Cannabis Extraction Equipment

Extraction is undoubtedly the future of the cannabis industry. Traditional cannabis use is a staple here to say, but popular products like tinctures, dabs, edibles and others rely on cannabis extraction in one form or another. To create a reputable extraction business capable of producing quality extract products, premier cannabis extraction equipment is mandatory from plant to formulation.

The fact of the matter is that extraction does not start and end simply with the extraction process itself. Steps prior and after extraction are just as critical to ensure that the products made are of the highest quality in both safety and potency. In this article, we explain cannabis extraction in detail – including cannabis extraction equipment from grinding to isolation and every step in between.

A Guide to Cannabis Extraction Equipment and Machines

Each step of the extraction process Рbefore, during and after Рis crucial to create quality cannabis extracts. Using extraktLAB equipment as our example, let’s take a look through the basic cannabis extraction equipment and machines needed for any successful extraction operation:


From receiving biomass all the way down to product formulation, some method of quality management tracking is necessary. igwLAB is a GMP-compliant, specialized manufacturing execution and quality tracking system (MES) built specifically for the cannabis industry. The igwLAB provides information to help manufacturing decision makers understand how current conditions on the plant floor can be optimized to improve production output. igwLAB software was designed to help extraction facility operations manage material and information flow.


The ShuckNBuck is a hemp bucking machine that is capable of stripping hemp flower from stalk and grind to a desirable extraction consistency. The ShuckNbuck in particular is capable of processing over 1 acre of dry industrial hemp in about three hours, the bucking machine creates processor-ready ground material.


extraktLAB’s line of supercritical CO2 extractors are the most advanced, efficient, and powerful extractors in the hemp, cannabis and botanical extraction industry today. With a throughput capacity from 79 to 844 pounds per day depending on the extractor model, the E-110, E-140, and E-180 extractors are powerful, efficient, and practical systems for producers who want the highest possible quality and productivity. These extractors are designed to provide the highest throughput yield in the shortest period of time while satisfying the traceability requirements for GMP compliance. extraktLAB’s supercritical CO2 extractor series are of the highest quality and productivity built with safety, efficiency and overall quality in the extraction industry today.


Similar to B√ľchner funnels, DrainDroyd‚Äôs vacuum filtration system is designed to separate fats, waxes and other solids from hemp or cannabis extracts. This is done by pouring a winterized ethanol/crude oil mixture through a filter paper that captures the remaining solids while the desired liquid is pulled through via vacuum into a collection vessel or flask.


advance extraction guide download


The fracTron is a falling film evaporator, or thin film evaporator that functions as a solvent recycling system. Also known as an FFE, the equipment features three liquid solvent evaporators. The evaporators feature vertical tube heat exchangers that have been optimized for ethanol removal. The system also incorporates a packed bed reactor for high evaporation performance and integrated decarboxylation. In addition to solvent recycling, the equipment has been designed to enable fractional solvent distillation. It can support three independent fractional separations with independent transfer of distillate from stage to stage using pumps. Each evaporator system is independently temperature controlled so it can be tuned to distill different liquid solvent. An inert carrier gas is incorporated to accelerate recovery while reducing flammability concerns. Programmable methods enable automated GMP process control with reporting, and GMP certified stainless-steel materials support global market requirements.


The clearSTILL is a dual-stage wiped film evaporator that doubles throughput and labor efficiency over any single stage equipment using continuous, two-pass distillation technology in a single contained cycle. Used for heat sensitive or highly viscous fluids, engineered wipers create a thin film on the evaporator surface that enables thin film evaporation and short path condensation.


extraktLAB’s pure99 chromatography system is an automated, high-pressure liquid chromatography machine for the separation and purification of botanicals and active pharmaceutical ingredients. The THC remediation machine is used to separate THC from CBD and the complex botanical matrix.

cannabis extract on container

Cannabis Extraction: The Process and Methods

The Science Behind Supercritical CO2 Extractors

Supercritical CO2 extractors use carbon dioxide (CO2) at an elevated temperature and pressure to extract soluble compounds from natural products. Carbon dioxide above the critical temperature (31¬ļC) and pressure (1071 psi) becomes a supercritical fluid, which has an increased capacity for diffusion of molecules and solubilizing non-polar compounds. Raising the temperature and pressure of the liquid CO2 even further provides highly efficient extractions of oils in a short period of time.

The (ScCO2) extraction has become the preferred method for extracting THC and CBD oils to serve markets with the most demanding standards for safety, quality, purity and consistency. It is also preferred by consumers for the same reasons, and progressive brands are boldly stating ‚ÄúScCO2 extraction‚ÄĚ on package labels.

How to use Cannabis Extraction Machines

How often do you need to do maintenance on the co2 extractor machines?

Maintenance on the machines can be conducted by either our trained staff or we can train your staff to do the maintenance. We provide maintenance procedures and parts list with every CO2 extractor and also conduct on-site training so that the operator can do the maintenance as required. Check out our THC extraction machine guides and related information.

All of our equipment including the wiped film evaporator, the falling film evaporator, and the CO2 extractor all come standard with a maintenance reminder built right into the software.The user is able to set a maintenance interval for every maintenance item, and an alarm will alert the user when maintenance is due.

hemp production

Solvent Methods for Extraction Equipment

Again, the purpose of cannabis extraction remains the same no matter the methods or equipment used. That being said, different methods tend to yield different results in the quality and efficiency of an overall extraction. While we have highlighted supercritical CO2 extraction, it is also important to examine other methods and extraction solvents in the cannabis extraction industry.


Ethanol truly is an effective method of cannabis extraction. However, there are some issues in this industry that may be cause for concern. Organic solvents like food grade ethanol are used frequently in consumable products – vanilla or other food extracts for example. But doing this on a large scale in the hemp or cannabis industry is incredibly expensive.

Thus, manufacturers commonly turn into denatured ethanol methods which include chemical denaturants used to discourage recreational ingestion and prevent alcohol taxation. Although denatured ethanol is created to prevent human consumption, it is still commonly utilized in hemp and cannabis extraction.


Extraction utilizing hydrocarbon solvent techniques with solvents like butane or propane is effective, but not entirely safe – mostly for the extractors themselves. Common solvents in this class like hexane, propane and butane – these are flammable and cannot be regarded as organic solvents. This increases chances for fire hazards.

For consumers it is not ensured that each PPM of the solvent will be removed from a consumable even via a comprehensive distillation process. Though the remaining solvents are minimal, little research was conducted that daily use of hydrocarbon products is entirely safe.


Incredibly effective in supercritical and subcritical extraction settings, CO2 is the safest, and most efficient extraction system with the lowest long-term prices for manufacturing. In its supercritical state, CO2 is converted to a liquid. It’s important that the CO2 is a liquid so as to combine with all the raw materials in order to strip the desirable compounds during CO2 extraction.

While ethanol and butane aren’t organic solvents, liquid CO2 is organic which additionally allows for getting organic certification and reduces emissions that are harmful to the environment. There are no chemical denaturants or residuals left at a CO2 extraction process which makes it safe for routine consumption without any issue for concern.

Where to Get Cannabis Extraction Equipment

The Most Efficient CO2 Extraction Machine For Sale
When it comes to profitability, extraktLAB creates the most advanced and efficient CO2 extractors for sale on the hemp and cannabis market.

As an example, extraktLAB’s most popular CO2 extraction machine for sale, the E-140, is capable of an impressive 422 lbs/day processing throughput all while occupying just 24 sq ft in total.

Depending on the facility in which you are operating, you can easily scale up with the E-180, with a staggering 844 lbs/day throughput in just 48 sq ft, or start small with the E-110 at 79 lbs/day in 24 sq ft.

Every CO2 extraction machine for sale from extraktLAB is built with automated process control, programmable methods, automated extraction cycles, maintenance tracking and data reporting to streamline production in a concise, powerful, intuitive extractor.

Each of these machines are built with GMP compliance in mind using FDA approved materials, batch, operator and parameter tracking and internal certifications all housed in FDA approved ASME 304 and 316 structural grade stainless steel.

Supercritical CO2 Machine Product Tour

Get access to extraktLAB’s line of supercritical CO2 extractors which considered as the  highest in quality, efficiency and GMP compliance in the hemp and cannabis extraction industry.

Final Thoughts

If you are interested in taking your cannabis extraction to the next level, we’re here to help. Reach out to us at 651-600-0036 to speak with an extraction expert to discuss your current operations, bottlenecks, overall goals and how we can help you to reach them. We are in the business of making your extraction operations the best they can possibly be Рcall today if you are ready to step up your cannabis extraction business to a whole new level.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you make CBD oil from leaves?

Although the vast majority of cannabinoids, including CBD, are located in the hemp plant’s flowers or buds, there may be 1% Р5% content within the leaves. Although the use of hemp extraction equipment is possible, the most efficient method would be infusion. Infusion is achieved by adding the plant leaves into a pot or vessel of oil (MCT, coconut oil, grapeseed oil, etc), apply medium heat for 4 four hours then strain out the plant material. The remaining oil will now contain CBD.

How do you make CBD isolate at home?

CBD isolation is the process required to make CBD isolate. This process includes the use of ethanol, butane, or CO2. Once the hemp biomass is in the extraction column it will combine with the desired solvent. After some time, it separates terpenes, fats, and waxes and provides the purest form of CBD.

The process of creating CBD Isolate requires pure, organic solvents and the ability to safely remove/recover said solvents. CBD Oil is blended with an organic solvent, then the mixture’s temperature is slowly reduced to cryogenic temperatures, forcing the CBD isolate/separate and create a crystalline like substance.

How do you extract THC from trim?

Plant cannabinoid content is determined by the variety or strain chosen. Some strains are designed to create high CBD content and some are designed to create high THC content. THC can be extracted with the same methods used to extract CBD: Supercritical CO2, Butane/Propane, Ethanol and water.

How to extract cannabinoid oil from fresh trim?

The best practice to extract cannabinoid oil from fresh trim is by supercritical CO2 extraction. There are other extraction methods, such as butane/propane extraction and, ethanol extraction. Each method varies in simplicity, scalability, and purity. Supercritical CO2 extraction is the safest, cleanest, lowest operations cost, and most environmentally sustainable method of extraction.

How much CBD is in hemp?

Cannabinoids, like CBD, are stored in the small resin glands on the surface of the hemp flower, these are called trichomes. Trichomes are mainly found on the flower or bud of the hemp plant and very rarely on the leaves. Current genetics allow for hemp flowers to contain 10%-25% CBD content.

Is hemp oil the same as CBD oil?

No. CBD oil is extracted from the flowers and leaves of the hemp plant and features a high amount of CBD. On the other hand, hemp oil is extracted from hemp seeds and does not contain CBD.

How do you extract CBD from stems?

Note: This process is something a DIY person might do, but a larger company wouldn’t do this as it would be a waste of time and money.

Although the vast majority of cannabinoids, including CBD, are located in the hemp plant’s flowers or buds, there may be 1% Р3% content within the stem/stalk. Although the use of hemp extraction equipment is possible, the most efficient method would be infusion. Infusion is achieved by adding the plant stems into a pot or vessel of oil (MCT, coconut oil, grapeseed oil, etc.), apply medium heat for 4 four hours then strain out the plant material. The remaining oil will now contain CBD.

What part of the plant is used for CBD oil?

Cannabinoids, like CBD, are stored in the small resin glands on the surface of the hemp flower, these are called trichomes. Trichomes are located predominantly on the hemp flower or bud, with minimal trichomes and CBD located on the leaves and/or stems. Typically, hemp extraction equipment is used to extract CBD from the hemp flowers and buds; Flower and bud trimmings are also used.

Do you offer support?

Yes. Our team of cultivation professionals are always here to make sure your cultivation systems are running at peak performance. As an additional service we can also help monitor your facility and work with your cultivation team to ensure total optimization.

Why use extraktLAB for grow equipment and support?

Over 30 years of combined cultivation experience, including experience in highly regulated medical markets. We have the knowledge and real world experience to help you become successful in commercial cannabinoid production.

What is my potential yield?

2-3 pounds per light (4×4). This is depending on strain, skill, and other variables.

Why should I automate?

Automation relieves much of the labor necessary to ensure your plants are growing to their fullest potential. While you still need to monitor your plants, you will no longer need to balance pH, measure nutrients, remember strain recipes, control the atmosphere, and many other duties that are crucial for maximum growth potential.

Why Should I Use Aeroponics?

We choose to utilize aeroponics because it is the most efficient way to grow plants. It reduces the amount of nutrients needed for optimal plant growth. Because of the precise nutrient delivery coupled with constant watering and drying of the roots, this allows the plants to grow faster, healthier, and thicker than traditional methods like rockwool, coco, or other hydroponic methods. By eliminating growing media from the equation, you are able to increase your room turnaround time and bring the number of room harvest’s to 6 per year.

Does decarboxylation have to be done before extraction?

No, decarboxylation does not have to be done before extraction. The higher temperatures used during extraction can naturally decarb the biomass; however, the best time to extract terpenes is during decarboxylation using vacuum ovens.

Why should I use CO2 if I have to use ethanol for winterization?

Although you have to use ethanol for the winterization process, the amount of ethanol used is drastically lower than ethanol extraction. It also uses food grade ethanol making it much safer than denatured ethanol extraction.

Can all derivatives be made by each of the extraction methods?

No, some extraction methods are better suited for certain products. For example, hydrocarbon is a great method for making shatter, while CO2 is better for making terpene rich sauce.

Are all extraction methods safe?

When performed properly, each extraction method is relatively safe. However, there are safety concerns for each. While hydrocarbon extraction and ethanol extraction have flammability concerns, CO2 extraction operates at high pressures. Each method must be carefully executed to ensure safety.

What are derivatives

Derivatives are any product that can be created from extracted CBD and other hemp compounds.

What makes new cannabinoids a good product?

The short answer is that customers want a psychoactive cannabinoid, but don’t want to break the law. Cannabinoids like delta 8 THC offer a mildly psychoactive product that users can take without breaking federal regulations and risking prosecution.

Is isolate THC Free?

The term THC Free is not regularly used anymore by reputable companies because there are chances that there are trace quantities of THC in an isolate. A better term that is used now is THC ND or THC Non-detect because the quantity of THC is unlikely to be detectable by testing.

Which distillate product sells best on the market?

The truth is that distillate products depend on user preference. While vaporizer products may be perfect for one user, another may prefer the ease of use of gummies. Then, wholesale distillate will be best for B to B sales. It’s best to have a wide range of products to capitalize on the market.

Does solvent type matter when selling crude oil to other businesses?

For the most part, the extraction method will not make a difference in the crude you generate. The primary difference is with supercritical CO2 extraction where crude oil should be winterized. A business may desire a winterized crude oil, or may perform winterization themselves.

Can terpenes be collected without decarboxylation?

Yes, terpenes can be collected during the extraction process. However, they can be lost or degraded due to the temperatures used to perform the extraction. Decarboxylation uses a lower temperature which makes it the best time to collect terpenes without degradation.’

Is isolate organic?

Because isolate is created using a solvent like heptane for a washing medium, it can no longer be considered an organic product like full spectrum extracts. That said, it is still absolutely safe to use.

What limits the amount of THC allowed in an extract?

The 2018 Farm Bill set forth by the FDA legalized the production of hemp, but included legislation that indicated a THC level of 0.3% or more would be legally considered marijuana due to the potential psychoactive effects.

What is the benefit of having a dual stage wiped film evaporator?

A dual stage wiped film evaporator like the clearSTILL allows for a more refined distillation process without having to remove the distillate and reintroduce it for a second pass. Each pass is contained in a single cycle.

Do rotovaps and falling film evaporators have the same throughput?

No, a standard falling film evaporator can replace anywhere from 6-10 rotary evaporators in terms of solvent removal throughput

Is winterization necessary for ethanol and CO2 Extraction

No, because ethanol extraction is performed at very low temperatures, winterization is not necessary. CO2 extraction is performed at higher temperatures and thus requires winterization to properly remove fats and waxes from the final extract.

Why should I choose extraktLAB equipment?

extraktLAB’s supercritical CO2 extractors are highly efficient and increase overall extraction yield. They are also capable of decreasing your yearly operating costs and leave scale up opportunities.

If You are Based in the US and Want to Sell Hemp Products to the EU do You have to be EUGMP Certified?

Yes. While similar, your facility will need certification in both US and EUGMP standards in order to sell any hemp based products from the United States to Europe.

This can be advantageous overall when entering the markets of other countries as the standards of EUGMP are notably high. This allows for the potential access of a multinational European CBD market as opposed to a singularly American market.

Is This a Federal Law or State Law? Do States Force You To Use it?

Any manufacturer of food or active substances is required by law to adhere to GMP standards.

In the United States, GMP standards are enforced by the FDA. This can be monitored through regular facility inspections that ensure a manufacturer is complying with cGMP standards during production.

Serious violations of those standards, can result in product recall or other serious repercussions that could severely impact the manufacturer in terms of profit loss and operations.

Why do cGMP and EUGMP Regulations Matter?

From producer to customer, these GMP standards are essential to ensure quality and consumer safety. Without these standards, it would be all too easy for manufacturers to cut or compromise quality practices that are implemented for the end user to receive a good, safe product.

This applies to risk of contamination, mistakes like mislabeling, consistent product contents, etc. Not only could this lead to a product that may be unsafe, it could lead to a product that is essentially ineffective.

Unless you intend to keep your market in your own country, it is important for you to pay attention to (and abide by) both cGMP and EUGMP standards. The CBD industry is often referred to as the wild west because of its rapid legalization without the standardization to match. While that research is being conducted, producers can confidently create a product that is safe and effective for their customers by adhering to these GMP guidelines.

What Are the Differences Between EUGMP & CGMP?

Though similar, there are a few key differences between cGPM and EUGMP. In both instances, a yearly review of manufacturing practices and product quality is required.

The FDA “Annual Product Review” (APR) is implemented to evaluate the quality standards of each drug product annually and also determines the necessary changes in specifications and operating procedures.

The primary task of the EU ”Product Quality Review” (PQR), however, is to focus primarily on the overall quality and manufacturing system and to show that any manufacturer is consistent in quality control when creating their products.

What is cGMP & EUGMP?

Current Good Manufacturing Practices, or cGMP, is a set of standards defined by the FDA that are intended to ensure acceptable manufacturing processes in regulated industries like pharmaceuticals, food and supplement manufacturing.

These standards can apply to: assurance of raw material quality, testing parameters, standard operating procedures, quality management, identifying and investigating deviations, etc. All of these standards intended to mitigate potential risks of contamination, quality failure or any other impact to potential customer safety.

Essentially the same principle, EUGMP standards are set instead by the European Medicines Agency intended to ensure quality and safety of products in the food and pharmaceutical industries.

Is toluene required for planar recovery?

No, carbonX does not need toluene for recovery

What pressure can carbonX handle before breaking up?

carbonX is stable at up to 5000 psi whereas GCB will break up at very low pressures

Do both GCB and carbonX have consistent pore size and structure?

No, GCB does not have a consistent pore size or structure, but carbonX does. This allows for a higher flow rate than GCB

Can I separate minor cannabinoids from major cannabinoids using the Pure99 Chromatography System?

We provide methods with the Pure99 system for THC and CBD separation.  We also produce selective materials for CBN separation from THC/CBD.    For other minor cannabinoids, the separation depends on how it will elute from the column in relation to the other major cannabinoids in the sample.   That elution time and order depends on the column separation material known as the stationary phase, and the eluent, also known as the mobile phase.   Scientists who are experts at finding unique conditions that will meet the goals of the separation are called chromatographers and they do methods development to find a suitable method.

What is the throughput of the Pure99?

Chromatography throughput for the specific example of the remediation of 1-3% THC in concentrated CBD can range from 1 kg to 6 kg per hour.¬† Similar to distillation where the throughput will depend on the purity of the sample and how aggressive the cut is made,¬† the throughput of a chromatography system is a trade off between purity of the final product¬† and how aggressive the “cut” is made.¬† It really depends on you.¬† The general rule of thumb is that the sample will be more pure as the throughput decreases.

Does hemp biomass need to cure before extraction?

No, the material does not need to cure. Our methods complete the final drying step in a vacuum oven to bring the water content down from 10% to the 1% – 1.5% range for efficient CO2 extraction.

Can the drying process be accelerated using higher temps/lower humidity?

There are several drying methods used by growers to accelerate drying, but this is outside our scope of solutions. We recommend researching the agricultural methods to find what works best for you.

What are the typical conditions to dry hemp for extraction?

Harvest drying methods are outside the scope of our solutions; however, you want to dry the biomass to roughly 10% water content for quality storage to prevent mold or mildew.

When producing CBD from hemp, which part of the plant is typically used?

Typically flowers and leaves – no stems or stalks. Some producers will sort out the flowers and process them separately, but most processing includes the leaves and flowers.

Do you provide training?

Yes we will provide the methods and training with the Isolate Lab purchase.

How many employees would you suggest and what kind of knowledge do they need for this lab?

1 employee unless you are on a very large scale. They will need experience in the industry as the isolation process is a lab setup that requires following multiple steps with some complicated lab equipment

Can we separate CBG, CBN, other cannabinoids with this lab setup?

As of right now we only provide methods for CBD Isolation

What room rating is necessary for an Isolate Lab?

Must be in a separate enclosed properly ventilated room

What’s the potency of CBD Isolate?


What’s the difference between Isolate and Broad Spectrum Distillate?

– BSD: THC Non-Detect Oil

– Isolate: THC Free CBD Crystal Isolate Powder


What are the benefits of isolate?

Because isolate is pure CBD, it is the most potent form of CBD product on the market. This also means that there are no detectable levels of delta 9 in the final product which may be the best option for some consumers. Isolate is also incredibly versatile and can be used in a variety of products and is easy to control dosage.

What are the steps to make CBD isolate?

In order from start to finish, the steps to make CBD isolate are: Extraction, winterization, distillation, isolation, filtration, washing, drying. After this point, the isolate can be sold wholesale as is, or formulated into a number of various products.

How is isolate used?

Because CBD isolate has already been decarboxylated and is in a powder form, it can be used in a variety of ways. It can be reformulated into an oil, added to drinks and foods, or taken directly as it is making it a very versatile CBD extract.

What is CBD Isolate?

CBD isolate is pure CBD removed from other cannabinoids, terpenes or other plant compounds. Isolate is typically a crystalline white powder created from distillate via the isolation process that remediates all other compounds leaving a pure CBD derivative.

How long is the post contract lead time for installation, setup and training?

Our lead time for the Lab is 5 Weeks. After signature, we will need this time to put the package together. We cater these contracts specifically to our customers and until we have a signature and finalization we do not start on putting the package together due to how often we are changing our contracts. The sooner the signature and finalization, the sooner we can get everything out to you.

You advise to test all raw material and to test after each stage of production. Can you clarify what tests can be performed in house and what needs to be sent out?

Yes, you need to do testing on your product frequently. There are many factors that dictate how frequently testing is required. For example, we recommend testing a batch every 10 kilos made to ensure consistent IF that product is from the same crop. If it is from different crops, this will likely increase the amount of testing you will need to ensure consistency. This kind of testing is performed in house to measure purity and potency so that production can continue. Third-Party testing is necessary for approval of a final product.

The package states we must provide adequate ventilation. Can you please clarify this? Are we going to need a ventilation system with exhaust motors and air filters and scrubbers?

No, you will not need a ventilation system with exhaust motors. Adequate ventilation here means if you are in an enclosed room that you have some sort of venting/fan to circulate and not trap everything in that enclosed room.

How much helium use can we anticipate if we are operating at 300 Liters of production per week?

You will spend roughly $150/Week for industrial grade helium at a production rate of 300L per week.

Is equipment maintenance something we can perform, or do your techs provide maintenance as part of the package and contract?

The equipment that comes with the Delta 8 Conversion Package does not require consistent maintenance. This equipment requires cleaning regularly after use and between batches. This knowledge and training is part of the package that we will share with you during setup.

Do we have the ability to adjust the frequency of the chemical shipping schedule?


After the initial set up and installation, what does extraktLAB support consist of?

There will be tech support/help available to you at no cost whenever you need it! Additional fees are associated with further on-site support.

Will extraktLAB identify and ensure that we will meet all federal, state, and local requirements and regulations for this lab and production?

As part of the consulting and set up commitment extraktLAB can help to maintain GMP Compliances, State Regulations or other URS that you are looking for.

What is the cost of raw materials to convert 1kg of isolate to delta 8?

It will cost $125 US in reagents per Kg of Iso converted.

Do I need to lab test after every liter created to make sure it is good?

Not every liter but you will want to test every batch.

Will the equipment that is included create a final sellable product at the end?

Yes, Delta 8 is ready to go as an oil ingredient product with this lab setup.

Is there more work required after isolate is converted?

Once it is converted you will still need to remove the solvent using a RotoVap or some sort of Falling Film Evaporator. (This does not change the yields)

Do you provide SOPs for the Chromatography equipment?

Yes. We provide Standard operating procedures for analytical hplc, preparative hplc, GC headspace, and for sample preparation. We also provide start up kits for each one of these pieces of equipment along with sample management software called the igwLAB

Are the Chromatography Methods Validated for Cannabinoid Separation?

The customer validates the methods according to their company’s validation protocol. Chromatography and cleaning validation protocol for analytical methods are significantly different than production validation protocol and also very significantly from customer to customer.

Do Methods Come with the Pure99?

Yes. We provide the methods for separation of THC and CBD. If the customer desires to separate out other cannabinoids, they are welcome to develop their own methods.

What other Equipment is Required for the Pure99 to Function?

Other equipment and infrastructure besides the Pure99 is required to enable the proper functioning of a separations facility. These items include equipment that is either to measure how the method is doing overtime, equipment that is needed to measure how
HPLC with methods
fracTRON to remove solvents
Headspace GC with methods
Chillers and Heaters
Stainless or Glass Mixing Tanks
Drain Droid filtration
C1D2 Compliant Room
Solvent Storage Control Area

Is Cannabinoid Separation and Chromatography Training Included?

All of our chromatography products come with 2 days of training with optional on-site training at our demo facility in Osceola Wisconsin. Cannabinoid separation methods are also provided. Additional training for HPLC and for headspace GC is typically conducted at our facility in Osceola Wisconsin. On-site training for these items may be purchased by the customer.

Does distillation replace chromatography?

Chromatography and distillation are not analogous. Chromatography utilizes differences in chemical affinity to separate a mixture of components, distillation utilizes differences in boiling points. Wiped film distillation does not separate THC and CBD despite their differences in boiling points. Chromatography will separate THC and CBD into their pure fractions.

What are the alternatives to using a microbulk system?

Gas cylinders may be used in lieu of a micro bulk system. If liquid CO2 is required, then the cylinders must be installed with a siphon tube. The cylinders should be clearly marked as having a siphon tube or be color coded as such. You can tell if the Co2 tank has a dip tube by the dark color of the collar on top of the tank.o2

What method do I use to fill the CO2 system?

AIGA method 069 filling method is used to fill the microbulk system.

Can I store the microbulk CO2 system Outdoors?

The microbulk system is only rated for indoor use.

What are the certifications for the control panel and the cryogenic tanks and the gas cylinders?

The gas cylinders are DOT and approved and available to be shipped to Canada and the United States. The electrical control panel is UL listed and is compliant with UL508a.

How many pounds of CO2 can I store in the microbulk system?

The system is capable of storing okay 1600 lbs of liquid CO2.

What electrical installation is required for the microbulk system?

The system requires 24 full load amps at 208 volts, 3 phase, 60 hertz. A earth ground is required for installation.

Can I use the micro bulk CO2 tank as a source for dry ice?

Yes.The microbulk tank is an excellent source for dry ice and liquid CO2. It can be used for many different applications including CO2 blasting, CO2 extraction, and also in brewing & beverage processes.
When using the microphone look CO2 tank as a source for dry eyes, it is important that the user is trained and is properly grounded.

What is the difference between a micro bulk CO2 tank and a bulk CO2 tank?

A CO2 bulk tank typically feeds a microbulk Co2 tank. Bulk CO2 tanks can range from 3 to 50 tons. Both tanks are typically also cryogenic tanks that are designed to keep the cryogenic fluid cold so that it does not vent off and waste the cryogenic liquid. In contrast, a micro bulk CO2 tank will typically range from a half a ton to a ton and are typically not refrigerated. Micro bulk tanks are typically filled periodically by beverage CO2 Supply trucks or they can be installed in a CO2 system that is supplied from a bulk tank.

How does the microbulk system maintain the temperature and pressure of CO2 delivered?

Our systems have incorporated a proprietary heating element that enables a very consistent pressure and temperature of the CO2. The pressure of CO2 coming off a bulk CO2 tank is around 300 PSI. This is due to the fact that both tanks are typically refrigerated and they are kept at that temperature so that they remain as a liquid. As the liquid heats up, the pressure will also increase. Room temperature CO2 is typically 800 to 900 PSI.

What are the requirements for the installation of CO2 supply in a room?

The Compressed Gas Association of America has promulgated rules for the installation of CO2 systems in indoor facilities. They suggest that a minimum of 1 CFM per square foot exhaust venting is required for venting in the event of a leak. Second they require a CO2 monitoring system that will alert users to a leak or potentially harmful condition.

If there is a leak is the CO2 tank vented?

In the event of a CO2 leak, the built in CO2 monitoring system alerts the user to a lie condition. The monitor then directs a fan to vent the micro bulk tank so that no CO2 can escape into the outside room. This enables a high degree of safety for your employees.

How to fill the CO2 microbulk cage?

The CO2 micro bulk tank is filled with a CO2 pump. The CO2 pump pumps liquid CO2 from a supply truck or a bulk tank to the micro bulk system. The CO2 pump connects directly to the CO2 microbulk tank and is automatically controlled from the control panel on the front of the microbulk system.

How much CO2 do I need to use per month for a microbulk system to make sense?

If you use more than 10 gas cylinders of CO2 per month, a microbulk cryogenic tank system might be very advantageous for you. System can be filled from a beverage Co2 supply truck. An email can be sent to the supplier to alert them when you have either high usage or are running out of CO2.

How much more ethanol solvent is needed for ethanol extraction vs. CO2 extraction?

Approximately 29 times more volume of alcohol is required for ethanol extraction vs. CO2 extraction. For example if you were to process 1 ton of hemp per day, you would need to have 18700 L of ethanol, which is a single day’s solvent inventory on hand.

In contrast, for CO2 extraction, you will optionally need ethanol for dewaxing and winterization. If you were to process the same one ton per day of hemp, you would need approximately 636 L of ethanol to do the winterization properly. That is also a single days solvent inventory on hand.

At 5 to 10% loss of ethanol, you can see that the extraction is extremely costly compared to CO2 and is essentially negligible for extracting one ton per day.

Can ethanol become contaminated during ethanol extraction?

Yes, ethanol can become contaminated during ethanol extraction. It is important that you address the contamination with testing and reuse protocols. guidance for solvent reviews have been published by the FDA in 2010. Please refer to the many articles in this blog for more information on cross-contamination with extraction.

What is the solvent loss for ethanol extraction?

Hemp and cannabis biomass is an extremely absorbent material.  As a consequence, a large amount of solvent volume must be added to the biomass to first solvate the biomass and then fluidize it. For ethanol extraction, approximately one gallon of ethanol is required to extract 1 lb of hemp. Solvent loss comes from the incomplete recovery of that solvent from the hemp.

The following table details the estimated solvent loss from ethanol extraction as a function of volume of hemp processed:

Lbs processed per day Daily requirement of 

ethanol  (gallons)

Daily Loss of ethanol (gallons) at 90% recovery of ethanol Max Cost of Solvent Loss per day:

$16-30/gal food grade ethanol

$6-8/ gal denatured

Calculated at $30/gal

500 500-1500 50-150  $1,500-45,000
1000 1000-3000 100-300 $3,000-9,000
2000 2000-6000 200-600 $6000-18,000
10000 10000-30000 1000-3000 $30,000-90,000


 Another source of solvent loss is incomplete recovery of solvent from the CBD hemp oil. 

What is the electrical cost of ethanol extraction vs. CO2 extraction?

Processing a ton of hemp per day into extracts  can be an energy-intensive process depending on how the hemp is extracted. The following table compares the energy expense for ethanol extraction versus the energy expense for CO2 extraction:

Energy cost for Ethanol Extraction for 1 ton per day at 1 gallon ethanol per 1 lb of hemp
18711 litres to cool from 25 to -20
16840 litres to heat and evaporate after ethanol loss
454 kwhr to Cool from 25 to -20
481 kwhr to heat to boiling point
3105 kwhr to evaporate
4040 kwhr total @ 100% Efficiency
75% Efficiency
5387 kwhr Total
$           0.09 per kwhr
$          506.36 per day


Energy cost for CO2 Extraction at 1 ton per day including winterization
636 litres to cool from 25 to -20
636 litres to heat and evaporate after ethanol loss
15 kwhr to Cool from 25 to -20
18 kwhr to heat to boiling point
117 kwhr to evaporate
151 kwhr total @ 100% Efficiency
75% Efficiency
201 kwhr Total
$           0.09 per kwhr
$        18.92 per day for winterization
43.20 Kwhr per day for CO2 extractors
$         3.88 Per day for CO2 extractors

How many times can I recycle CO2?

extraktlab CO2 extractors  continuously add clean CO2 to the process at the beginning of each run. Approximately half of the CO2 is recycled into the next run and half of the CO2 is fresh CO2. This means that  the entire amount of CO2 is continuously  replaced approximately every two runs. 

Some CO2 extraction equipment recycles  nearly 100% of the CO2. We do not recommend  this approach for the following reasons:

  1.  Recycling cylinders are typically designed with a single small Inlet and a single small Outlet. This design is typically driven by cost considerations and renders the recycling cylinder impossible to clean.  By extension, CO2 expansion tanks that are often installed before the pump become a dead volume that is not swept.  We do not deploy these on our pumping systems for the same reasons. 
  2. When recycling Co2 via a compressor, Terpenes and other contaminants become entrained in the recycling system. These compounds degrade over time and are then introduced to the fresh hemp being extracted. For this reason, we do not recycle 100% of the CO2 using compressive technology.
  3. Large energy-intensive compressors are required for recycling.  

Even though extraktlab  CO2 extraction equipment does not recycle 100% of the CO2, we do have a CO2 recycler on the system so that CO2 can be recycled during a single run.   that recycler is designed for maximum cleanability.  both the inlet and the outlet to the recycler cylinder is a large enough diameter to reach your entire arm into the cylinder. It can be cleaned because all of the surfaces are accessible.

 Extraktlab does not use energy-intensive compressors to recycle 100% of the CO2. The reason for this is cross contamination avoidance and the fact that CO2 is extremely inexpensive.

How many times can I recycle or reuse ethanol from an ethanol extractor?

In guidance published by the FDA in 2010,  plans for the reuse of solvents  must be accompanied by a  Declaration of the maximum number of times the solvent can be reused. 

 the FDA has recognized that contaminants buildup in the solvent over time as they are  recovered and reused  

As a consequence, the FDA guidelines recommend that the solvents be brought back to a suitable state before Reuse. A suitable reuse is defined by  the original specifications for the solvent that is being used.  

 In keeping with a risk-based approach to process validation, the key risk to address with solvent reuse is cross-contamination. Cross-contamination could happen when a  solvent dissolves a low level contaminant  from the biomass being extracted. As the solvent is removed, the contaminant can become magnified and concentrated in either the oil or the solvent during solvent recovery. Cross contamination then occurs when a contaminated solvent is used to extract a non contaminated batch.

Contaminants are typically identified during incoming inspection  but may show up  later during processing  as the oil becomes more refined. Hemp is typically sampled at receiving by quality assurance and a series of tests are conducted on the Hemp biomass in order to determine if the incoming material  is contaminated with pesticides, solvents, heavy metals or if it has significant microbial content. Contaminants that are identified in the quality inspection should be tested for build up in the extraction solvent during validation.

Other sources for contamination include carbon black or activated carbon that is typically used in ethanol extraction to remove chlorophyll from the ethanol. Combustion byproducts that are incorporated into the structure of carbon black can dissolve in the ethanol  and contaminate.

According to FDA guidelines, the number of times ethanol solvent can be reused must be validated according to a validation protocol. Once the method and process has been validated, the requirements for testing each reuse batch  may not be required depending on the risks identified during the validation study.

¬†As a general rule of thumb, a solvent may be reused successfully 20-50 times. Whatever your company’s current practice is, it is important to define the process, validate the process, establish specifications for reuse, and also set up a testing program to measure for contaminants. In all likelihood, a solvent changeover is probably in your future¬† and it’s cost should not be neglected in your overall operating cost model. It is easy to estimate the cost of solving change over as it is the same as the start-up cost:

Lbs processed per day Daily requirement of 

ethanol  (gallons)

Cost per gallon:

$16-30/gal food grade

$6-8/ gal denatured

Calculated at $30/gal

500 500-1500 $15,000-45,000
1000 1000-3000 $30,000-90,000
2000 2000-6000 $60,000-180,000
10000 10000-30000 $300,000-900,000


 The solvent changeover cost on a 60 day change over cycle can then be estimated on a per year basis according to the following table:

Lbs processed per day Change Over Frequency Cost of Changeover Max Annual Cost 
500 60 days $15,000-45,000 $270,000
1000 60 days $30,000-90,000 $540,000
2000 60 days $60,000-180,000 $1,080,000
10000 60 days $300,000-900,000 $5,400,000


By extension, the solvent testing costs will also be important to address:

Lbs processed per day Change Over Frequency Cost of Testing

(pesticides, solvents), 

Unknowns testing can be 5-10k USD per unknown.

Max Annual Cost 
500 60 days $200-400 $2400
1000 60 days $200-400 $2400
2000 60 days $200-400 $2400
10000 60 days $200-400 $2400


 It is important to insist that unknowns be flagged by your laboratory. 

What is the minimum biomass input for the smallest CO2 extractor?

ExtraktLAB’s smallest supercritical CO2 extractor will receive approximately 1 kg. That kilogram can be run in 1 hour. Our largest CO2 extraction systems will process up to 5 tons per day.

How much ethanol is required to start up ethanol extraction vs CO2 for CO2 extraction?

The amount of ethanol required for ethanol extraction per lb of hemp is 0.75-1.5 gallons per lb with an average value of 1 gallon per lb of hemp. Typically, one – three days worth of ethanol is required to have on hand in order to allow for efficient processing. The following table will help you plan for the amount of ethanol you will need in your ethanol extraction facility.

Lbs processed per day Daily requirement of 

ethanol  (gallons)

Cost per gallon:

$16-30/gal food grade

$6-8/ gal denatured

Calculated at $30/gal

500 500-1500 $15,000-45,000
1000 1000-3000 $30,000-90,000
2000 2000-6000 $60,000-180,000
10000 10000-30000 $300,000-900,000


Please feel free to make adjustments to the estimates and numbers based on actual costs, purchasing volume and daily inventory averages. 

In contrast,  a CO2 extraction machine  will only require a small amount of CO2 to process the same amount of hemp and the cost of that CO2 is radically less than the cost of ethanol. 

Lbs processed per day Daily requirement of 

CO2 (gallons@5000 psi, lbs)

Cost per lb:

In bulk, $0.04/lb

In microbulk: $0.07/lb

In cylinder, $0.12/lb

500 568 $22-68
1000 1163 $45-136
2000 2272 $91  
10000 11363 $454  


What are the key differences between CO2 and Ethanol extraction?

The primary difference between CO2 and ethanol extraction is the cost of the extraction. CO2 has a much lower cost to produce a kilogram of extract compared to ethanol.  This stems largely from the following facts:

  1.  Food grade ethanol @ $30/gallon is 107x more costly than CO2.  
  2. The amount of ethanol required per lb of hemp is 0.75-1.5 gallons per lb.  
  3. Loss of ethanol from the extraction of hemp is 5-15% with typical loss of 7-10% which leads to very high operating costs.

For  example:

  1. 500 lbs of hemp extracted will require 500 gallons of ethanol.  At 10% loss, 50 gallons will not be recovered costing $1500 for food grade ethanol at $30/gallon. Prices for ethanol fluctuate and denatured ethanol can greatly reduce this solvent loss cost with the tradeoff of increased risk for chemical residual contamination.
  2. Co2 losses for the same amount of hemp material would be about $16. 

 CO2 equipment typically costs higher than ethanol equipment  but the facilities have much less requirements and therefore are less expensive compared to ethanol extraction equipment. In terms of throughput, both systems can be configured to be on par so there really is not an advantage in throughput  between the extraction methods.

What is supercritical CO2 extraction?

Supercritical CO2 extraction is used in hemp processing in hemp extraction for extracting CBD oil from hemp biomass. You can also be used to extract any Botanical oil from any plant material.

The co2 extraction typically takes place above the supercritical pressure and temperature for CO2. Is 1,070 PSI and 31 degrees Celsius.

Under supercritical conditions, the CO2 behaves much like hexane in terms of its solubility selectivity.

Would you recommend ethanol extracted oils for Vape products?

Due to the risk of chemical contaminants that are found in 25 to 30% of  ethanol extracted oils, we recommend that CO2 oils be used for Vapor Products.

Is it possible to make a solventless extract with CO2?

It is absolutely possible to make a solventless extract with CO2. Solventless extracts are typically made with subcritical CO2 extraction methods.

Are cannabinoids extracted by ethanol easier to purify than when they are extracted with CO2?

Cannabinoids extracted with ethanol are not necessarily easier to purify compared with CO2 extracted cannabinoids. There really is no difference.

An ethanol producer might suggest that they are skipping the winterization process that would be required for example with a CO2 extraction. However, it is important to note that they are not necessarily skipping it but they are making it a part of the process.

There are several disadvantages to a completely integrated process. Specifically, the facts and waxes that you get out of the winterization process are valuable for many different products. Second, when the process is completely integrated, from extraction to winterized oil, the terpene profile is greatly altered and sometimes unrecoverable.

Does ethanol extraction have a greater throughput than CO2 extraction?

Hemp processing equipment can be scaled for 1 to 5 tons of extracted hemp per day. It’s generally not a fair comparison to compare the throughput on an instrument from two different companies. What is fair is to specify the throughput At the tonnage process per day and then look at the operating cost for that process. You can also look at the equipment and Facilities cost to accommodate that level of Production. after you have all of your costs accounted for including the hidden costs, then you can calculate the net present value for each investment.

What are the most common denaturants in ethanol?

Denatured ethanol is a mixture of denaturants and pure ethanol. Chemical companies add the denaturant to Pure ethanol so that they will not be consumed as a food.
Denatured recipes are published by the ttb that is administered by the National Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms. There are many different recipes. one of the most common denaturants used in ethanol extraction is heptane. However there are other substances that may be used including acetone, isopropyl alcohol, methanol and other longer chain alcohols.
Is very limited data on the safety of heptane over the long term exposure. In fact the limit that the FDA has placed on the amount of heptane in a tincture for example was established in the 1990s on the basis of a single study published in 1981. That study the effect of heptane on Sprague dawley rats. That is why there are many disclaimers and the general guidance from the FDA is to limit the amount of solvent in any drug that is consumed.

Why is grind size important for efficient extraction?

Grind size is an important consideration when conducting either CO2 extraction or ethanol extraction. Grind size may be important for different reasons however, depending on the extraction method.  Here are some key details for that are important for grind size:

  1.  The grind size is  small with CO2 extraction so that more materials can be packed into the column. A small particle size wheel packs more efficiently into the column and  thereby prevents channeling within the column.
  2. Improved mass transfer is the second reason a small grind size is desirable.The larger the particle size, the longer the cannabinoid will take to diffuse out of the particle and into the flowing stream.The smaller the particle size the better the Mass transfer will be and the shorter the time the cannabinoid will take to diffuse out of the particle.. This is true for both ethanol and CO2 extraction. One important aspect of grind size is particle size distribution. Four particles of all the same size, extraction is more uniform. or a mixture of very small particles and large particles, a small particle will be extracted before the large particles. those small particles then begin and start you over extract.

How much are terpenes worth?

Synthetic terpenes are typically sold for $10-20 per gram. Full spectrum natural terpenes sell for $20-30 per gram.

Can you give a summary of the differences between ethanol and CO2 systems in terms of the production rooms?

The volume of Storage, open use, and closed use of ethanol in a control area are limited and regulated by the type of building and the classification of the building. The international and the national fire protection Association has  Promulgated requirements for these installations.

Here are some key differences between CO2 and ethanol systems in relation to hemp production facilities:

  1.  CO2 does not have any limit on the amount of storage or closed use of Co2 in a production facility. On the other hand, ethanol has hard limits on the amount 
  2. CO2 extraction can be operated in a F2 occupancy building whereas ethanol extraction will require special occupancy and classified rooms. This is primarily due to the amount of ethanol that is used and stored in an ethanol facility.
  3. as you scale your ethanol facility, your occupancy will likely change to a hazardous location occupancy, or H2. There are no such scaling limitations with CO2.
  4. The requirements for an H2 occupancy building are quite extensive. To give you an idea, the average price to build a F2 occupancy building is about $60 per square foot as compared to over $200 per square foot to build an H2 occupancy building.
  5. Both CO2 and ethanol require sensors that will  alert users to any type of leak or emissions.  Venting is also required for both CO2 and ethanol extraction.

Doesn’t ethanol extraction equipment remove all the ethanol from the biomass after extraction?

No. Approximately 5 to 10% of the ethanol is left in the biomass and is counted as a solvent loss. These solvent losses add up to operating costs. This is especially true if organic ethanol is used or food grade ethanol is utilized as the extraction solvent.

If you had an ethanol extraction facility, would you ever use CO2 just for stripping terpenes?

Ethanol extraction typically destroys the terpenes when the ethanol is removed from the extract or is distilled from the winterized oil. Many ethanol extractors are seeking a way to preserve the terpene profile of the plant in the output oil. To this end people have tried techniques such as Steam distillation, CO2 stripping, and vacuum distillation.
Certainly, CO2 can be used to strip terpenes from Hemp biomass Prior to ethanol extraction. However, vacuum distillation is by far the most gentle and effective way to harvest the terpene profile prior to ethanol extraction.

What extraction method is best for making tinctures?

When considering the best extraction method for making tinctures, it is important to Define the product first. Are some questions that will help you define your product:

  1. Is your product going to be THC non detect? You will be using cbd isolate  for this product.
  2.  is your product going to be full spectrum including thc? You will be using CBD distillate  for this product.
  3.  Is your product going to be  broad spectrum excluding THC?  You will be using CBD broad spectrum  for this.
  4.  Do you have a desired flavor profile? Hopefully you will be using natural terpenes rather than synthetic terpenes.
  5. What are your taste and texture goals for the CBD tincture? Hopefully you will have a great tasting tincture that has desirable texture  Free from solids of biomass.

Here are some things to keep in mind if you are an ethanol extractor.

  1. ¬†In ethanol extraction, removal of the ethanol is a process that requires a significant amount of heat over a long period of time.¬† This heat exposure will degrade the terpenes significantly. Many of the terpenes during this process¬† Are co-distilled¬† or are destroyed in the process. The oil from this process is typically dark black and does not taste very good. The aroma profile is also not very desirable due to the breakdown of the terpene profile.¬† The use of a crude extract for the tincture it’s not desirable because it doesn’t taste very good, doesn’t smell very good, and it also may contain too much THC.
  2.  Once the ethanol has been removed from the ethanol extract,  the oil typically is introduced to a distillation process which removes the remaining terpenes. If your intent is to use distillate for your tincture, then you will have to find a way to add some terpenes to that tincture. The only resort is to purchase synthetic terpenes. you will also need to figure out how to reduce the amount of THC.  
  3. One other thing that needs to be considered is that if you do not distill the ethanol extract, it is very likely that you will have a significant amount of chemical contaminants in your extract. This is especially true if you are using denatured ethanol for your extraction process.
  4.  Process of distillation does not necessarily remove all of the denaturing from the extract. It may remove the vast majority of the solvent contaminant but there are always Trace residuals remaining in the distillate.
  5. It is always desirable to start with organic hemp  biomass so  There is little risk of those contaminants making their way into the tincture.

In contrast, extraction using CO2 is far superior in terms of terpene profile preservation. Here are some things to keep in mind.

  1.  If you use the extraktlab process,  you will start by harvesting the terpenes before extraction of CO2. This preserves many of the low boiling terpenes that are unique in significant to the strain hemp or cannabis that you are extracting.
  2.  You may also use subcritical CO2 in order to produce soupy mixtures of terpenes and cannabinoids and waxes. These terpy mixtures are typically very desirable for vapor pens but are not very desirable for the purpose of formulation. Because they have cannabinoids and waxes in them, using them as a way to introduce terpenes to a formulation is much more difficult to do  and reproduce in practice.
  3.  The extraction with Co2 also avoids the issues related to chemical contaminants that come from the use of denatured ethanol.
  4.  CO2 extraction is much less expensive to produce a kilogram of oil compared to ethanol extraction. For example, CO2 is 4 cents a pound compared to ethanol which is greater than $4 per pound. Solvent losses with ethanol extraction are a key cost contributor and drive a major increase in operating cost compared to extraction with CO2. For more information read our blog.

In summary, call CO2 extraction and ethanol extraction can produce  desirable tinctures. However, CO2 extraction has an edge over ethanol extraction due to preservation of the terpene profiles and the avoidance of risk related to chemical contaminants.  Finally, CO2 extraction is much less expensive than ethanol extraction. For those reasons CO2 is a better extraction method.

What happens to the terpene profiles in CO2 extraction vs ethanol extraction?

Terpenes are extracted by both ethanol and CO2. Here are the key differences in the terpene profiles of a CO2 extracted  oil versus ethanol extraction.

  1. Ethanol will extract most of the terpenes that are in the biomass.
  2. Ethanol will extract most all of the biomass cellular material, fats, waxes, and contaminants. 
  3.  In order to get  the ethanol out of the extract, a falling film evaporator is used.
  4. Terpenes that make up the aroma (low boiling point molecules) evaporate with the ethanol. 
  5. Terpenes that remain in the oil typically break down easily but many terpene profiles are left in the remaining oil.
  6. This oil is not potent, is pitch black, and really does not smell good. Distillation is typically required as a secondary purification step..

Why do we need CO2 when we have to use ethanol for winterization?

When CO2 is used to extract hemp biomass, Fatty acids and waxes and resins can be Co-extracted along with the cannabidiol and other cannabinoids. The amount that is extracted depends on the pressure of the CO2 extraction. In general the higher the pressure and longer the runtime, the More acids and waxes will be extracted.
Low pressure CO2 extraction methods known as subcritical CO2 extraction produce extracts that require only very little post processing. Many companies actually skip the winterization process depending on what they are using the oils for. The trade-off 4 lowering the extraction pressure two subcritical is that the Run time increases greatly. the flow rate must be increased to compensate for the lower run time. In the case of our extraction equipment, the flow rate increases as the pressure goes down so those customers Desiring to runs of critical methods are able to do so With significant efficiency.
In the case of supercritical CO2 extraction, winterization is likely going to be needed. Winterization is the process of removing fats and waxes from the hemp extract. The process involves dissolving the CBD oil coming out of the CO2 extractor in food grade ethanol and subsequently chilling the ethanol oil mixture down to minus 20 degrees Celsius. The fats and waxes are less soluble at those temperatures and they will precipitate while the cannabinoids remain in solution.
A filter is then used to filter off the fats and waxes onto a filter. The cannabinoids and CBD oils remain in solution And are introduced into a falling film evaporator.The ethanol is removed from the solution and may be reused once it has been re-conditioned and tested for reuse.
The amount of ethanol that is used in the winterization process is very small compared to the amount of ethanol that is used during an ethanol extraction. For example, one gallon of ethanol is required to fluidize one pound of hemp for ethanol extraction of hemp. 1000 lb of hemp well then by extension requires 1000 gallons of ethanol.
In contrast, 1000 lb of hemp at 10% cannabinoid will produce approximately 100 lbs of CBD oil. 100 lb of CBD oil Approximately 30 gallons Of CBD oil, so 180 gallons of ethanol is needed to winterize 30 gallons of CBD oil.

How much hemp can be processed per day with CO2 extraction?

CO2 extraction facilities have been scaled to do hundreds of tons per day of biomass extractions. These facilities are very safe compared to the equivalent extraction facilities that use Flammable solvents.
In Terms of extraction facilities for processing hemp, we have built facilities that will process 5 tons of hemp biomass per day in a safe, low cost, low energy, small footprint operation.

Has applying membrane filtration technology to remove wax and lipid matured?

After many decades of research and development, We have not yet reached the promised land of worry-free membrane filtration for complex matrices that include waxes and resins. The issue with membranes is one thing: Membrane fouling. Unlike membranes that are used for water, membranes that are exposed to waxes and other cellular debris tend to foul out. When they do foul, they often need to be cleaned, back flushed or changed out leading to a high maintenance and consumable operating cost.
Another issue with membranes is that as they foul over time, their efficiency and their selectivity changes over time. Therefore a fresh filter will not be as good as an aged filter.
It is really difficult to beat a low-cost paper filter for wax filtration. You use the paper once and when it begins to foul you change it out and throw it away. Even though you will be changing out the filter often, it will still be much less expensive than having to troubleshoot a fluidic system that includes a membrane.

What government agency regulates hemp processing facilities?

If your hemp processing facility is in the United States, each state will have their own regulations on hemp. Those regulations must comply with the federal regulations that are outlined in the 2018 Farm Bill.
Each state has their own rules as to how they regulate hemp processing facilities. Health Inspectors will typically visit your facility to determine its suitability for food processing. They will apply a federal standard to your facility and inspect your quality system to ensure safety.
If your facility is also involved in creating and marketing supplements, then you may be visited by the US FDA for 21 CFR Part 111 compliance.

How do I model and compare the financial return of ethanol extraction vs CO2 extraction?

There are many inputs that need to be defined when creating a financial model comparing two different extraction methods. The first decision to be made is to decide what the financial metric will be used to make a decision on the superiority of one method over the other. 

In this case, we recommend the use of the Net Present Value as the way to model the return of each extraction technique because it accounts for the cash flow associated with the operation. Many ethanol extraction companies try to make the argument that ethanol extraction is lower cost because the equipment cost is less. However, the equipment cost will have very little impact on the overall profitability of the operation at the same throughput.

The best way to compare the two techniques is to fix the throughput so that an apples-to-apples comparison can be made. Comparisons such are payback time and return on investment can mislead someone into making a bad investment decision. 

So if we fix the throughput at one ton per day the cost of the hemp is equal between the techniques and operating cost variance is the only contributing factor.     

Here are the twelve key questions that need to be defined in order to do a comparison:

  1. What is the direct labor to process?
  2. What is the energy to process?
  3. What are the solvent losses? 
  4. What are the direct material startup costs including solvent startup costs?
  5. What are the cannabinoid recovery rates?
  6. How much solvent do I use, reuse, and when do I need to replace the solvent with fresh solvent?  and at what interval?
  7. What is the insurance cost for each option?
  8. What is the cost of hazardous waste disposal?
  9. What is the cost of solvent removal?
  10.  What is the cost of reuse of the solvent?
  11.  What is the cost of HAP emissions?
  12. What is the depreciation for each option including building costs for H2 vs F2 occupancy?

Once these questions are answered you will be able to build a pro forma income statement. 


  • Standard labor
  • Standard materials
  • Overhead

Gross margin

  • SGA
  • R&D

Net Margin

You can then hold SG&A and R&D constant for both techniques and account for the difference in depreciation to get to a net margin number.  

A cash flow statement can then be generated from net margin. One thing to note is that depreciation must be added back to net margin as it is a non-cash expense on the income statement.  

Cash flows are then added up for 5 consecutive periods (years) including the initial outlay of cash for startup working capital.  Those cash flows are then discounted at a discount rate (Weighted average cost of capital estimate at 13-17%).  

If you do this analysis, you will find that CO2 extraction will absolutely crush ethanol extraction in terms of net present value.  

Does it cost less to process hemp with Co2 compared with Ethanol?

In fact the operating cost for CO2 extraction is dramatically less than the operating costs associated with ethanol.

Extraction with Ethanol is a process that is typically run at low temperatures. First the ethanol is cooled to below -20oC before it is introduced to the hemp. Cooling the ethanol reduces the amount of extracted chlorophyll and waxes. If you account for the energy required to chill the ethanol down to those low temperatures and then also evaporate after use, the energy bill for extracting ethanol is approximately 3-6x the cost of extracting with CO2. However, the energy cost is really not the key driver in the overall operating costs.
Ethanol extraction requires a significant amount of ethanol to be used per pound of hemp. In fact, about 1 to 1.5 gallons of ethanol must be used per pound of dry hemp in order to extract. Hemp is a very absorbent biomass material and the ethanol must fully saturate the hemp plant before any extraction can take place. For this reason a large volume of ethanol is needed to extract cbd from hemp.
The key cost driver or ethanol extraction is recovery of that solvent from the biomass. Even though many ethanol extraction equipment companies provide centrifuges and or presses to eliminate the amount of ethanol left over in the biomass, The best equipment will provide only a 90 to 95% recovery of the ethanol. This 5 to 10% loss in ethanol is a huge cost driver for extracting ethanol.
For example, suppose you wanted to process 1000 lb of hemp. You would need 1000 gallons of ethanol to start out at a cost of $16-33 per gallon for food grade ethanol for a total cost of $16,000 to $33,000. If you recovered 90% of the ethanol the ethanol loss would be $1,600 – $3,300 per 1000 lbs. Furthermore if you process 1000 pounds per day, this would be your daily loss.
In contrast, you will lose the equivalent of about $70 per day for CO2 extractions for the exact same process.
Besides energy and solvent usage, there are many other hidden costs related to extraction with ethanol including solvent reuse costs, insurance cost, increased facilities cost, and testing costs.

What is the highest yield you can expect from hemp extraction?

Industrial Hemp extraction typically has a CBD content of 5 to 15% by weight. The THC content of the Industrial Hemp is required by law to be less than 0.3% by weight in the flower that is sold.

Does raw hemp moisture affect yield?

Yes, moisture content will affect weight yield. For example, if 10% of the hemp To be extracted was water, and that water was removed during CO2 extraction, the denominator would be larger in the yield calculation, thereby giving a smaller yield number. By extension, if the same hemp was extracted but had zero water in the hemp, the overall weight percent yield of the extract would be a greater percent of the weight.

One thing to note is that in ethanol extraction, water that is in the hemp will dissolve into the ethanol. If the ethanol is removed from the CBD oil with a falling film evaporator, some of the water will be Co evaporated with the ethanol, thereby increasing the amount of water in the ethanol for each extraction cycle. Some of the water will stay in the extract and is typically removed in a secondary stirred reactor before wiped film evaporator and distillation.

Is the entire facility hemp processing facility considered to be food-grade?

Hemp processing facility typically is divided up into different sections with different control areas.

The first building section has to do with processing and handling of raw materials such as raw hemp. typically handling raw hemp materials and the grinding of these materials may produce dust and Airborne contaminants. There is a risk of contaminating the rest of the building if the hemp biomass materials are not separated from the cbd extract, distillation, isolate, formulations, and separations process. We typically include all pre-processing of the hemp and the extraction process in this section of the facility. Once the hemp is processed into oils, a new level care must be taken to prevent contamination of the extract.

The second section of the hemp processing facility is typically Referred to in the Cannabis world as post-processing. In this section, the oil is winterized, dewaxed, distilled and separated. After the bulk CBD oils are produced, they are typically formulated into tinctures, vapor juice, lotions, gels, dabs, and other products.

Both sections of the hemp processing plant are considered to be food grade and each have their own requirements for cross contamination, equipment surface finishes, and cleanability.

What is a good guideline for C1D2 rooms for ethanol extraction and who regulates this decision?

The Authority having jurisdiction (AHJ) over your facility is typically your city or county inspector. Keep in mind that there are other important stakeholders such as your insurance adjuster.

The first step in understanding the requirements for special electrical classification such as C1 D1 or D2 is to understand the building type and the occupancy for your facility. The amount of solvent that you have in storage, open use, close use, is regulated and will vary depending upon the building type and the occupancy for your facility.

The amount that you have in storage is also highly dependent upon the classification of the solvent that you are storing or using. For example there is no limit on CO2 for any occupancy or building type. On the other hand, the amount of ethanol that you can have in a facility is limited by the occupancy and the building type. A general rule of thumb is that no more than 240 gallons of ethanol can be stored per control area with a TYPE II building. There are a maximum of three control areas per building.

When the amount of solvent that is stored or in use within a facility exceeds the occupancy, the occupancy must be changed to a hazardous location occupancy. This comes with many building requirements. A good rule of thumb is that a hazardous occupancy will cost around 200 to $250 per square foot to build whereas a F2 occupancy which is a standard industrial occupancy will cost around $63 per square foot to build. Of course those numbers change across the country so it is important that you check with your architect on Standard Building cost before you decide which extraction method to use.

How long does it take to install a hemp extraction unit?

Once all the equipment has arrived on site, the owner operator certifies that the facility is ready for installation of the equipment. Once we receive that certification, we deploy to your facility. For a one ton per day facility, we can typically install equipment to address the entire workflow in three days.

If the facility needs to change due to a non conformance with the installation requirements, we will typically wait for your contractor to do the change and then continue with the installation as long as the non-conformance can be corrected within a reasonable amount of time.

Can rotovaps be replaced with a falling film evaporators?

fracTron is our version of a falling film evaporator. The equipment is capable of replacing many rows of apps nearby streamlining the solvent removal process during ethanol extraction or winterization. The equipment is able to efficiently remove ethanol from the cbd oil to the point that it can be directly introduced into a wiped film evaporator.

One of the advantages to the FracTron is that it can be configured in several different ways to give it more versatility. It can be used as a 3-stage fractional distillation piece of equipment or it could be used also as a two-stage falling film evaporator and one stage decarboxylator unit for decarboxylation of oils.

Since the fraction is able to condition the oils in such a way that they can be introduced directly into a wiped film evaporator, the unit is capable of being fully integrated and automated to feed a wiped film distillation unit.

How do you remediate psychoactive cannabinoids from CBD oils?

There are several processes for the removal of psychoactive cannabinoids from CBD distillate. These include

1. Precipitation of CBD in a solvent
2. Chromatography separations.
3. Partitioning of cannabinoids in different organic solvents.
4. Degradation of psychoactive cannabinoids with oxidation and light.

In the isolate process, the CBD is precipitated from the oil in a nonpolar solvent blend Leaving the psychoactive cannabinoid in the supernatant to be discarded.

The second process is chromatography. In chromatography, cannabinoids are separated again in a solvent while flowing A packed bed of particles. This process can be frustrating for the end-user because it requires a high level of skill to conduct the separation. Oftentimes the particles can fail and plug up if the sample that is being separated has not been properly prepared. If done correctly, this process has the potential to separate out large amounts of CBD from psychoactive cannabinoids.

The third process involves separation by partitioning between two immiscible solvents. This process is very solvent intensive and is costly from the standpoint of solvent usage. There are also issues with solvent contamination of the final broad spectrum CBD oil. If done correctly, this process has the potential to separate out large amounts of CBD from psychoactive cannabinoids.

Finally, the last process involves degrading the Delta 9 into CBN with oxidation and uv light. The problem with this approach is that the CBD also degrades so the yield for this process is typically less than desirable.

Do you offer training on hemp processing and hemp extraction?

We Have taught hundreds of customers how to extract CBD oils from hemp and THC oils from cannabis. Our training package typically includes installation of the equipment, standard operating procedures, commissioning of the equipment in the facility, and training of operators on the procedures that are provided.

We also offer advanced training and quality management system implementation services for those companies who wish to achieve GMP certification.This training dresses all aspects of the quality management system, laboratory information management, batch record system, and Manufacturing execution.

How often do you need to do maintenance on the co2 extractor machines?

Maintenance on the machines can be conducted by either our trained staff or we can train your staff to do the maintenance. We provide maintenance procedures and parts list with every DO2 extractor and also conduct on-site training so that the operator can do the maintenance as required.

All of our equipment including the wiped film evaporator, the falling film evaporator, and the CO2 extractor all come standard with a maintenance reminder built right into the software.The user is able to set a maintenance interval for every maintenance item, and an alarm will alert the user when maintenance is due.

What is the minimum number of employees needed for hemp processing?

It is important that you define several different operating goals when you start up your operation. First goal might be to get operational and process around 500-1000 lbs per day. This will typically require a minimum of 5 people with the following duties:

  1. Extraction and winterization.
  2. Grinding and decarboxylation and receiving.
  3. Distillation and formulations.
  4. Shift management and quality assurance
  5. Package, ship, and filling operations.

As you increase hemp extraction throughput, you will need to add people most likely in the filling and formulations processes. You will also need to add in people for quality assurance and quality control.

We offer detailed scale-up plans including current state and future state process Maps, facilities layouts and headcount plan for hemp processing facilities. For more information, fill out our request for quotation form

What kind of employees do you need for hemp processing or hemp extraction?

There are basically four different employees that you need to have in order to run a hemp processing or hemp extraction facility. These are as follows:

  1. assurance
  2. Shift manager
  3. Operators
  4. Optionally analytical operators.

If your goal is to produce a quality product that complies with GMP requirements, you are going to need to have staff that can help you comply with those requirements.That typically means you need to have a quality assurance manager that is aware of the requirements And can Implement those requirements in your facility.

It is also necessary that you have a shift manager. This is someone who is organized and can schedule operators at each station and track the production output. This person will also ensure that operator training has occurred, ensure that yields are met, and also manage the workforce. They are also responsible for producing products that can form with the quality requirements of the end product.

Operators typically execute on the production plan by following standard operating procedures. They are typically trained on how to use the equipment and how to move materials in and out of the process. It is their job to record the data for the quality management system. The Operators typically will be successful if they are Hands-On and are able to follow instructions. It is also a big Advantage if the operator can conduct basic maintenance on the equipment. This requires someone who is Hands-On and has the physical strength to do simple maintenance tasks. This is important for the proper running in the efficiency of a hemp processing facility.

Last but not least, analytical operators or quality control technicians are important for providing yield and in-process testing to the manufacturing facility. They will work with quality assurance directly to ensure that incoming raw hemp biomass conforms to purchasing specifications and to Quality specifications. Quality control technicians are typically chemists and have a laboratory background.

How is hemp material transferred between areas to prevent contamination and material or batch mix up in hemp extraction?

Under GMP guidance, a risk assessment is conducted by management to identify those areas that are high risk for cross-contamination or batch mix up. Once the risk assessment is completed, process controls can be put in place to prevent contamination or Mix-Ups.

Sometimes the risk assessment might result in controls that can be as simple as a color coding or Designating a physical location for a particular material. More complex controls include in-process testing or double checks by quality assurance Durham Manufacturing.

Oftentimes the process controls and the process itself can be validated, with an approved validation protocol. Once the extraction method has been validated for mitigating the identified risk, cross-contamination and batch Mix-Ups typically only happen when process and procedure are ignored.

We use a software system called igwLAB to help us implement and mistake proof a validated manufacturing process. igwLAB is composed of both software and Hardware that works seamlessly together to give a full tracking solution where the movement of each lot or batch from one area is tracked with the software.

For example, a manufacturing process will not be able to process material without a release from quality assurance. Any attempts to do so will be flagged by the system and alert the operator to the mistake.

One thing that’s nice about the system is that it helps keep track of cleaning records and cleaning events for each piece of equipment that is put into the system. This can include tables, floors, ceilings, utensils, implements and Equipment. Any Surface that Can receive a barcode can be tracked in terms of cleaning events.

Standard operating Methods for cleaning these items are also stored in the software system so that the procedures can be readily accessed by the operator while the process is running. If the process calls for a cleaning event to be conducted, the software will not let the process proceed without cleaning for example.

What is the best way to receive hemp into your hemp processing facility?

We have received hemp in just about every form possible into our facility. We have received whole plants. We have received ground hemp material. We have also received material that has yet to be dried. There are three criteria for incoming hemp quality:

The material must meet purchasing specifications and be free from foreign matter and debris.
The second step in receiving hemp into your facility involves quality control processing. Quality insurance will typically take samples of the hemp and submit them to quality control for testing. Once the tests come back from the laboratory, the quality assurance manager compares the testing results to the specifications if the specifications are met, then the incoming material is released from quarantine.

We prefer to receive hemp in Super Sacks so that we can load it into our Material Handling and grinding systems.

How many people are needed to operate a one ton a day CO2 extraction equipment?

If you are just talking about the supercritical CO2 extraction equipment, you will need one person per shift to run the CO2 extractor equipment for one ton per day throughput.

Does the CO2 extraction process require ethanol?

The CO2 extraction process does not require ethanol. However ethanol may be used in several different ways in hemp processing. first, ethanol may be used to speed extraction with in CO2 extraction. This is called a CO solvent. Second ethanol may be used to dewax the CBD oil. An alternative to dewaxing CBD oil is to extract the hemp under Low pressure subcritical conditions.

One thing to keep in mind is that ethanol as a solvent is not bad. the use of food grade ethanol is perfectly fine in a hemp production process and to post process after the extraction method is complete. However, The use of large amounts of ethanol for ethanol extraction is very costly and therefore not desirable. Also the use of denatured ethanol Do we need to chemical contamination of the product. The only reason a company would use denatured ethanol in their process is to reduce the cost of the process.

Is CO2 cheaper than ethanol?

A pound of food grade ethanol when purchased in bulk is $4.71/lb at current price.
A pound of food grade CO2 when purchased in bulk is about $0.04/lb at current price.

What’s the purity of the CO2 used in CO2 extraction?

There are many grades of CO2 including industrial and food grade and medical grade. We typically use food grade but medical grade is also highly desirable. the specifications for each of these grades are published by the Compressed Gas Association or by your gas supplier.

Can I have a facility tour for reference?

By appointment, you are welcome to visit our facility in Osceola, Wisconsin. Once your license is approved by your governing body, we can set up a demo for you to tour with a member of our sales team.

I hired some new employees. How do I get additional training?

We can offer training packages to come to your location for hands-on training or you can come to our headquarters in Osceola, Wisconsin for training.

Can I purchase a maintenance package for my extractor?

Yes, we can add a maintenance package to fit your needs. Maintenance is on-site at your location at predetermined intervals.

What happens if my machine breaks down?

We have a Technical Support team available 24/7. They can be reached at¬†[email protected]. If your issue is covered under warranty or extended warranty there will be no charge to dispatch a member of our Technical Support team.

Do I have to run at only supercritical pressure/temperature?

No, you may run our extractors at subcritical depending upon the finish of crude you wish to achieve. Those parameters can be set into the menu for repeat use.

Do I have to fill the entire column with biomass?

No, you can extract a partially filled column. To avoid CO2 loss you may fill the rest of the column with an inert material such as aquarium glass. So, small batch processing is achievable with all of our extractors.

What kind of safety stops are featured on the shuckNbuck?

There are three safety stops. There is a bump bar on the front below the loading zone, the e-stop button on the front top above the loading zone, and a kill switch is activated when the back door is opened. Please consult the manual for additional safety features and warnings.

How can I clean the shuckNbuck between lots?

The shuckNbuck is rated for washdown and forced drying so you can hose it down between uses.

What is included in the standard price?

Instruction Manual is included. Certs documentation available as an option.

How many people does it take to operate the shuckNbuck?

You can safely operate the shuckNbuck with just one person.

When operating how loud is the shuckNbuck?

When the shuckNbuck is turned on, it is about as loud as your electric dryer. Check the manual for recommended ear protections.

What about dust control?

You can connect the shuckNbuck to your own dust collection system using off-the-shelf adapters, or you can purchase an additional dust collection solution directly from us.

About how long does it take the shuckNbuck to process an acre of harvest?

One operator can process an entire acre of plants in just 3 hours.

How does this work with my ERP system?

We have a well documented API

We can give you a quote to integrate your ERP and the igwLAB API or you are free to develop it on your own

How much work is it to implement?

The implementation process will take 30-60 days.

Is there a warranty?

All hardware included with igwLAB has warranty of 1 year from date of purchase.

What training is included?

  • Online training
  • Installation of hardware
  • Online support ticket system

What records does the system maintain?

Maintenance, calibration, cleaning, user, permissions, training, input weight, output weight, waste, vendors, biomass meta data, bill of materials, expiration dates, analytical results, sampling data, quality disposition, master batch record, standard operating procedures

What is included in the quality control module?

  • Barcoded samples with location, batch, lot, location information along with sample data record.
  • Sample testing request records.
  • Sample testing results, reports, and automatic attachment to the batch or lot.
  • Flag and alert system for out of specification or unexpected results.

Is igwLAB an ERP?

  • Not an ERP
  • Feeds data into ERP
  • No financial functions are included in the software
  • No costing is included in software
  • Can show inventory location, weights of waste, inputs, outputs and counts of final goods

What is the difference between igwLAB and LIMS or laboratory information management system?

  • A laboratory information system manages samples, users, equipment, continuous data, laboratory quality parameters, results, and reports.
  • Does not manage overall quality.

What is the difference between igwLAB and process control software?

  • Process control software records continuous physical parameters from manufacturing processes. The software continuously displays that data to show that the process is within pre-set statistical trends and confidence intervals. Process control algorithms built into the software use the data to adjust input independent variables to keep the process within said interval. Typically process control software is applied to complex multivariate processes or specific equipment.
  • igwLAB records discontinuous physical, quality, lab data, SOPs, manufacturing actions, expiration dates, maintenance, events, locations, batch records, users, data and dashboards key process indicators.

How does IGW differ from other seed to sale software?

  • Focuses specifically on manufacturing process
  • Emphasis on batch records
  • No POS attached to it
  • No cultivation

What is the difference between igwLAB and METRC?

  • METRC is a track and trace reporting tool for state systems
  • igwLAB interfaces with METRC to via API
  • igwLAB is different from Biotrack THC or MJ freeway as it does not have a retail or cultivation module.

Why do I need this software?

  • Pulls all the processes, procedures, quality systems, and material movements together in one software.
  • Provides data dashboards to manage and adjust business.
  • Provides a single place (infrastructure) at each step of the process to record process parameters.

What does the software do?

  • Reduces paperwork and human error
  • Automates data collection on many routine tasks
  • Automates quality records
  • Manages production records and provides traceability
  • Helps create logical workflow for each process.
  • Provides the needed link between lab data and batch and process
  • Document control
  • Events manager

What is entrainment and how will it affect the quality of the oils?

Entrainment is when volatile components evaporate so aggressively that they bubble/splash and entrain a nonvolatile component in the headspace. Entrainment seldomly occurs in falling film evaporators because of the vapor flow path. Siphoning the vapor vertically prevents any liquids from staying entrained.

Do I need to decarboxylate before distillation?

It is not required to decarboxylate before subjecting to falling film evaporation.

Will I be able to separate THC from CBD on my plants using this equipment?

No, the boiling points of THC and CBD are too close to separate one from the other without impurities present.

Does distillation replace chromatography?

No, distillation separates a mixture of liquid components by boiling point. Chromatography separates a mixture of liquid components by chemical interactions.

Can I feed my ethanol/extract mixture directly into the falling film?

Yes, the system is engineered to fit directly into any batch or continuous extraction process.

Can I use this system for ethanol, CO2 or butane extraction methods?

The fracTRON can be used for any extraction method that requires solvent removal. Typically ethanol is either used as an extraction solvent or as a dewaxing solvent, both of which require ethanol removal afterwards. This machine can also be used to recover hydrocarbon solvents used to create CBD isolate.

How does the fracTRON help reduce maintenance and automate cleaning?

The fracTRON is a continuous system, it doesn’t require disassembly between runs. When it needs to be cleaned, simply run the system with clean ethanol at 50C (in all columns). If inspection is required, remove the top two clamps to swab the surfaces.

How is the ethanol vapor separated from the unevaporated liquid?

Most falling film evaporators utilize a siphon to decrease the pressure within the falling film evaporator (decreasing the boiling point of the liquids) and direct the flow of the vapor to a condenser.

How do you clean the fracTRON?

The system is cleaned by flushing with clean ethanol. The fracTRON has a piping manifold for even distribution of the liquid mixture which also helps to force cleaning solvent into potentially clogged tubes. The apparatus is easily disassembled for inspection.

Can I collect distillate from different stages independently?

With an optional piping package, yes. Having the ability to be set to 3 different setpoints throughout the system, select components can be evaporated and collected preferentially. This is particularly useful for industrial fractioning of terpenes.

Does the system come with methods?

Methods and formulas are delivered with the system.

Is degassing required after treatment with a falling film?

Depending on the operating conditions, degassing is still required after subjecting the extract/ethanol mixture to falling film evaporation. Degassing decreases the ethanol content of the mixture from ~10-15% from the evaporator to 2% which is required for wiped film evaporation. The time it takes to degass is largely dependent on the starting ethanol content as well.

What yield should we expect from the falling film evaporators?

Yield of plant extract is generally near 100%. Plant extracts have much higher boiling points than that of ethanol and the flow path of ethanol vapor is engineered so that if aggressive boiling of ethanol causes entrainment of plant extracts, the plant extracts are forced out of the vapor.

What is the surface area of the unit and how does that impact throughput?

Each stage contains 52 square feet of heated surface area for product evaporation. Generally, as surface area for product evaporation increases, the throughput of the system increases.

How does a falling film fit in my workflow?

Ethanol is the most common solvent for removal of fats and waxes from a plant extract and it needs to be removed from the mixture for downstream product refinement. Ratios of ethanol/winterized oil are typically between 4/1 and 10/1, high capacity falling film evaporators are necessary for large scale removal of ethanol from plant extracts.

Are solvent residuals still left in the oil after distillation?

Complete removal of solvent is hard to achieve with a single stage falling film evaporator because of the single temperature setpoint. As the liquid mixture flows through the tubes of the falling film evaporator, it changes composition due to vaporization of the volatile component. The change in composition changes the physical properties of the macroscopic mixture ‚Äď including the boiling point. The fracTRON utilizes a triple pass falling film system to change the operating temperature of the evaporator as the temperature of the liquid mixture changes.

How clean is the ethanol coming from the falling film still?

Purity of product depends on many things such as temperature and flow rate of the heated media, flow rate of the liquid mixture to be distilled, pressure of the system, surface area of the heated surfaces, and mechanism of vapor-liquid separation. Depending on these conditions, most falling film evaporators remove 80-95% of ethanol from the starting mixture.

What does a falling film evaporators do?

Falling film evaporators are largely used to remove a solvent from a liquid mixture by evaporating the more volatile component. Compared to wiped film evaporators, falling film evaporators: have a higher heated surface area per footprint, are less equipped to distill highly viscous mixtures, and are much better equipped to distill a solvent at a high throughput. Falling film evaporators are vertical in orientation, and have a bundle of metal tubes in a metal container. The metal tubes are then heated with a flowing media and the heat is transferred to the liquid mixture to evaporate the volatile component as the mixture flows down the tubes. Single stage falling film evaporators have high surface area and can be set to a single temperature.

How do I clean the distillation equipment?

Using canola oil, the system is cleaned according to a predefined cleaning protocol.

Why do vacuum pumps require maintenance?

Vacuum pumps typically use an oil ring to produce a seal that creates vacuum. Volatiles in the winterized oil that don’t condense during degassing can follow the vapor flow path all the way to the vacuum pump, contaminating the pump lubricating oil, compromising its performance.

The clearSTILL vacuum pumps don’t require oil for operation, eliminating that maintenance.

What is a finger cleaner and how do you automate cleaning of the finger?

The ‚Äúfinger‚ÄĚ of a wiped film evaporator is the condenser and must be cleaned due to cross contamination of the condenser from lot to lot. Many machines require cleaning the condenser between batches or lots. This requires that the condenser be cleaned between batches. An automated cleaner sprays a cleaning solvent over the condenser, cleaning it. The finger is heat flashed to dry.

Does the location of the vacuum sensor matter?

The measured vacuum level will change depending on where you measure the vacuum. If you measure inside the wiped film column, you will measure a much greater pressure due to the volatile components in the vacuum. As those volatile components diffuse through the vacuum system, they encounter a series of condensers which act to condense those vapors. Vacuum sensors on the downstream side of the condenser often measure much lower vacuum.

Various manufacturers place vacuum sensors in different locations and successfully produce distillate.

What vacuum level is required?

For degassing, it is recommended that the wiped film evaporator operates at < 1 torr, this can be achieved with the scroll vacuum pump that comes with the system. For distillation, it is recommended to use a turbo vacuum pump as well as a scroll pump to reduce the temperature required to vaporize the cannabinoids. Turbo pumps can achieve a vacuum level of <0.001torr.

Does the system come with methods?

Methods comprising temperatures, pressures, flow rates, and alarm settings are provided. Methods must be adjusted for desired distillation rate, color and potency.

How do I remove colors from winterized extracts?

Depending on the operating conditions, wiped film distillation systems won’t vaporize color-causing impurities in the winterized oil. Typical results vary and depends on differential temperature between the wall and the cold finger, and pressure.

What yield should we expect from the wiped film? What is the potency of the distillate?

Yield and potency are highly dependent on the aggressiveness of the operating conditions. For example:

  • The boiling point of ethanol is 78oC. If the evaporator temperature is set at 100oC above the boiling point, it is expected that most of the ethanol will evaporate and condense and the ethanol yield will be high. However, the exceedingly high temperature can cause other components to also vaporize, decreasing the potency of the distillate product.
  • If the temperature is set at the boiling point of ethanol, it is likely that some of the ethanol will evaporate, but not all. Thus, the yield of ethanol will be comparatively much lower than in the aforementioned case, but the distillate product will have fewer impurities.

The clearSTILL has been engineered to achieve a throughput of 4-6L/hr and increase the potency from 50-65% in winterized oil to 65-90% in the distillate depending on the standard operating procedure

What is entrainment and how do I prevent it?

  • Entrainment comes from inadequate degassing. Highly volatile components (gasses, residual solvents, etc.) aggressively vaporize on the heated surface, causing liquids to contaminate the headspace and the condenser. Thus, oil components that have not been evaporated contaminate the distilled oil.
  • Special entrainment separator wiper design is required to eliminate entrainment.

What is the surface area of the unit and how does that impact throughput?

  • 0.6 m^2. Smaller the number, the slower the throughput. As the amount of temperature controlled surface area decreases, the unit functions at a lower throughput and efficiency, and with higher impurities. This stems from having increased control over highly viscous liquids and vapors at their saturation temperatures and pressures.
  • Having evenly heated evaporative and condensing surfaces maximizes throughput and minimizes impurities by gently evaporating volatile components from a highly viscous mixture. The surface area for heat transfer is fully utilized by the use of wipers to evenly distribute the mixture on the heated surfaces. Controlling the wiping speed and feed inlet flow allows for precise control over residence time of evaporation and chemical potential between the evaporative and condensing surfaces.

What is the footprint, power, and heat load for the equipment?

  1. L 103″ x W 44″ x H 72″, 80 FLA at 230VAC, 50/60 hz, 3 phase
  2. Heat load of equipment is estimated at 3000 W-hr

What extraction method will give the cleanest distillate?

  1. Specially denatured ethanol is typically used for ethanol extraction due to the high cost of pure 200 proof ethanol.
  2. Denaturants are comprised of a wide variety of toxic and non food grade chemicals. Those denaturants are always detectable in the final distillate.

Input requires decarboxylated oil.

  1. Input for requires winterized crude oil.
  2. Input requires decarboxylated oil.
  3. First wiped film evaporation stage: degassing
    1. Degassing involves removal of volatiles and gas with heat while stirring. Typical ethanol removal is 80-90% using a rotovap or falling film evaporator, degassing using a wiped film evaporator achieves >98% ethanol removal which is required for wiped film evaporation.
    2. Degassing can be done with a stirred tank reactor, but the disadvantage of degassing with a stirred tank reactor is degradation of active targets such as CBD or CBG and breakdown of the oil. This method is also commonly a batch, compared to the continuous operation of a wiped film evaporator. ‚Äď Aaron
  4. Second wiped film evaporation stage: distillation
    1. Degassed, winterized oil is wiped onto the heated exterior surfaces of the wiped film evaporator column where the more volatile cannabinoids vaporize into the headspace. The internal condenser condenses the cannabinoid vapors to produce the distillate product. The pressure of the system is GREATLY reduced to decrease the boiling point of the target cannabinoid products. Lower boiling points prevent product degradation and decrease heat load requirements.
    2. If you choose to degas with a stirred tank reactor, both stages of the clearSTILL wiped film evaporator can be set to distillation operating conditions to achieve a high purity distillate. ‚Äď Aaron
  5. Output distillate often feeds either chromatography or crystallization processes.

What does WFE do?

  • Also known as molecular distillation, the system is similar to short path distillation equipment in the sense that there is a short distance between the evaporator and condenser. Depending on the operating conditions, wiped film evaporators can degas winterized oil or distill degassed winterized oil. The distillation column is comprised of a permeable vertical cylinder and a rotating wiper blade that wipes a thin film of winterized oil over the evaporative surface. The condenser is typically only 1-2 inches away from the evaporator so that when the volatile components begin to evaporate into the headspace, they migrate towards the chilled surface of the condenser and condense to a liquid, distillate product.
  • Degasses winterized oil.
  • Makes distillate from degassed winterized oils.
  • Removes color, terpenes, flavor, and other impurities.
  • Makes oil consistent so that it can be used in a product for consistent results.
  • Upgrades potency of target distillate.

What is the advantage of a dual still?

  • Continuous degassing and distillation in a continuous two step operation that will yield a first pass distillate.
  • If operating with only distillation parameters, increased distillation production and better control of the distillate product with no handling required in between operations.

Get in touch with our team to request a quote, learn more about our training or get help with your business plan.

We are dedicated to providing you with the best advice, quality and service in the industry.

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