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Product Advice

WHY CHOOSE BUTANE/PROPANE (HYDROCARBONS) FOR BOTANICAL OIL EXTRACTION?

Why choose hydrocarbons, like butane and propane, as your preferred solvent extraction method? There is a lot to consider when deciding how you will extract the valuable oils from your plants. Safety, efficiency and yield are all important to your concentrate production.

SOLVENT VS. SOLVENTLESS EXTRACTION

While solvent-less products are gaining some traction in boutique concentrate markets, most consumers are not aware of these products. In general, solvent-based concentrates are more popular than solvent-less products. Solvent-based extraction can be performed at a much greater scale and regularly produces higher yields than solvent-less methods. The greater throughput and higher yield afforded by solvent-based extraction will allow you to keep up with market demands.

WHY USE BUTANE/PROPANE AS A SOLVENT?

Selecting a butane/propane solvent extraction system is the best choice for:

  • Efficiency
  • Throughput
  • Yield
  • End Product Versatility

EFFICIENCY AND THROUGHPUT

Hydrocarbon solvent extractions are fast. Supercritical CO₂ cycle times average 6 to 10 hours and typically have lower capacity than butane extraction systems

YIELD

 A hyrdocarbon extraction system provides the greatest yields by weight compared with all other extraction methods. Extraction yields are typically represented as a percentage of the weight of the input feed material. Extractions using butane tend to yield 14% to 25% (we’ve heard of up to 30%)! The yield greatly depends on the quality of the feed material. For example, buds will provide a higher yield than trim due to the higher concentration of trichomes. Also, genetic strains vary in the percentage of compounds present in the plant material, which will affect yield.

VERSATILITY

Butane/propane extracted oils can be used to create the greatest variety of end products compared with other extraction methods. For example:

  • Shatter and Premium Concentrates (Butane/propane extraction consistently produces the best shatter in terms of consistency and retention of the original plant aroma and flavor profiles)
  • Essential Oils
  • Infused Edibles
  • Infused Beverages
  • Capsules & Pills
  • Topical & Transdermal Products

SAFE TO CONSUME & ENJOY

Occasionally, you may hear health concerns over the residual butane or propane in products. However, almost all of the butane/propane solvents are reclaimed in the closed loop extraction process. After extraction, remaining solvent is removed in post processing  (e.g. such as with a vacuum oven) and reduced to very minimal, safe-for-consumption levels. Most jurisdictions require analytical product quality testing at licensed laboratories prior to a product being released to the general market for consumption. Products produced with our system routinely pass these tests.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) butane and propane are generally recognized as safe (GRAS) for use as a human food ingredient, as long as it does not exceed certain limits (FDA 21 CFR 184.1165 2015). Additionally, light hydrocarbon solvents including butane, propane and hexane, have been safely used in the food processing industry for over 60 years. These include cooking oils from oil seeds such as soybeans, corn, canola, and sunflower. In fact, light hydrocarbon solvents are more widely used for food processing than any other extraction solvent.

Butane and propane extracted oil products have won more High Times awards than products from all other methods of extraction! Hydrocarbon extraction processing equipment, maintains low temperatures during the extraction process, preserving the plant’s original aroma and flavor profiles, which results in delicious concentrates. Many super-critical CO₂ extraction systems, in comparison, separate the various fractions of the plant including, terpenes and flavonoids.  Oils derived through super-critical CO₂ extraction are often altered by re-combining these compounds in different ratios and even terpenes from other plants. Ethanol extraction is a very aggressive solvent that dissolves more undesirable parts of the plant (such as chlorophyll) and uses excessive heat resulting in terpene loss. This results in unpleasant flavors that need to be masked with strong flavorings or sugar.

SAFE

A professional closed loop extraction system installed into a properly ventilated environment is very safe. Certified systems are designed to fully recover the solvent, eliminating gas exposure to the surrounding environment. In some regulated areas Class 1 Division 1 Extraction Booths and rooms are required for butane/propane extraction to ensure an explosion proof working environment. An extraction room ventilates dangerous vapors and prevents the atmosphere from reaching the Lower Explosive Limit (LEL). Below the LEL, the solvent vapors are too “lean” to ignite.

Additionally, butane/propane extraction equipment operates at relatively low pressures that do not exceed 300 PSI. This contrasts with super-critical CO₂ extraction equipment with extreme operating pressures from 1,500 PSI up to 8,700 PSI! Hydrocarbon extractors are not subject to over pressurization failures found with CO₂-based systems. Extreme pressures present potential safety hazards that need to be mitigated.

In conclusion, butane/propane is the best choice for efficiency, throughput and higher yields. Butane/propane’s end product versatility allows you to create a wide range of safe to consume products including craft concentrates, vaporizer oils, and infused products of all types. Butane/propane extraction provides the most benefits compared with all other extraction methods. By selecting a certified closed loop extraction system and installing it in a properly ventilated environment, butane/propane extractions can be performed safely, ensuring long term profitability.

VACUUM PUMP USEAGE

  • Fill the pump with the oil that comes with the pump, the level should sit in the middle of the screen that is found at one end of the pump.
  • Depending on what pump you have, open the chimney or remove the bung, or the pump may overheat.
  • We recommend a maximum of 15 minutes to run the pump in total. It should take no longer than 5 minutes to pull a full vacuum, once you have pulled a full vacuum close the valve on the chamber and then turn off the pump.
  • Loosen the hose between the pump and chamber to stop oil being pulled into the pump.
  • After this initial pull, the vacuum can be maintained for up to 100 hours or longer but the pump itself can never be run continuously.
  • The chamber may lose a little pressure over a period of time, so simply turn on your pump and then open the valve on your chamber to pull a full vac again.
  • When using a vacuum pump with the chamber always ensure there is oil in the pump and that it is clean and changed regularly. If the oil gets dark it needs changing immediately.
  • Let the pump cool between uses and don’t have it running for prolonged periods of time (30-45 minutes).
  • Afterwards ensure the pump and chamber valves are turned off in the reverse order of how you turned them on and disconnect the hose. Otherwise you may pull oil from the pump into the chamber

BENEFITS OF A COLD TRAP

  • Keeps the vacuum oven clean
  • Keeps corrosive chemicals out of the vacuum pump
  • Collects terpenes and other volatile compounds
  • Achieve faster vac down time
  • Achieve deeper vacuum levels
  • Prevents oil from the vacuum pump entering the oven

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