Supercritical CO2 extraction is often portrayed as being expensive, complicated and maintenance-heavy. And with typical configurations relying on specialized pumps, complex heat exchangers and specialized infrastructure, these preconceptions are usually correct. However, when a "back to basics" approach is applied to small-scale extraction, and where the target compounds reside of the surface of the plant, effective supercritical CO2 extraction can be achieved without these complexities and their associated expenses. For an interesting CO2 phase-change video click

How does it work?

Other systems employ mechanical pumps and heat exchangers to control the process and this adds to the expense, complexity and maintenance of such systems. The Mini uses an elegant patent-pending process employing heat differentials to control the extraction process. 

What is the extractor capacity?

Up to 2 ounces of properly-prepared raw material.

What is the "yield"?

Yield-by-weight and yield-by-target-compound are not the same thing. Once most the target compounds have been extracted, if the raw material is subjected to additional runs more extract may accumulate in the collector - but there may not be much target compound in it because most of the target compounds have already been extracted. After the target compounds are extracted, the CO2 (or any solvent for that matter) will continue to dissolve compatible non-target compounds, and while these compounds may increase the yield-by-weight, they do not increase the yield-by-target-compound. Actually, adding non-target extract to target extract simply dilutes the target compound content in the overall mix.

What is the yield of CO2 vs. other solvents?

Generally speaking the yield-by-active-compound of CO2 is similar to other solvents such as butane or ethanol. HOWEVER, because the CO2 doesn't extract as many non-active compounds, the yield-by-weight by CO2 will usually be less. 

How much extract can I expect to get?

Assuming fully-dry, fully-decarbed, properly ground, high-quality raw material, and proper extraction process, between 12-14% by weight. Lower quality raw material will yield less. Because there are less target compounds to extract as the extraction process proceeds, the amount of extract-per-unit-of-CO2 will decline as the process continues.

Extractions are affected by:

a) humidity - moisture will reduce the amount of extract and may make the extract "greenish" in colour as the moisture dissolves chlorophyll. Very dry raw material is best (see "decarbing" below);

b) grind - if the grind is too fine, the raw material may "cake" under pressure, obstructing CO2 contact and transport. On the other hand, if the grind is too coarse, the extractor will not hold much raw material. Because the raw material may consist of various different parts of the plant, experimentation is required;

c) plant section - due to genetics, all parts of the same plant will yield the same "quality" of extract. However, the "quantity" will vary significantly by section;

d) decarboxylation ("decarbing") - a carboxl group in a molecule can decrease that molecule's solubility in CO2. Removing the carboxyl group by applying heat may increase the solubility and result in higher yield per Cycle. Generally speaking, raw material heated to 240F for 30 minutes will be satisfactory. Decarbing also helps to fully dry the raw material. There are many articles about decarbing on the Internet. See a decarb graph on the "Downloads and Pictures" page. 

How long does an extraction take?

A typical extraction would probably take 2-3 hours but your attention is only needed for approx. 30 minutes.

Do I have to monitor the extractor when it's operating?

Only when CO2 is being loaded, or released for extract collection. When the raw material is "soaking" it can be left alone indefinately. 

How much CO2 is used?

If you are using a closed-loop configuration, most of the CO2 is recaptured. For a VTA configuration, typically 5-7 lbs depending on where you stop.

How much maintenence is required?

As there are no moving parts, almost none. It's quiet too!

Is it closed-loop?

Using an innovative approach the system can be made effectively "closed-loop". Closed-loop configuration requires optional extra parts but significantly lowers the cost of CO2 .

What is the intended use?

This extractor is a general purpose essential oil extractor designed for personal use - it is not a commercial production product. 

Is there an operating manual and training?

Yes, a manual and operating videos are provided. Email/telephone support is free for 90 days.

Can I get a larger extractor?

A 6 oz. extractor is available for an additional $395.  

How long is the warranty?

One year (with the exception of o-rings).

Can I return it?

Yes, subject to a 15 day maximum time frame (the returned components must be received back by the Retailer within 15 days of receipt by the buyer - no extentions allowed) and subject to a 20% re-stocking charge. The components must be completely cleaned, undamaged and in the original shipping container. All return shipping/taxes/customs charges are the responsibility of the customer.
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