Why Use Supercritical Co2

Subcritical/supercritical CO2 oil extraction has several advantages over other extraction methods:
  • CO2 is non-toxic and is Generally Regarded As Safe (GRAS) by the FDA for use in food products.  Other extraction solvents, such as hydrocarbon based propellants like propane and butane, hexane and pentane, or ethanol/alcohol mixtures require additional processing beyond the extraction process in order to ensure the product is safe for consumption.   With CO2 oil extraction, no toxins, heavy metals or hydrocarbon materials come in contact with the extracted oils.  The spent material is also free of residual contaminates so it can be re-used as well.
  • CO2 is non-flammable.  Flammable solvents must be processed in a NEMA Class 1, Division 1, 2 or 3 (explosion proof) environment.  CO2 is not flammable and does not require costly explosion proof facilities.
  • CO2 is “cold” – Botanical oil extractions can be done at temperatures that are native to the botanical material, minimizing thermal degradation of the plant material and the extracted oil.
  • CO2 is “tunable” – the solvency power of CO2 can be adjusted simply by increasing or decreasing pressures and/or temperatures.  The ability of the CO2 to selectively extract affords the ability to create unique extractions that have varying levels of desirable oils and waxes.  Less desirable plant constituents, like chlorophyl, can also be “de-selected”.  Once the extraction is complete, secondary processing is not required to have a useable product.
  • CO2 is cheap.  CO2 is readily available and widely used throughout several industries.  In addition, Apeks’ production CO2 oil extraction systems recirculate and subsequently recover 95% of the CO2 used in each extraction.
  • CO2 is environmentally friendly.  Industrial CO2 comes from byproducts – primarily hydrogen and ammonia manufacturing and fermentation for ethanol.  CO2 used for extractions does not contribute to the overall atmospheric CO2 levels.

Comparing CO2 extraction vs. butane or propane?  Don’t forget to include the facility cost for processing with a compressed flammable gas:  http://www.havelickindustrialhygiene.com/files/BHOfacility.pdf