How to Select a Supercritical CO2 Fluid Extraction System for Extracting Botanical Oil

Selecting a supercritical CO2 oil extraction system can be a daunting process, given all the choices that are now available. Here is a short, but comprehensive list of important features you should be looking for.

Criteria:

  • Speed of Extraction Process: The time it takes to complete a cycle, with all other factors being equal, will determine your ability to process more material and become more profitable. Batch systems will require you to load, and wait while the system processes the material, which can take up to 12 hours or more for some systems.
  • Quality of Extracted Oil: The manufacturer should provide you with lab results of extracted oil. You can also speak with customers in determining the consistency of oil, and concentrates after post-processing. Profitable machines typically will produce a crude oil, which is then further refined during a separate procedure termed post-processing. This is where waxes and other compounds are removed from the oil to purify the Terpenes, THC, and CBDs (Cannabis and Hemp).
  • Automation vs. Semi-Automation: Extraction professionals prefer semi-automated systems, because it gives them flexibility to produce a variety of products, from live resin, shatter (post processing required), crumb, vape pen oil, dabs, and concentrates. Semi-automation allows you to also run a infinity variety of recipes for the extraction process, including first removing Terpenes (without heat) and then continuing the process with heat for other extracted compounds. Automation is great for single variety processing, and mass production of oil. Limitations of automation include malfunctions with software (or updates), and the use of more CO2 than non-automation machines. Backpressure valves are needed for precise pressure control. Most automated systems require a connection to the internet. Semi-automated systems can be utilized in remote locations, without the need for a internet connection.
  • Beware of Expansion Systems: Most CO2 pumps are designed for a specific flow rate. While this can be varied to some degree, simply adding extraction vessels in 5L or 10L increments drastically changes the system dynamics. Most extraction systems are dialed in for a specific volume and flow of CO2.
  • Delivery Time: Most extraction systems are build to order. 2-4 weeks is a reasonable build time.
  • CO2 Recovery: Well build extraction systems will retain the majority of the CO2 in a holding tank or reservoir. Beware of systems that use commercial CO2 supply cylinders as the storage reservoir, since most suppliers of CO2 will not allow you to return or refill rental or leased bottles, if they contain any traces of botanical oil or residue. Efficient systems will vent off extraction and collection vessel CO2, which needs to be replace for each cycle. Expensive systems will have a CO2 recovery system, which adds to the initial cost, and can be a maintenance headache. In our opinion, a expensive recovery system is a waste of money.
  • CO2 Pumps: Closed loop systems require a robust method to pressurize and circulate the CO2, which is the solvent for the botanicals. There are liquid and gas systems. Both work effectively well, but the liquid system is a smaller footprint, easier to maintain, and provides a more efficient delivery of CO2. diaphragm gas pumps are large, required compressed air (noisy), and expensive to maintain. Efficient liquid CO2 pumps can be powered directly with a electric motor, which allows silent operation (less operator fatigue from no noise), and can have the CO2 heated as it exits the pump, which ensures even heat distribution in the botanicals. Pumps should have easy access to maintenance, and a good system of filtering before the pump, so that little to no carry-over (residual botanical oil which is sticky) reaches the pump. Expect to change the seals on a good pump about once a month, if proper machine operation is followed to reduce carry-over.
  • Training: Supercritical Co2 Extraction systems require proper training to operators for normal operating procedures, safety, and maintenance.

 

Advantages with Infinity Supercritical CO2 Botanical Extraction Systems:

-Simplicity: because our systems are not automated, you do not have to
worry about software updates, system shutdowns (in the middle of a run
due to power failure or software hickups), or problematic pressure
control.

-Full Automation: After consulting with more Cannabis extraction
professionals, we have decided against moving forward with full
automation. Our customers are getting such great results with a
semi-automated system, we believe it is not advantageous to deploy
fully automated PLC systems. After talking with several Apeks
customers, we do not believe that a fully automated system, is the
best choice for a production Cannabis oil operation.

-FlowBar: we distribute CO2 over the length of the extraction vessel,
and from the inside of the Cannabis to the outside. The result is a
much faster, and complete extraction. This means that you can run
through 2-4 times more cycles than with the same size competition.
With our system, you can do a extraction cycle in 1-3 hours. Faster
extraction means more profit, so your payback is even faster with our
system. To be conservative, just plan on a 3 hour extraction time, and
experiment with your actual extraction time.

-Electro-Static Precipitation System: we use the action of the CO2
flowing over food-grade Teflon to produce a passive static charge. The
tribo-effect charges the oil entrained in the CO2 gas so that it
sticks to the first contact, which is the first collection vessel.
Better collection equals less or minimal carry-over, which reduces
pump maintenance.

-Tube Size: we use 1/4 to 1/2 inch Swagelok tubes and components,
which allow better flow of the CO2.

-Silent CO2 Pump: we use a highly-modified industrial liquid CO2 pump,
which runs using a motor. Operation is silent. Our extensive
modification means very minimal maintenance, and seal replacement can
be done by removing the pump head (about 5 minutes), cleaning the
pistons (about 10 minutes), and replacing seals (about 10 minutes).

-No Noisy Air Compressor: we do not need, nor use, a external pneumatic air
compressor (or additional chiller to cool the compressor which gets
hot from use). Compressor is so loud, that most systems which require
it, will need a separate room because it’s so noisy. Noise produces
extractor technician fatigue.

-Swagelok Back Pressure Valve: we use a very precise BVP, which allows
us to achieve very accurate pressures. We do not use valveless
technology, which produces pressure swings.

-CO2 Preheat: we use a heat exchanger on our motor-to-pump gearbox,
which preheats the CO2 before it gets into the extraction vessel. By
using the heat (byproduct of the gearbox), we are conserving energy
and preheating the CO2.

-Pressure and Heat Zone Feedback PID: we use compact PLCs to control
the pressure (with a feedback loop via digital sensor) and three zone
heat monitor, control, and feedback.

-Less Complicated: the system we have is modular, on a sturdy
industrial bolt-together frame, with casters, and can be wheeled
through any standard door, hallway, or elevator. The modular cart is
24 inches wide, by 48 inches long, by 71 inches in height. You will
notice the clean lines, minimal tubing, and logical layout of the
components.

-Less Stuff Needed to Run: our system requires a liquid CO2 supply
(cylinders), and a small chiller. That’s it. No air compressor, or
items to support that compressor.

-Quality Extract: our customers who perform extraction, say that their
ultimate customers rave about the quality and aroma of the extracted
oil. The quality terpenes that are extracted and ultimately preserved,
make the end-user experience a quality one.

-New Technology: we’re working on a solid state chiller (bolt-on),
energy saver heating/cooling technology, acoustical ultrasonics, and
other advanced technology, which not only enhance the operator
experience, but will reduce cycle time, while increasing quality of
extract. The bottom line is to save you time, and increase production,
which result in more profit. We are also working on SDR (Spinning Disc
Reactor) technology which will allow continuous flow processing, and
without pressure or CO2.

For more information, please visit: http://www.infinitysupercritical.com

For extraction supplies, including chillers, rotovap, distillation, and vape pen supplies: Click here

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