Building my first ethanol extractor

Hello Future4200,
long time reader and first time poster. I’m a medical cannabis grower out of Nova Scotia. I am ready to put together an ethanol extractor. All of this will be at a pilot/hobby scale but I want to build with an intention of scaling. Washing 2-4lbs at a time.

I am a red seal welder with extensive exotic metal / high pressure experience (multiple ASME certifications). I have access to waterjet, machining equipment, full welding shop. I also get wholesale pricing on dry ice, so it seems the most logical method for chilling at my scale.

I implore you to poke holes in my design/thought process. I’d rather knock the kinks out ahead of time. I’ve done a number of runs via bucket tek and really want to apply my skillset to build some badass equipment. I definitely have large holes in my technical knowledge (I’m no chemist or thermodynamics whiz), but I can design and build anything out of metal and stainless is my specialty.

What I will build.

50L reflux still. Will use a 50L keg boiler with coil dephlegmator on top and secondary tubular heat exchanger.

25L jacketed vessel for material
Either a 6” or 8” jacketed spool with tri clamp caps with necessary plumbing. 6”x15” or 8”x8”

Chill product in vessel and then flood with chilled ethanol. Panda spinner for after draining.

I am using a lenticular filtration solution.

Pump will pull directly from vessel through filter into some sort of storage vessel (bucket, keg, tank).

At this point I want to recover my solvent, I know that the direct heat from my keg boiler burner will degrade my product.

But I’m wondering if I can use that same jacketed vessel and cycle hot water/steam to heat solution evenly and use my reflux column + vacuum to recover solvent.

Ps here’s a water distiller I built a few months back.


Glad to hear that you are building

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I’d jacket your still, use either a flame burner or a high temperature resistance oil with a coil inside. If you really want to preserve oil you can run it under vacuum.

Creating an evaporator from your tube might be kind of interesting, easy to run under vacuum if you wanted.

. I’d recommend making a base or cap for when the column is in evaporation mode, that has a long hot coil running through the middle. That way you’re massively increasing surface area.

I’m in need of a welder… And I’m pretty darn good at this ethanol extraction. You coming to Vancouver anytime soon? :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


Hey Tweedle, I like the sound of high resistance oil with coil. I could just cut a chunk out of top of keg install coil and slip in a pipe (with bottom welded on) with diameter of my choice. It would also give me the opportunity to use 316 where it would actually be touching my solvent/material.

You’re saying a coil right up my reflux column? That could definitely be done. Normally thats packed tight with steel wool for more surface area.

I come out to the west coast every once and awhile (I’m a skibum living in the wrong part of the country).

Two separate solutions.

1)Coil would be in the tube if you were using the product tube as the evaporator.

  1. Or put oil/steam jacketing around the boiler base if you’re using the still for alcohol recovery
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Got you. Both are good ideas.

I think the boiler is a little big for my recovery needs at this point. But that could definitely change and I’ll be happy I built it suitable for the task.

I will jacket the product tube and make a ferrule fitting cap with rolled coil that will submerge in vessel. Easy enough.

ps - I peeped your setup, I’d make that trip! Damn.

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Any opinions on using this as my solvent recovery unit. It’s a soup cooker.

Indirect heat with jacketed vessel… cut the top 1” off and, water jet stainless lid, weld on ferrule and mount reflux stack.

Sorry about horrible photo angles, it was jammed in between some gear.