Traditional technologies in many cases do not offer a satisfactory solution to a specific problem. Furthermore, there is a continuous search to reduce production costs. Pilot scale studies may show that, despite initial high capital costs, operating costs would be lower and the overall feasibility can be proven at certain scale of operation. In addition, supercritical technology allows:
- Possibility of combining an extraction operation with fractionation column under supercritical conditions to highly concentrate the bioactive components of interest.
- Possibility of combining a micronization / atomization / dewatering operation with expansion vessel under supercritical/subcritical condition to further make the liquid extract in form of atomized dry powders. This is the way the pharmacological / nutraceutical form will be modified in the future, for the purpose of significantly increasing the bioavailability and action of the active substances.
- Possibility of using the exhausted material as a secondary product or better as a raw material for other products due to the absence of solvents that may have polluted the raw material.
This is the case of light flours obtained from the extraction of waxes and oils: the protein content of the exhausted product is increased due to the subtraction of fatty compounds, like flours without fats from almonds. It is the case of vegetable waxes separated from the compounds.
Other advantages that SC-CO2 technology has demonstrated in the extraction of special oils include:
- oxidative stability
- chemical composition
- stability of bioactive components maintained during extraction
- storage and aromatic profile
- consumer acceptability of such oils.
SC-CO2 is a non-polar FDA-approved solvent (GRASP).