The state of a substance is called supercritical when both the temperature and pressure are above the critical point. This fluid (supercritical fluid), is in the region of large variation of the solvent properties which facilitates rapid mass transfer and faster completion of extraction. Its low viscosity allows the fluid to easily penetrate the botanical material to extract the active components. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is used in our process at liquid and supercritical conditions. CO2 is inert, easily available, odorless, tasteless, environment-friendly and generally regarded as safe.
To generate supercritical CO2, liquid carbon dioxide is pumped through a high pressure pump to bring it above the critical pressure. The temperature varies depending on the extraction needs and botanical being processed. This supercritical fluid passes through the extraction vessel dissolving the active compounds/extract. To separate the extract, the mixture extract/CO2 is passed through a separator reducing the pressure at which the CO2 becomes gas, dropping off the extract and vaporizing the CO2. The extract is recovered in the separator vessel. The CO2 leaving the separator is liquified in a condenser and sent to a buffer tank to be reused in the process.