Bizzybee Ethanol Extraction
Equipment and Process
Ethanol extraction is performed in extraction systems that are built from the same rack-frames, columns, tanks, and Swagelok hardware that our hydrocarbon extraction systems are comprised of. The primary difference between using the two solvents recovery; ethanol is not recovered within the closed loop system in the way hydrocarbons are, therefore a pressurized collection vessel is not needed to gather the ethanol solution after extraction.
Ethanol systems are composed of material columns, solvent columns, and/or solvent tanks arranged on one or more rack-frames. The number and arrangement of these columns or tanks depends on the desired batch size and production scale.
Single rack systems (on a Quad or Hex rack) have an equal quantity of solvent and material columns paired together for a proper ratio of liquid solvent to dry material. Solvent and material are chilled with liquid CO2 and nitrogen vapor is used to push ethanol over the material.
Multi rack systems have solvent columns and material columns on separate racks. This allows the solvent rack to remain stationary while in use, refrigerating solvent, meanwhile the material rack may be moved to be emptied and reloaded more conveniently. Because the material rack is mobile, a single system with two or more material racks can swapped out for extremely efficient back to back runs, that lack the down time usually caused when material columns are unloaded and repacked for the next run.
Larger systems incorporate ASME ground tanks and material columns for larger throughput. These larger vessels require a chiller to cool their jackets instead of liquid CO2.
This leads to the next generation of extraction, industrial scale batch size and continuous feed extraction, which incorporates multiple phases of extracting biomass, including liquid-solid separation, winterization, solvent recovery, and distillation. Contact our Custom Solutions Department for more information.
Basic Standard Operating Procedure
The solvent columns, tanks, and material columns of our ethanol extraction systems are operated with a SOP similar to our Live Resin BHO system setups.
Solvent and material columns are chilled to winterization solution during the extraction; this eliminates the need for post-extraction dewaxing or carbon scrubbing. Both ethanol and material are chilled to -60F by use of liquid CO2 in the column jackets, or on a larger scale, with a chiller and jacketed solvent tanks. It takes roughly 20 minutes to chill a column down to operating temperature.
Nitrogen vapor pressure is added to the solvent vessel to push the cold solvent into and through the cold material columns. The extract can be collected in a food grade bucket or tank. It only takes a few minutes to pass the solvent over the material with minor soaking. Yield is dependent on starting material.
Nitrogen vapor pressure pushed over the material after extraction will help remove liquid solvent left in the material. The material is discharged from the column by being pushed out the bottom or, if it was loaded in a material column sock, can be pulled out of the top. This latter option makes for quick and easy column reloading.
The next step in the process is to distill the ethanol out of the extracted solution. We build a Falling Film Evaporator for large scale and continuous ethanol recovery. Please see our EVAPORATION page for more information.