Infinity Supercritical 10L vs NuAxon CO2

Review: 20171012-infinity-supercritical-vs-nuaxon

NuAxon Website: https://www.nuaxon.com  and https://www.nuaxontech.com/co2-extractors

Overall Comments:

NuAxon: They offer 10L (2 x 5L) and 50L (2 x 25L) and 5,000 psi fully automated system, which requires a PLC (included with the system) to run the system. Made in India. Proprietary software. Company: New to the Cannabis space. Website is hard to look at, with moving train in the background. Machines built: Unknown. Footprint for larger 25L: Huge. 17.5 ft tall, by 25 x 25 feet floorspace. 24+ weeks to build and ship. Location: Indiana and mfg in India. Price of larger 2x25L system: Approximately $500,000+

System: Collection:

NuAxon: They offer several collection vessels, and waste collection vessel, unsure of capacity to collect or prevent carry-over of oil. Design of system looks industrial and complicated.

Infinity has three collection vessels at 1.5 L each, and they use electrostatic precipitation and filter to prevent any carry-over. Fractionation can be controlled by Back Pressure Valve(s) BVP, chiller temperature, and electrostatic precipitation. Infinity has built systems in the USA that are currently running on Cannabis/Hemp, and build time of 2-3 weeks. Shipping takes a few days.

supercritical-10-liter-system-front-view
Infinity Supercritical Uses 3 Collection Separation Vessels

Extraction Vessel:
NuAxon: They offer multiple vessels with quick closure tops. They use high pressure components, which means 1/16 or 1/32 tube size (may have clogging issues) and use pneumatic valves which require external compressor. Typically external air compressors are loud, and require a chiller for cooling.

Infinity System has horizontal or vertical extraction vessels, no moving parts, and includes baskets which allow easy loading and unloading. System interconnecting tube size is 1/2 and 1/4 inch (no clogging).

Baskets also allow flash freezing from harvest, which allows extraction of high-value resin.

Extraction Time:

NuAxon: They claim cycle time of 90 minutes but don’t provide any details, nor any lab results running actual Cannabis. Fast extractions can happen with 5,000 psi systems, however a fast extraction is not the complete story. High pressure extraction will extract everything from the botanical, which results and much longer post processing times to remove the unwanted material (such as waxes and other compounds). High pressure = more waxes. See: https://www.google.com/patents/US7344736  Removing such material can add huge amounts of time to the post processing schedule, which eliminates and time savings originally obtained from extraction of the crude oil. System is build in India. Unclear if how support is done, since manufacturing plant is in India.

Infinity has a 1-3 hour run time, and is experimenting with 30/30 and 45/45 cycle times. Infinity has lab results posted on their webpage running Cannabis, and does lots of testing in the shop in Ferndale, Washington. The extraction pressure is at or below 2,000 psi, which specifically targets the Cannabis or Hemp oil, not the waxes and other materials which have low to no value, and need to be post-processed out. Manufacturing and support is in USA. Parts can be overnight shipped.

Photos of Extract from the Infinity Supercritical CO2 Botanical Extraction System

Separation Vessels:

NuAxon: They use a two separation vessels. Lack of detail limits ability to decipher quality of extraction collection.  Unsure how collection vessels are heated with their system. In general, the vessels need some type of heating system. This can be a enclosed hot water bath (slow heating time and requires a chiller that is actually used for heated water), or solid state electric heat (fast response).

Infinity CO2 system has three collection separation vessels, which use electrostatic precipitation to assist in recovery of oil extract and produces a crude oil. Any crude oil (applies to all CO2 extraction systems) needs to be post processed (dewaxed/rotovaped) and then ready for either direct use for vape pens, or further flash Chromatography or distillation for separation of fractions, which will then be recombined into a recipe for vape pen and concentrates. Infinity uses the solid state heat on the collection/separation vessels.

tribo-gen-static-electricity
Infinity Supercritical Uses Electrostatic Precipitation (ESP) to Assist in the Collection of Cannabis and Hemp Oil Extracts – Infinity discovered the static effect during testing. The action of CO2 moving over Teflon (closed-loop) makes a static charge. The production of a static charge does not require any outside power source – it’s all done just from the tribo-effect of the CO2 moving over Teflon (in-situ). Infinity uses a specially designed (and patent-pending) Teflon device to produce the static charge. Better collection of oil means reduced or eliminated carry-over of oil (i.e. reduced pump maintenance).

CO2 Pump:

NuAxon: High pressure diaphragm pump? Type of pump is unclear. Rated at 350 bar or 5,145 psi. Pump reliability is unknown. Typically high pressure pumps are prone to breakdown, and require more maintenance. More details would be helpful on their website. In large batch systems, it’s important to get CO2 to soak through the entire botanicals, which is more difficult in larger vessels. Typically, CO2 is put in one end of a vessel, and exits out the other end.

Infinity uses a liquid pump (silent operation) with up to 4 gpm per minute CO2 flow. However, we have found through testing that less flow, results in better botanical soak (CO2 permeation) has better results. Combine that with a FlowBar (CO2 distribution tube which runs up through the entire extraction vessel) results in better soak, in less time, and less flow. We also use a heat exchanger that recovers heat from the gearbox and puts that heat into the CO2 flow which reduces power demand. Infinity has been testing and refining our pump for over two years, and it has a good track record of operation in the Cannabis industry. You can add co-solvent in the Infinity machine manually, and a pump cleaning device as an optional add-on to reduce maintenance and clean seals in place. This reduces pump cleaning time with the system, and faster turn-around time to the next cycle/extraction. The name of the game is processing. The more time spent extracting oil in the most efficient time, results in more profits.

infinity-supercritical-10-liter-system-pressure
Infinity Supercritical Uses a Swagelok Back Pressure Value and a Automated Pressure Sensor PID to Maintain System Pressure from the VFD Controlled CO2 Pump

Pressures:

NuAxon: They claim to go up to 350 bar or 5,145 psi, which is the full extraction range. That should be good for any plant extracting process. Anything above 2,000 psi will extract waxes and chlorophyll. That requires a great deal of post processing (which can be up to 5-10 times the amount of extraction time, depending on type of post processing procedure and staff available). Waters uses a system that goes up to that pressure as well, and for groups that want high pressure, most will purchase a Waters (which dominates the Denver market) that can also fractionate oil extract output into three vessels.

Infinity goes up to 2,000 psi and output is targeted for Cannabis or Hemp oil concentrate, not waxes or chlorophyll. Infinity offers a CO2 pump cleaning system.

20171003-infinity-supercritical-co2-liquid-view
Infinity Supercritical Uses CO2 Sight Glass to View Liquid CO2 in System Processing

Pressure Maintenance:

NuAxon: They use a proprietary pressure maintaining system (other information is unknown, and not provided).

Infinity uses a Swagelok BPV (Back Pressure Valve) to precisely regulate pressure, and a automated pressure sensor feedback loop, which is controlled by a VFD. The Variable Frequency Drive regulates the pump RPM, to maintain pressure. Set it, and it maintains pressure. The VFD also has ModBus which allow external communications to network with monitoring and control. Parts made in USA. Spare parts available overnight. Infinity also offers a ethanol based pump cleaning device. This bolt-on option to the 10L Infinity system allows the pump to be cleaned in-place, without removing the pump-head. The system not only cleans the pistons of the pump, but also the seals. By not removing the pump head or seals, can result in huge time savings (and less staff time).

 

20170920-infinity-supercritical-alcohol-cleaning-cosolvent-01
Infinity Supercritical CO2 Pump Cleaning Device

Automation:

NuAxon: They have a fully automated system that requires a PLC (as part of the system) and pneumatic air system. They include manual valves, in case the cycle needs to be interrupted.

Infinity uses standard semi-automated VFD and PID systems. Customer can upgrade to a PLC to monitor the system via network computer, or via smartphone. Additional datalogging capabilities using Filemaker database software, which includes text alerts, maintenance alerts, etc. Cycle time is so fast, that an technician needs to be there at all times. As with any high pressure equipment, running high-value botanicals, an attendant should be there at all times.

supercritical-10-liter-system-front-view
Infinity Supercritical CO2 Semi Automated System With Zone Pressure and Heat Control

Piping:

NuAxon: Unclear what diameter tubes they use. If they are using 5,000 psi compliant tubing, then they’re probably using 1/16 or 1/8 inch tubing, which will clog (ask any Waters operator). Parts made in India.

Infinity uses 1/2 to 1/2 inch stainless steel tubing. No clogging. Parts made in USA and available overnight.

20171003-infinity-supercritical-10l-pressure-meter
Infinity Supercritical Uses Standard Pressure Meters and 1/4 to 1/2 Inch Stainless Steel Tubes Which Do Not Clog

Cost:

NuAxon: Around $500,000+ (for 2x25L systems) and long manufacturing times and shipment from India, which can be 6 weeks+. System is huge (footprint is 25 x 25 feet with 17 ft height) and requires crew to assemble.

The Infinity System is $99,000 for a 10L system (number up for larger system configurations which result in a discounted price) compact (24 x 48 x 71 inches) and is rolled out of the crate and ready to install and operate. The Infinity System is designed to fit through any standard sized door, hallway, or elevator. It is mounted on industrial casters, so you can roll it anywhere you want. Since the system is semi-automated, you have the flexibility of running different recipes, and can change up the schedule on-the-fly. System not prone to any software glitches. Does require an attendant at all times, since our cycle times are very fast.

Engineer Review:

NuAxon: Unclear if they have a engineer peer review for the USA (it’s not listed on their website). To operate legally, you will need to have a full peer review by a certified ASME PE before installation (custom reviews can cost more than $15,000). Their larger 25L system looks like it has to be assembled on-site, which requires additional certification.

Infinity has a engineer peer reviewed system, and is already approved in the state of California, Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, Washington, and Oregon. The plug-and-play system is rolled out of the crate and ready to install and operate.

20171012-infinity-supercritical-engineer-stamp
Infinity Supercritical Engineer Peer Reviewed and Approved for Use in California, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Arizona, and Colorado

Overall Comments:

NuAxon: Looks like they have a system originally designed for spices in India (so system may be well proven if that is the case), and converting or marketing to the Cannabis space. They don’t mention Cannabis or Hemp on their website. Unknown in the USA. Country of the pressure vessel manufacture is unknown, assume it’s India.

While the high-automation might seem attractive, unless the PLC is operating with good software 100 percent of the time, it will be frustrating to troubleshoot, especially if something goes wrong and support from India (if support is USA based then that will be better). While Apeks systems are very popular with full automation, the big complaint with Apeks operators is the software failure (which can automatically vent all the CO2) and updates.

Infinity has developed a Supercritical CO2 system specifically for the Cannabis and Hemp industry. The technological improvements have resulted in fast cycle processing time, less carry-over of oil, better CO2 pump operation, and less maintenance. While the Infinity System is smaller (10L per machine), they have found that numbering up gives the operator more flexibility in running different Cannabis varieties, and a faster more consistent processing time (less extractor volume results in faster CO2 and pressure soak). The consistency of the Infinity System results in a superior Cannabis extract. The Infinity System is more comparable to a fine Bourbon compared to a mass-produced Pabst.

 

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