Why use Supercritical CO2 Extraction (SFE)?

The properties of CO2 gas transform under pressure and elevated temperatures and provides an incredibly powerful toxin free product able to penetrate deep into material. Working with carbon dioxide is much safer and healthier product to work with especially for the environment. Consumers are interested in how the products they consume affect the environment and companies advertising their products were made by SFE effectively have a powerful marketing tool.

What will the yield be using Supercritical Fluid Extraction (SFE)?

The yield from SFE is dictated by several factors controlling the efficiency and quantity of extraction. First and foremost the material being extracted has a finite amount of extractable components. So it’s not the “yield” but “rate of extraction” which is important. The strongest factor to the rate of extraction is the flow of supercritical fluid and displacement of the CO2 pump being used. It is generally agreed that higher temperature and pressure will also increase the material being extracted due to the extraction fluids high degree of solvating power. For brevity, it can be generalized you will receive around 80% of extractable compounds of interest.

What kind of routine maintenance do supercritical systems require?

Most systems require little maintenance if operated correctly. Since very few moving parts exist on the extractors, very few parts become damaged.

  • The pump seals need to be replaced (when needed) on a regular scheduled maintenance program. If the pump requires oil, refer to the manufacturer’s recommendations for service.
  • All pipe connections should be tightened (only if loose) while the system is not under pressure.
  • The fluid running through the machine is constantly cleaning the system such that only filters and traps need to be cleaned.
  • Periodically it is generally advised that the system is cleaned out with a co-solvent such as ethanol to remove any material which is negligibly soluble in the supercritical fluid.

What are the costs associated with operating a supercritical system?

CO2 is an inexpensive consumer commodity and nearly all extraction systems are able to reclaim 95% of the gas used for extractions while only losing a few pounds per run. Electrical use will vary depending on which system you are operating. In general, most only use 70-120 amps of electricity per extraction.