Supercritical CO2 Extractor
Increase yield and throughput at a lower operating cost
extraktLAB’s supercritical CO2 extractor deliver the highest daily throughput of biomass processing in the industry, while also delivering the lowest processing costs of output oil.
Highest Throughput Supercritical CO2 Extraction Machine
- The extraktLAB E-180 is the fastest, most advanced and most powerful supercritical CO2 extractor on the market today.
- It can process 844 lbs of biomass per day!
- Designed to provide high yield in a short period of time while staying GMP compliant.
- Variety of extraction methods.
Smallest Footprint Extractors
Size matters… at least when it comes to your equipment! We know that floor space is vitally important in determining what you can and can’t do. Our E-140 Extractor is our most popular machine as it fits most facilities while providing impressive throughput.
There our situations when space is limited and every inch counts which is why our E-110 CO2 Extractor is perfect when you don’t have a lot of space to work with.
E-110 Size: Footprint: 24 sq ft Shipping Weight: 3,000 lbs Dimentions (without light mast): H 72″ x L 99″ x W 34″
Read Compact Extraction Facility Publication
Supercritical Extraction Machine
We have the perfect machine for small, medium and large producers. Our model line makes it easy for you to scale your operations while keeping your operating costs at a minimum.
For smaller producers or research labs that need a small footprint.
For larger producers who want to scale up capacity.
For larger producers who want to scale up capacity.
Upgrade Your Extractors
Low Labor Costs Supercritical CO2 Extractor
Our CO2 Extractors are so easy to use we’ve seen one operator running NINE MACHINES at the same time!
How is that possible?
Not everyone can do it, but with the right setup and additional equipment, you can completely optimize the time consuming process. Though our Turnkey Manufacturing Solutions we take all of the guesswork out of it, so don’t worry. Depending on your needs this can include:
- Facility layout and process design
- Solution configurations for phased growth
- All processing equipment and extraction process, including 3rd-party products matched for quality and capacity
- Documented Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for all processing steps
- Extraction Equipment installation and training of your labor force
- Manufacturing line commissioning to verify oil output quality
- GMP compliance support
- And more…
Learn More About Our Turnkey Manufacturing Solutions
Unlimited Scalability with CO2 Supercritical Extraction Machines
As long as you have space for another one of our extractors you can keep scaling! Our product platform provides unlimited scalability to any capacity size, and in any increment for the highest flexibility and return on capital.
Read Scaling Publication
Ethanol vs CO2 Extraction
What is the best extraction systems for your business? There are many considerations including costs, capacity and potency.
Read Extraction Method Publications
A Critical Analysis and Comparison of Ethanol and CO2 Extraction Techniques for CBD Derived from Hemp
The Science Behind
The CO2 Supercritical extractor use carbon dioxide (CO2) at an elevated temperature and pressure to extract soluble compounds from natural products. Carbon dioxide above the critical temperature (31ºC) and pressure (1071 psi) becomes a supercritical fluid, which has an increased capacity for 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 “ScCO2 extraction” on package labels.
Technicians were super supportive and provided valuable tips. Equipment works great!
Your support tech was terrific. He knew the instrument in-and-out, was incredibly knowledgeable about extraction chemistry, and worked tirelessly to give us terrific service. He gave us every insider trick that he had learned in running the instrument for years. I can’t wait to have him back out to my laboratory. Truly exceptional worker! Couldn’t say more positive things!
Frequently Asked Questions
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:
- Is your product going to be THC non detect? You will be using cbd isolate for this product.
- is your product going to be full spectrum including thc? You will be using CBD distillate for this product.
- Is your product going to be broad spectrum excluding THC? You will be using CBD broad spectrum for this.
- Do you have a desired flavor profile? Hopefully you will be using natural terpenes rather than synthetic terpenes.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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, CO2 extraction is far superior in terms of terpene profile preservation. Here are some things to keep in mind.
- If you use the extraktlab process, you will start by harvesting the terpenes before co2 extraction. This preserves many of the low boiling terpenes that are unique in significant to the strain hemp or cannabis that you are extracting.
- 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.
- The CO2 extraction also avoids the issues related to chemical contaminants that come from the use of denatured ethanol.
- 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 CO2 extraction. 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.
- Ethanol will extract most of the terpenes that are in the biomass.
- Ethanol will extract most all of the biomass cellular material, fats, waxes, and contaminants.
- In order to get the ethanol out of the extract, a falling film evaporator is used.
- Terpenes that make up the aroma (low boiling point molecules) evaporate with the ethanol.
- Terpenes that remain in the oil typically break down easily but many terpene profiles are left in the remaining oil.
- This oil is not potent, is pitch black, and really does not smell good. Distillation is typically required as a secondary purification step..
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.
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:
- What is the direct labor to process?
- What is the energy to process?
- What are the solvent losses?
- What are the direct material startup costs including solvent startup costs?
- What are the cannabinoid recovery rates?
- How much solvent do I use, reuse, and when do I need to replace the solvent with fresh solvent? and at what interval?
- What is the insurance cost for each option?
- What is the cost of hazardous waste disposal?
- What is the cost of solvent removal?
- What is the cost of reuse of the solvent?
- WHat is the cost of HAP emissions?
- 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
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.
Ethanol extraction is an extraction 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 ethanol extraction 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 ethanol extraction.
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 ethanol extraction 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 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?
es, 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.
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 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:
- Shift manager
- 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 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.
Can CO2 be used to extract other botanicals?
CO2 is used to extract many different kinds of biomass. The most famous and successful industrial process for CO2 extraction is the coffee decaffeination process. However there are many other essential oil extracts that are used in the supplements industry that utilize CO2 extraction. Hops is a good example. cops are used to brew beer and add flavor to beer. CO2 traction is used to extract the essential bitter flavor from the house so that the flavors can be Blended and Preserved.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
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.
Meet Our CEO and Founder Dr. Jon Thompson, Ph.D
Dr. Thompson is a separations scientist, entrepreneur, and inventor. As a scientist, he has a strong technical background and industry experience in analytical instrumentation, in-vitro diagnostics, biotech, mining, and homeland security markets. During his cannabis industry career, Dr. Thompson has earned a strong track record of winning and implementing medical cannabis licenses in well-regulated, medically-modeled states. Dr. Thompson has assisted numerous companies to attain their goals in cannabis and hemp manufacturing, as well as market development, strategic marketing, and worldwide business-to-business alliance formation (including international markets).
He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry, Master of Science degree in Chemistry and a Doctor of Chemistry degree–all from the University of Minnesota.