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Some problems with supercritical carbon dioxide extraction

What is the output of your CO2 extraction machine? One of the most common questions we have heard in the past 21 years is "What is the rate of return?"

Carbon dioxide extractor
This problem can be particularly irritating when the inquirer's impression is that the yield depends on the extraction system. This is a nuanced answer that covers multiple components - systems, solvents, plant materials, and processes developed to create a specific product. All of this has a significant impact on revenue. The simple answer is that if the extractor is optimized for the material and is run according to the process developed for the material and the desired product, any percentage of the oil in the plant material will be the final yield. An example is a terpene-rich product. Operating the system in the supercritical phase (over 1100 PSI and below 87F) will increase run time and reduce overall production because the process does not pull components that appear in the supercritical phase. However, a better answer is more complicated. Given the importance of this issue for most buyers, herbal extractor manufacturers tend to brag about their systems to achieve higher yields. We have broken down what we are looking for in the following questions:

Which type of CO2 extraction system is best? When it comes to supercritical carbon dioxide extractors, there is a significant difference in the expected yield between the two extractors on the market. Carbon dioxide extractors can be divided into two broad categories: liquid pumping systems and gas boost systems. This means that carbon dioxide is passing through the material as well as the liquid phase pump. Liquid pumping systems have several advantages that the processor should consider. The advantages of liquid pumping CO2 extraction system: saving energy. In a liquid pumping system, the same amount of energy input is used to make the CO2 in the liquid phase more than its gas phase. Significantly reduced runtime. Liquid systems are more tunable when fractionating various compounds such as terpenes and oleoresins. Compounds can be collected separately for a wider range of product choices. The production of all liquid systems is always better.

Why is the output of the liquid pumping system better? The gas boost pumping system pumps steam. When a system pumps carbon dioxide vapor (gaseous), carbon dioxide does not enter the liquid or supercritical phase until it actually passes through the outlet of the pump and begins to enter the extraction vessel. This is a critical stage of efficiency because the pressure gauge may not accurately reflect that the liquid is indeed full of the extraction vessel. If the liquid does not fill the container, proper extraction will not occur properly. The liquid pumping system converts the steam into a liquid for a long time before the condensed steam reaches the extraction vessel before the vapor in the condensation tower and accumulator reaches the pump inlet. In this process, the gas is already in a leading position to dissolve the plant compounds before reaching the pump. As a result, liquid systems are more reliable in achieving consistently high throughput and greatly extend the life of the pumping system.

How long does the ideal CO2 extraction run? There is a general rule for supercritical carbon dioxide extraction that 70-80% of vegetable oil comes out within a specific time frame, depending on the equipment used, the plant material extracted, and the temperature and pressure of the extraction. To get the remaining 20-30%, you will have to run the extractor twice. Therefore, operators need to ask themselves whether time is more important or comprehensive income is more important. There are two things that influence this decision, which can be intertwined: Are you producing for a customer who needs a full extraction, or are you producing a product for yourself? If your herb price is very expensive, full production is more important. If you have enough cheap herbs, 70-80% may be a good stopping point, based on the law of diminishing returns.

When buying a carbon dioxide system, the more relevant question is, how many grams does it spray per hour? The systems of most manufacturers in this market produce 15-30 grams per hour. The gas booster system is close to 15 grams per hour while several liquid systems are close to 30. The standard Hi-Flo CO2 extractor from the laboratory is 30-40 grams per hour.
Carbon dioxide extractor

So, really, what can I expect? Going back to the original question, if anyone wants to start a herbal extraction business, they are looking to extract a variety of herbs, and they should insert a spreadsheet of 10% of their business plan sheets. A higher rate of return can be achieved, but for planning, 10% is a good benchmark for meeting the above factors. Yields vary widely between different herbs, horticultural factors, systems and process development. However, when analyzing the various extracts used in herbal medicines, the actual figure of 10% is surprising.