Plant Extraction Machine
Carbon dioxide and solvent (alcohol, ethanol, butane) extraction equipment is mainly used to extract pigments, oleoresins, plant proteins, essential oils, terpenes, and other natural compounds from natural resources.
What equipment is used for plant extraction?
In the contemporary industry, the main types of extraction equipment are in use: CO2 extractors (supercritical and subcritical), steam distillation, and solvent extraction machines.
CO2 Extraction Machine
CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) is another popular solvent that is used for essential oils and terpene extraction. CO2 extraction requires pressurized CO2 (used as a solvent) to pull the essential oils, terpenes, and other compounds from plants. CO2 results in pure terpenoids isolates and is considered very safe.
CO2 as a solvent isn’t volatile and leaves no trace residue, which is why it’s so commonly used in food processing and to produce essential oils.
CO2 is also an excellent option for extracting fragile plant terpenes for high-quality distillates that maintain the flavor profiles of the original plant.
Hydrocarbon Extraction Equipment
Hydrocarbons are a category of organic compounds that only consist of hydrogen and carbon. They don’t contain any atoms other than hydrogen and carbon.
That leaves alkanes as the most useful type of hydrocarbons when extracting compounds from plant materials.
Currently, the most popular alkanes used for hydrocarbon extraction are:
- Butane (n-butane C4H10)
- Propane (2-methylpropane C4H10)
- or a blend of Butane or Propane
With closed loop equipment, employees never get exposed to butane or propane. Before starting the process, hydrocarbons stay in a solvent vessel. During the extraction process, solvents circulate through material vessels to collect compounds like terpenes, CBD, and THC. The butane or propane then returns to the solvent vessel. This closed loop means that companies can collect compounds and recapture solvents without letting anyone get exposed to potentially harmful chemicals.
Steam Distillation Equipment
Steam Distillation is the most popular method used to extract and isolate essential oils from plants for use in natural products. This happens when the steam vaporizes the plant material’s volatile compounds, which eventually go through a condensation and collection process.
Distilling raw materials to obtain essential oils is a process that must be 100% mastered in order to guarantee a high-quality final product.
The choice of steam distillation equipment is a criterion to be examined in particular. It must be capable of extracting a high-quality essential oil while keeping energy consumption and the quantity of raw materials required to a minimum.
Steam extraction functions by passing steam through plant material which has been stored in a large holding tank or chamber, known as a “distillation column”. This allows for the essential oils to be extracted at a low temperature which will not damage the plant matter.
As the steam is released and passes through the organic plant material, tiny pockets which hold the essential oils will open and release the oil molecules into the air without causing any damage to the distillate.
The final result will consist of a mixture of water vapor and essential oils which will return to a liquid form when cooled.