Your favourite methods for Ethanol Extraction (Hemp)

When it comes to Butane/Propane or CO2 extraction its pretty strait forward what methods you need to adhere by, due to the nature of the solvent. When it comes to ethanol its a bit different. I hoping to compile a list of all the major ethanol extraction techniques and why we use them. Now I know every situation is different and that seems to be what dictates why people choose their process. Hopefully this will help me and other navigate this simple, but easily over complicated process.

To get the ball rolling I’ll list the methods I have looked at using but since I have not performed any of these yet I can’t say which I prefer:

Delta Centrifuge Extractor - Off the shelf compliance, extractor and Centrifuge all in one. Expensive for its capacity and not really scalable.

**Pinnacle Extraction Skid" - Off the shelf compliance, larger capacity. Expensive, and still needs a centrifuge or Press to recover Ethanol.

Large Batch Reactor/Mixer - Custom built to size, reactors are cheap, can used with a blender style mixer to ensure saturation, easily scalable. Might not be compliant with fire codes or pier reviewed, Hard to filter biomass out of solution from ground up material, need centrifuge or press to recover biomass.

Mixer/reactor with filter bags of biomass - Cheap to set up, easy to scale, don’t have to filter out biomass, Don’t have to remove ethanol from mixer to add more washes. Hard to ensure saturation, need more expensive slowly geared mixer, Time to fill and un fill bags, May not be compliant or pier reviewed, needs centrifuge or press to reclaim ethanol.

Spool Style Extractor - Cheap to set up, does not need electrical parts, can be run using compressed air or nitrogen, easily scalable, most efficient use of ethanol set up in counter current flow, possible to purge ethanol out of the material using air/nitrogen (not sure of efficiency. Most likely not pier reviewed, might not be compliant, time consuming to pack and unpack columns, might still need a centrifuge or press to reclaim Ethanol.

If you have other methods please add them, if you have worked with these methods please share your experience.


Counter current auger


Any one making that auger style extraction unit? That looks wonderful and seems like it would be pretty easy to make continuous flow overall

Edit - Looks like that picture is directly from GEA’s page for their Contex Extractor. Anyone used this before? Gonna go ahead and ask them for a quote

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Given how GEA prices things I’d be shocked if it wasn’t north of $500k.
It’ll be beautifully engineered and look amazing in your plant, but probably won’t be justifiable unless you’re in the multiple thousands of pounds per hour processing range. Remember you still need to deal with the solvent when you’re done with it after the extraction - the extractor is one small piece of the puzzle overall.
If you’re spending 8+ figures on a facility, go GEA for sure.


That makes sense overall. Thanks for the info! I really appreciate it! Still intrigued to hear back on a quote from them. It would be great if someone made a scaled down version of this for the average lab but also looks like a lot of work on the engineering end of things. But looks like this set up with a large FFE unit would be super effecient.

That type of processing doesn’t make sense once you scale it down - it’s way too expensive, like using a wiped film for ethanol recovery.

I got quotes above 600k for wiped film units that would do 500L/hr.

Does it work? Yes. The best way to spend your money? Almost certainly not.

Depending on your scale, basket style centrifuges are probably the smartest option available on a cost/throughput basis.


Agreed. Through Deutsche Process I have 2 separate customers using their large slurry bucket tek offering. The first unit was on display at MJBizCon and is going to the facility in NC as we speak.

$750k for a turnkey, cold, flower to crude option. 250lbs flower/hr

Last year they quoted us at north of $2m and the counter current auger was part of the system. I made the same suggestions as have been made here, and they agreed bucket tek with a separate centrifuge was a better solution for the scale


Yeah Deutsche Process definitely seems to make some incredible equipment, I plan on using them in the future but their 20+ week lead time is definitely something that needs to be planned around. Although taking that long definitely makes sense with how custom and well engineered each of their setups look

That Deutsche set up and MJBizCon was quite impressing.
When these large scale guys are doing bucket tek style extraction what size are they milling the hemp to get the best results in terms of extraction and efficiency?

Most seem to be in the 1-3mm range, with 2mm being super common among those I’ve personally talked to. We’re specifying 1.5-2mm for the companies that are sending us milled product.


Dolphin Centrifuge I believe makes one.