Ethanol Penetrating Power vs. The Need To Grind Biomass?

Are y’all grinding your biomass for EToH extraction?

I’ve seen discussions of “which grinder at different scales”, “efficient way to grind” etc… But nothing about the actual necessity of this step itself?

i.e. Nobody seems to call out the NEED or STEP for grinding their biomass in the popularly circulated SOPs so curious if the rest of the community is actually doing this? Or maybe it’s law of diminishing returns re: time + SOP of grinding at scale VS. negligible increase in yield?

Historically, we’ve ground our bio because when dealing with whole flower or even trim + popcorn, the flowers themselves become dense and compressed, especially when dried and stored in bales at large volumes.

Our reasoning for the grind is that EToH does not easily penetrate these dense flower structures, especially given reasonably short solvent residence times. Even when only 1/4" popcorn size - grinding “opens” these dense flowers up exposing the desirable compounds inside making more surface area for the ethanol to easily strip from.

Curious the opinion of the community on EToH penetrating power vs. the need to grind.


No grind just break it up some

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I think the other point is if you grind the material you can fit more in per run.


My last wash I did aprox 13.5lbs material. At least 11lbs was machine (twister t4) trim, the rest was flower/popcorn. I did not break up the popcorn (forgot). After spin drying the biomass, the popcorn nuggets were still popcorn nuggets. I opened them up, and kicked myself in the ass for not breaking them up. The entire center of the popcorn was untouched bulky the ethanol. Even though I did a cryo 40min soak.

I prefer my twister teim, as with my own ethanol wash sop, I dont pick up any nasties.

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They’ll embarrass the hell outta ya every time then damn nuggets

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Do you find that long of a soak to be worthwhile? I’m running similar tech but was considering lightly agitating and a shorter soak time.

I wonder how much pressure would be required to penetrate a nug of “average” density…

I don’t have hard numbers for this to say what is best, there’s definitely a tradeoff between agitation intensity and time and how much undesirable compounds you pull compared to the cannabinoids you’re after, and it changes hugely depending on the temperature of your solvent, biomass and extraction vessel.

I theorize that you can pull a significant % of your TAC if you let the nug sit in the solvent for a long enough time, I suspect most of us are willing to take a bit lower extraction efficiency if it gets us higher lbs/day processing, or agitate solvent to speed the extraction along. At any significant scale letting biomass steep in ethanol for 8+ hours with or without agitation will absolutely kill your throughput numbers though.

OP, I’ve seen biomass come across our facility everything from a high percentage of hard nugs, maybe even “smokable” grades to nothing but stems and broken up sugar leaves, if there’s nothing to break up further no point in it going through a shredding/grinding process but if you want to break it up best to have a consistent process so you can get good data to build and adjust your process with.

I do a 30-40min cryo soak in all my material now to ensure I get all the thc stripped.

Used a paint paddle used for paint stirring this time. Makes it so easy to agitate the biomass soaking.

Had a helper this time. Banged out 40lbs in about 3.5hrs. Just washing, no filtering. I did that yesterday in under 3 hrs @33 gallons

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I’ve been presented with a documented experiment showing that 100% extraction with EtOH is entirely possible in full bud form, and that grinding results in needless introduction of impurities. I can’t share the data though sadly.

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I grind mine and stuff it in a bag for the cup15 to do its thing. I am currently trying different times, rpms, and temps to see what works best. Just dosent seem like im getting out what I should. :person_shrugging:t2:

Honestly, I’d like to try pushing -80 ethanol through a packed column of biomass at significant pressure and flow to see how it compares to soaking.

Edit: Bottom up flow path, go from a 4" column to an appropriately sized expansion chamber that will allow enough of a pressure drop for an FFE vacuum pump to keep up.

Edit2: I guess this would be roughly comparable to closed loop butane but using sub-cooled ethanol.

Does anyone have data on ethanol/oil saturation points at various temperatures and pressures?

Did you extract a second time on the popcorn nuggets?

I only do 1 wash. My wash time is 30mins, max of 40 at cryo temps.

Another thing grinding helps is uniform particle size

Can you share how long soaked and what temperature?
Thanks, understand of course if you can’t.

Sadly no