Supercritical CO2 extraction benefits
The supercritical CO2 extraction is, beyond all doubt, the best extraction technique available today. It is the best not only for the quality of its extracts, but also for the absence of contamination. For this reason, the exhausted matrix (flour, etc. ..) can be used without any fear, which is impossible for solvent extraction. It is the best for its rapid process (hours instead of days) and the presence of a reducing environment in which the oxidation can not occur. Is the best because it is the only true green technology: it does not pollute, there are no solvents or even exhausted to dispose of. It is the best because it is the only one that can transform waste products (which represent only a cost) in high value-added active ingredients that would otherwise be acquired by large pharmaceutical companies at a high price. For a long time, the poorest technologies (processes with chemical solvents) were more spread. But today we all realize the damage caused by chemical solvents to human health and very soon (in Europe since 2012) they will be banned worldwide. It is clear that today, from an economic standpoint, investment in traditional technologies that use chemical solvents has no future. The reasons for economic, technical and policy underlying the choice of technology proposal are the following:
Supercritical CO2 extraction benfits and versatility.
1) The characteristics of CO2 extraction technology are versatility combined with eco-friendly, acting in transformation processes on two different levels:
2) flexibility offered by SCF technology that can act on a wide range of process conditions and performs various processing stages (also in sequence). This quality can be used both in the extraction and fractionation process, getting new productions and products. Examples include: de-oiled meal, numerous extracts in co-extraction, extractions made in sequence (in a first phase apolar soluble compounds are extracted and sequentially in a second phase polar soluble compounds are extracted).
3) cost: in the beginning this technological approach could not offer many economies as the technology did not confer special benefits to the process. With the technological growth you can see the benefits of multi-purpose approach and the significantly improved production capacity. Furthermore, with the restriction in the use of organic solvents results from the EC, this technology shown its ability to bind to the quality of production even more economic efficiency. Technical factors that determine the SCF system cost are:
4) High production quality recognized by the whole market.
Consequences of the characteristics of SCF technology and its market position:
- multipurpose system and technological developments that on one hand have significantly improved the efficiency and productivity (continuous separation systems that leverage new enthalpy of the process and structured packing, can be removed in a series of water-soluble and fat-soluble compounds, techniques of co extraction possible due to the wide range of process conditions offered by the technology, continuous pasteurization at low temperatures) on the other hand have reduced the environmental costs (low cost of the “solvent” supercritical CO 2),
- low workers number related with the investment,
- encouraging the use of clean technologies and the significant limitations to the use of organic solvents (hexane).