Supercritical CO2 Extraction


Draco’s Advanced Supercritical CO2 Extraction Technology Offers Superior Ingredients

One of Draco’s many advanced technological capabilities is Supercritical CO2 Extraction.  Great for capturing the oil content in plants, as well as a wide range of other constituents, the Supercritical CO2 Extraction process uses semi-liquid-gaseous or supercritical carbon dioxide as a solvent to create high purity extracts of non-polar, lipid soluble bioactive compounds.  Because CO2 is non-toxic, non-flammable, and leaves no residues, it is eco-friendly, posing no risk for accidental release, or residual hazardous wastes.

Supercritical CO2 Extraction works via the principal of supercritical fluids, by which a gas such as CO2 is pressurized to 200 to 300 bars (1 bar is equal to one atmosphere of pressure) at normal or moderately elevated temperatures. Under these conditions, CO2 becomes a highly dense gas that behaves just like a liquid solvent and is able to permeate every part of the plant material to dissolve non-polar, lipid soluble compounds.

Because every compound has specific solubility and lipophilic characteristics, it is possible to fine tune pressure and temperature conditions to extract either a broad range of compounds, or a narrow choice of single compounds, if required.  For example, rosemary contains non-polar diterpenes that include carnosic acid and carnosol, but by tightly controlling the extraction parameters it is possible to extract just carnosic acid if it is needed for high purity applications.

Supercritical CO2 Extraction – Features

  • For non-polar, lipophilic compounds – as a complement to water extraction
  • Effectively extracts essential oils, carotenoids, terpenes, oil soluble vitamins, unsaturated oils, alkaloids
  • Oxygen-free atmosphere protects from oxidation
  • No solvent residues of hydrocarbon solvent extractions (hexane, acetone, etc…)
  • Better than cold pressing oils, which are exposed to sensitive-compound-damaging heat and oxidation
  • Low temperature process – could be as low as 31 ˚C
  • High efficiency extraction with no waste: exhaustive yield of bioactives from plant mass
  • Customizable –  Many different plant fractions are possible by changing T and P
  • Contaminant free – low extraction of heavy metals and in-organics
  • Bacterial inactivation – SCF sterilization
  • Non-toxic CO2 converts back into a gas after extraction and leaves no residue
  • CO2 is recycled internally – does not add to the burden of greenhouse gases

Examples of Supercritical CO2 Extracts

Following are just a few examples of Supercritical CO2 extract ingredient products made by Draco. We can produce a wide range of standard and custom products, so please inquire about particular botanicals.  Click an image to launch slideshow.

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Supercritical CO2 Extract Product Ideas