by operational tests of EPSF.UAg0.4 and EPSF.UPt filter elements performed at UkrNIIspirtbioprod (Kiev):

 “Most reactions are catalyzed by metal oxides (iron, silver, etc) that are present in activated carbons as ash admixtures (iron) or intentionally applied on grains of carbon and retained by carbon (carbon impregnated with silver or platinum). The effect of catalysts results in etherification of alcohols.

Research has shown that oxidation processes are unfolding in a spontaneous, uncontrollable way, when ions of irons are present as a catalyst. The rate of the first-stage oxidation reaction (of ethanol to acetaldehyde) is much higher compared to the rate of oxidation of acetaldehyde to acids along with simultaneous sorption of intermediate products of the reaction. As a result, an excessive amount of acetaldehyde is formed, which becomes evident when the water-alcohol mixtures are treated with BAU-A activated carbon.

Somewhat different processes are observed when the water-alcohol mixtures are treated with active carbon impregnated with silver or platinum. Due to the electrochemical potential difference that arises between silver or platinum and carbon, redox and etherification reactions proceed more intensively at equal rates in the case of each neoformation of compounds which is why no intermediate products of the reaction (such as acetaldehyde) are accumulated. As a result, chemical equilibrium of chemical compounds in the water-alcohol mixture is established more rapidly. The time of contact between impregnated carbon and the water-alcohol mixture is reduced, i.e. the filtration rate is increased”.

Platinum Filtration is now used by more than 30 distilleries, including those in Russia (Topaz, BAIKALFARM, Kaliningrad food enterprise, MordovSpirt, Kazansky Distillery, etc), Ukraine (Khortitsa, Nemiroff, etc), Belarus, Lithuania, Kyrgyzstan, Georgia, etc.

On March 12, 2008, the Platinum Filtration technology was included into “Process regulations for production of vodkas and alcoholic beverages”, Amendment No 2 to PTR10-12292-99 as a method for additional improvement of vodka.

 The experience of using the technology at many enterprises has shown that vodka subjected to Platinum Filtration retains improved organoleptic properties during storage.

Formerly, several centuries ago, when only “aqua-regia” could overcome the exceptional durability of platinum, the status of a noble metal was awarded to platinum owing to “aqua-regia”. Today we can use platinum for production of Russian vodka having a special, noble taste.

Description of equipment

Platinum Filtration is a method for treating vodkas to improve their organoleptic properties. The essence of the method is as follows: vodka filtered through a carbon column, treated using Silver Filtration or another regulated method, is passed through a USF filter system (TU 5131-009-10471723-2004) consisting of a pumping unit, a filter holder, a rotameter and stop valves, provided with EPSF.UPt filter elements loaded with platinum-impregnated carbon, and delivered to the filtered vodka collector or conditioning tank.


Additional treatment of vodkas to improve their organoleptic properties.

Features and advantages of Platinum Filtration technology


 Advantages for consumers

   Stable quality

  • High rating of organoleptic properties of the product
    •  smooths out unpleasant tastes and odours of alcohol shades in the flavour
    •  Imparts softness, balance and nobility to the taste and flavour
  • EPSF.UPt , High efficiency of vodka processing using EPSF.UPt filter elements loaded with platinum-impregnated cocoa carbon
  • High processing rate of vodka resulting from extremely high catalytic properties of platinum
  • Increased throughput of filter elements
  • Retention and improvement of organoleptic properties during prolonged storage

      Prompt and easy maintenance

  • Prompt and easy replacement of filter elements

    Large throughput of EPSF.UPt filter elements (minicolumns) at minimum expenses

  • Average throughput of a 250 mm high EPSF.UPt filter element is up to 10,000 dal
  • Minimum expenses on test filtration resulting from high hardness of coconut shell carbon and lack of attrition

The technology is based on EPSF.UPt cartridge filter elements loaded with platinum-impregneted coconut shell activated carbon.

The technology has been patented by Technofilter Research-and-Manufacturing Enterprise Ltd  

The EPSF.UPt filter element is a carbon “minicolumn”: carbon is loaded between outer and inner shells, liquid is delivered through the lower opening of the outer shell, passes through carbon and comes out inside the cartridge through the upper opening of the inner shell.

This design takes into account the ability of carbons to swell in the course of operation and precludes the possibility of “channelling” even at high filtration rates.

Carbons loaded into the minicolumn feature high hardness and large surface area. The method of impregnation used in production of the filter elements precludes migration of platinum into the filtrate.

Recommended modes of operation 

Recommended optimum rate of vodka processing is about 25 to 40 dal/hour for one 250 mm high EPSF.UPt element. Throughput of one 250 mm high EPSF.UPt element is about 7,5000 to 10,000 dal.

List of components of the Platinum Filtration system

USF system   EPSF.UPt filter elements

EPSF.UPt filter elements are supplied as part of USF systems. Depending on the required vodka processing rate, the number and height of filter elements and the grade of the USF filtration system are selected.

USF filtration systems (Silver Filtration) are used in the alcoholic beverage industry and are intended for treatment of water-alcohol mixtures and vodkas. The minimum production rate of the systems is 150 dal/hour, the maximum production rate is up to 3,000 dal/hour.

Standard set of components of the USF system

The systems are compact, are mounted on a single frame and consist of:

  • pumping unit (German-made GRUNDFOS pump or Russian-made ONTs pump, explosion-proof construction)
  • carbon filtration unit (filter holder made of 12Kh18N10T stainless steel having an inspection window, complete with a pressure gauge, designed for various numbers and heights of ESF.UPt filter elements)
  • piping manifold, stop valves;
  •  flowmeter

The system can be supplied complete with a control console having an automatic switch and a frequency converter as well a prefiltration unit for protection of carbon elements from mechanical impurities (scale, sand and carbon dust, etc).

The systems are designed and produced in accordance with requirements of the Consumer.

Silver Filtration systems have been certified (Certificate No ROSS RU.AYa56.V20239) along with EPSF.UPt filter elements (Supplement to the certificate of conformance No ROSS RU.AYa56.V20239).

Filtration technologies of vodka

History of vodka

Carbon processing

Silver filtration

Platinum filtration

Preparation of components

Pre-filling filtration

New technologies


© 2021 NPP "Technofilter" Ltd.
Industrial filtration.

All rights reserved.