VIDEO: Dual P-7 SCFN Extractor – Supercritical CO2 Process & Extraction

Video of the Dual P-7 SCFN Extractor at HIGHTECH Labs in Biddeford, Maine

robotic lid removal

Robotic Lid Removal

Operator safety is a paramount concern! Lids can be very heavy and difficult to manage. In keeping with firm EU safety standards, Hightech Extracts equips all extractor vessels over 100 Liters with robotic lid handling included.

pump flow

Our Pumps are Sized for Optimal Performance

pump flow

Pump Flow

The perfect sizing was done after the analysis of a million dozed processes data tag and efficiency evaluation. You can see the results of our efforts in this surface plot.

In our systems we’ve found the best combination of Process Pressure, CO2 Flow / Extractor Volume ratio and Efficiency of the process. So for each extractor volume we use the most efficient pump, keeping in mind an optimum process pressure. In fact, for our volumes, the best CO2 pump flows are:

  • 5 L Canister = 25 kg/h of flow
  • 10 L Canister = 50 kg/h of flow
  • 20 L Canister = 100 kg/h of flow
  • 100 L Canister = 500 kg/h of flow
  • 200 L Canister= 1000 kg/h of flow
  • 500 L Canister = 2500 kg/h of flow

Although the CO2 flow/extractor volume ratio is not a scientific parameter to evaluate the extraction kinetic of chemical compounds (we use kg CO2/kg raw material or, for specific compounds, its real solubility per kg CO2 flowed), it is considered good enough for initial sizing.

double extractor

Double Extractors for Semi-Continuous Extraction

The double extractor system gives you a great advantage: semi-continuous extraction. This kind of extraction means that the process never stops.

Semi-continuous extraction reduces downtime and bacterial contamination in the system. The CO2 flows continuously in the circuit, this Avoids Accumulation of Dirt and Bacteria. In the semi-continuous extraction process, the extraction begins with the extractor 1 and proceeds with the extractor 2. Then from the extractor 2 it proceeds to the extractor 1 and so on. It never stops until the production manager decides to clean the system.

double extractor

The semi continuous process gives many advantages:

  • The CO2 is always circulating: bacteria and dirt don’t deposit in the circuit.
  • The fast closing system reduce to 5 minutes unlading/reloading the canisters.
  • The production per day is increased of 25% if it’s compared to a single extractor system.
  • With 25% higher output per day, the return on the investment is greatly advantaged.
cyclonic separator

Our Cyclonic Separator Uses Centrifugal Force

cyclonic separatorThe cyclonic separator is different compared to the gravimetric separator — while S1 works by gravity force, S2 works by centrifugal force. The fluid moves very quickly, creating a vortex inside the vessel. The fluid continues to spin and the particles of extract begin to separate moving toward the walls of the separator, sliding to bottom. This separator applies the cyclonic effect to separate fractions. The flow creates a cyclone inside this separator and all the compounds in the fluid are condensed along the internal walls of the vessel. The temperature of the walls determines which compound will be condensed.

With this operation, we can obtain lighter solutes, and clean up the CO2. Our machines are equipped with two cyclonic separators, which are separator 2 (S2) and 3 (S3). The first one (S1) is the gravimetric separator. S2 and S3 have one important difference:

  • Separator 2 is heated, therefore the condensation point is high and light lipid-soluble compounds are collected here.
  • Separator 3 is cooled, therefore the condensation point is very low and water and light water-soluble compounds are collected here
recycling with condensers

How Condensers Work to Recirculate CO2

The condenser is essential in CO2 recirculation. The condenser is a piece of apparatus or equipment that can be used to condense, or change the physical state of a substance, from its gaseous to its liquid state. We use a double-pipe configuration in small systems (up to 48-liter) and a shell and pipe configuration for industrial systems.

membrane pump

Why We Use Membrane Pumps

Our extractors don’t use piston pumps or compressors, we use diaphragm metering pumps only.

Although the cost is higher compared to a simple gas booster or piston pump, the advantages are considerable. In fact, diaphragm metering pumps are not affected by supercritical fluid because process fluids are completely separated from the mechanical part of the pump. Diaphragm metering pumps meet the highest requirements and demands of the chemistry, cosmetics, pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, or food and beverage industries. Some of most important advantages are:

  • High energy-efficiency ratio
  • Low maintenance costs
  • Extremely long service life for diaphragms

This video shows exactly how these membrane pumps work.

triple extractor

Triple Extractors for Semi-Continuous Serial Extraction

Triple Extractor
While in the simple semi continuous extraction the system is equipped with two extraction vessels, for semi-continuous serial extraction the system is equipped with three extraction vessels. Taking advantage of the typical flowers and leaves extraction kinetic, the intelligent automation of the system will apply a different extraction strategy.

triple extractorAs we see, most of the extract comes out in the first half of the extraction (120 minutes of a 240-minute total, or 60 minutes of a 120-minute total time). Starting from this data, the process program will apply a different approach, compared to other kind of extractor:

  1. After the first half of the extraction, we collected solute from extraction vessel E1, and for this reason, the CO2 isn’t more saturated by compounds like before.
  2. This means that CO2 can solubilize more compounds than what are available in extractor E1.
  3. So the system will put in series, from extractor E1 to extractor E2. Iin this way the CO2 from E1 (poor in solute and with high solvent power) can solubilize chemical compounds in E2, breaking down the time of extraction.
  4. Connecting E2 in series with E1, after the first half of the process, will give to the production manager the ability to recover the last 15% to 30% left in E1.
  5. After another 120 min, the solvent will extract the most of the compounds from E2, and so the system will put E2 and E3 in series, and then again E3 and E1, in an endless loop.

The serial semi-continuous automation program is completely different if it is compared with the simple semi-continuous. The advantage is clear: in the same amount of processing time we have results almost comparable to a double-sized system.


Rapid Opening/Closing in Less Than a Second!

Quick Closing System
Quick opening cover design needs only one-eighth of a turn rotation for sealing. Ideal for high-pressure operations requiring repetitive opening/closing. The “Clover Leaf” closure reactors provide maximum ease for quick opening or closing of the cover. The cover is simply inserted into the body and then rotated one-eighth of a turn. A safety locking pin is provided to insure that the cover is properly positioned and locked.

closureOne of the most difficult aspects is attaining a continuous feed of the solids and continuous discharge at high-pressure extraction vessels. Generally, the solid feed material is handled by using preloaded canisters. A quick opening closure that allows for rapid opening and closing is essential. Bolt closure is not safe and it takes a lot of time to open. On the other hand, cloverleaf cover opens in one second.

From the point of view of safety, the cloverleaf cover offers three safety systems operating at the same time:

  • The static pin: When the lid is in the closed position the operator introduces the safety pin in the vessel hole. Remove the pin to rotate the lid.
  • The dynamic pin: When the pressure builds up in the vessel, the cover moves up and the dynamic pin goes in the safety hole in the cloverleaf upper side. When the pressure is completely removed, the lid will go down, clearing the dynamic pin. Now the lid can rotate to open.
  • The electronic sensors: These control the correct position of the lid. If the sensors are not perfectly aligned, the process cannot start.