Will CO2 extractors last in the industry?

Just curious on everyone’s opinion on this topic. I see way more CO2 machines for sale now more than ever and I know this isn’t because people are making a profit from selling their used machines. Aside from being able to produce halfway decent terpenes from dry plant material relatively quickly, I see little to no other useful applications for supercritical CO2 IMO. Now that advanced methods have taken foot in the industry does anyone still feel there is a lasting place for CO2 extractions in the cannabis space? I’d be very curious to hear any and all opinions the community may have?

ALSO as a side note… anyone interested in buying a used Apeks transformer that may or may not have been modified to run cold ETOH for cannabinoid extractions? I know a guy… hahaha


My experience with co2 is long run times and poor yields. Majority of people thought it was “safer” than hydrocarbon but that sales pitch only lasted so long. Hydrocarbon is hard to beat when done right, just my opinion though!


110% agreed


Yes. Once converted to chilling apparatus for hydrocarbons.


hahahaha that doesn’t count dude! OK fine I guess it does kinda. Good idea! Although I don’t think companies like Apeks and IES got into the game just to become glorified solvent chillers. :joy:


I would put my money on all those co2 machines being setup for a terp strip processes in the near future.

For final extracts they are to easily beat by hydrocarbons.


Agreed. That’s literally all I use mine for. I would still argue terpenes from a hydrocarbon extraction are better quality.


Do you feel like you get more or less volume of terpenes from co2 vs hydrocarbons?

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Anyone saying this just hasn’t run the right CO2 equipment. Thar and PhaseX have CO2 dialed in big time. PhaseX even does chromatography with CO2. CO2 is 100% legit if set up right.


In that case, I’d say hydrocarbons is 120% legit if set up right. CO2 is limited to, well … CO2.


Dunno if you are familiar with Federal Hemp but they have a crazy massive hexane extraction facility. All extraction methods are scalable if done right.


Interesting. I’d like to hear more from the opposing side. If I may ask you a few more questions to get a better sense of things. What are your run times? What are the yields you’re seeing? How much downtime does your machine see (cleaning ect)? and finally What end products do you target?

I have found the same to be true my friend!

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I don’t work at Thar or PhaseX but their run times are two hours no matter the size column you are running and they got up to 1500 lb columns I believe. They have a 90% cannabinoid retention rate generally. The columns are removed by machine and reload by machine so very minimal downtown. They processed 100,000 lbs for us in three months while doing other projects.

As far as hexane goes you’d have to talk to those guys.


Agreed but here specifically I am focusing on how yields, speed, and separation ability. From my experience running CO2 (6 years) I can confidently say CO2 only covers 2 of the 3 I listed above. Sure It is good a separating the terps, but that’s about all I’ve found to be true. Also the cost to scale something like CO2 to federal hemp’s level would be astronomical from my understanding. I mean new systems that only run 5 lbs in 24 hours are going for over 150K. I couldn’t imagine trying to run metric tons of biomass through CO2. Maybe I am missing something, so feel free to push back on anything I’ve said.

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It’s all about how you build your facility. If you talk to the folks at Thar they would be more than happy to explain :slight_smile:


The chromatography with CO2 is interesting. I’ve heard of people doing this but never tried myself. Thank you for your input friend!


I would tend to believe hydrocarbons still preform better in this area. My terpene yields on CO2 only range from 0.5%-1.2%ish.


Supercritical propane in a co2 rig would be my go to with those columns lol lol


That’s interesting. I’ve never considered using supercritcal hydrocarbons. Only problem I could see is the heat required to get to a SC state. Looks like propane crosses into the SC region at 97C which is a tad hot for most extractors. Nonetheless I found this interesting blog post with videos. Thanks for your input! peter's tinkering: Supercritical Propane.