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CO2 Extraction of Essential Oils

Our extractions employ simple pressurized CO2 gas; no harsh chemicals are used.

This is called Supercritical Fluid Extraction(SFE) and capitalizes on the ability for CO2 to act as a solvent when compressed/pressurized above the critical point. This technology offers advantages over other extraction methods in that CO2 itself is nontoxic, inexpensive, non- flammable and non polluting.

Extractions are generally performed at lower temperatures (below 90° F), thus preserving more of the constituent botanical elements and oxygenated compounds responsible for flavor and aroma.

With CO2 SFE, essential oils are extracted in a way that is safe, with organic solvent-free extracts having superior organoleptic profiles.

Supercritical fluid extraction has become very important in the field of extraction of food materials. It has advantages such as excellent mass transfer rates, ease of control of solubility, producing extracts free of solvents. CO2 is one of the most commonly used supercritical fluids. This is because it has low critical temperature (88° F) and critical pressure (1070 psi). It is abundantly available at low cost and is odorless, colorless, non toxic, non-flammable, non-corrosive in nature.

The extracts produced using CO2 sustain excellent shelf life because of the inert atmosphere of the process, leaving behind zero residual solvent. Indeed, supercritical CO2 acts as a germicide that kills pathogens responsible for deteriorating the quality of the oil or natural products. As a result, CO2-extracted essential oils are preferred by customers.

Example:  CO2 SFE is selective and efficiently extracts the essential oil from orange peel. Orange oil constitutes only 5% of the oxygenated compounds in the peel and can be difficult to recover using other extraction techniques.

SFE remains to this day the only efficient non-chemical means to decaffeinate coffee.

Today, just about any botanical product with flavor compounds can be extracted using CO2 SFE.

CO2 extraction technology is very gentle on the product and doesn’t leave any solvent residue in the extract, which is unavoidable with other extraction processes.

Apeks Supercritical