Hybrid distillation rig

@future got me thinking along the lines of steam disitllation. I use the term “steam co-distillation” because it is how I learned to say it. It means the same thing in this context.

I have seen of course the commercial rigs out there for vacuum distillation that have multiple necks. I have been asked by local producers to help decide the right solution though I always decline the offer. Let me though offer an idea for a hybrid distillation that would require no significant alteration in most cases to the rigs I have seen yet could potentially lower process temperatures to levels that terpenes and other compounds like chlorophyl, waxes and the like do not break down into nasty thermal degredation byproducts.

The hybrid would take a multi neck flask that would take the steam injector. A thermometer well is perfect and removing the thermometer is fine for this operation. Then disconnect the vacuum fitting to the cow receiver so the rig is vented. Then raise the compound temp to approximately 125C. At that point with stir bar spinning and so forth then the steam injecter once running fast with steam would be inserted into the thermometer well just barely above the stir bar but as far into the puddle as otherwise possible. This would strip volitiles pretty quick. The trick is not simply to introduce steam but to introduce it at the highest possible velocity. An evacuation tube is great because it tapers to a point near the end and naturally accelerates the gas this way. Gas velocity is directly related to success. The wind has to blow hard to pick up tumbleweeds.

Then run the steam distillation until the terp fraction has finished crossing. At that point a swap of catch bulbs and reconfiguring for vacuum would take only moments and since the water present is already gas or nearly so then purge is no issue. The vacuum pump would rid the compound of water vapor with a minimum of fuss if the temp cited above is used. At that point the rig would be returned to vacuum distillation mode and for a vertical distillation unit this means of course higher boiling flask temps to create the thermal stack needed for fractioning. Then vacuum distill the now deoderized compound with the added benefit that vacuum distillation temps can be lower now in general and thermal decomposition products and terpenes are nearly non existant at the beginning of cannabinoid seperations via molecular distillation.

Ideas?

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can I just throw freshly harvested biomass in it? (isn’t that how mint works?)

It has to do with surface evaporation and the ability of the water vapor to make contact with the molecule of interest. Mint is chopped up and such at harvest and the heat of the steam can make the oil flow out of the biomass or it can incorporate a press too but the steam must be rocketing past the exposed volitile as a gas to carry it away.

If you toss plant matter in then it will not extract anything per se but could be made to cook it out I suppose. It must evaporate at the surface though in order for the steam to then give it a ride out. It is hard to imaging steam extracting from plant matter the cannabinoid very well if it is bound up in a plant matrix. Surface evaporation and contact with the steam must occur. I have walked miles in mint fields carrying god aweful heavy irrigation pipes and can tell you that mint oil is exposed easily by crushing and such. Changing a set of pipes leaves your legs and arms smelling minty fresh.

I would personally not try to develop the tech to extract and distill cannabinoid by steam. The mint guys had it figured out but those machines were huge and had been developed over generations just for mint.

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I wish there was a drawing to support this theory. sounds awesome.

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