Utilizing a blend of butane and propane, i.e. “blended solvents”, can provide your light hydrocarbon extraction process with the capability to skillfully manipulate the quality and consistency of your output product.
Many top extraction producers opt for a 70% butane/30% propane blend for shatter and budder based extractions. This allows the solvent to extract a fuller terpene profile and generally contributes to a lighter color of lower viscosity than a 100% butane extraction. In some instances, labs opt to use 100% propane for specialty products like high terpene extractions or sugar consistency extract products.
There are many things to keep in mind when extracting via a propane or mixed solvent blend. Notably, the difference in required pressure and coinciding temperatures must be taken into consideration.
Butane’s boiling point is -1°C which makes controlling the amount of vapor pressure relatively easy in a butane-only extraction as that temperature is achievable with a small amount of cooling power. However propane’s boiling point is -43°C, which requires much higher vapor pressure and cooling when running at temperatures higher than -43°C.
The volatility of propane allows for the operator to distill the solvent with little to no energy needed. This translates to a much faster recovery time than butane. Note that blending solvents does not accelerate recovery time. Rather, recovery is subject to the solvent with the slowest recovery time, i.e., butane.
Using propane provides many benefits for the processor and the end consumer. Because of its low boiling point, it is easy to purge in vacuum ovens and will take very little time and heat to remove from the end product. Also, propane tends to extract lighter compounds from the plant material such as terpenes. This increase will be significant based on the quality of your input material and hydrocarbon mixes (i.e., higher propane mixes result in higher terpene output). This will also effect consistency as terpene’s viscosity is very low thus making end products that are more syrupy.
As with most things, there is a point at which too much of a good thing can sometimes be bad. Pure terpenes themselves tend to be very caustic and volatile. Hence, there is a point at which an extremely high percentage of terpenes can irritate the end user’s throat and simply be too copious for enjoyable consumption. Therefore, with a keen eye on the end product in mind, utilizing an appropriate balance of blended solvent is fundamental in any extraction process.
Finding and maintaining such a delicate blend of solvents, pressures and temperature control to achieve a unique, consistent and enjoyable concentrate is as much art as it is science.
Hence, trial and error and, preferably, education in advance extraction methods is key to producing the world’s finest cannabis concentrates.
Cannabis Extraction Equipment & Training Matters
As always, utilize only hydrocarbon extraction equipment that is suitable and certified for the desired solvent application, for the safety of the operator and the benefit of the end consumer of your brand of extracts. Professional training in basic and advanced cannabis oil extraction methods and techniques is available from Precision® Extraction Solutions.
Precision® extraction equipment utilizes hydrocarbon solvents, the most efficient method to commercially extract oil from hemp and cannabis plants, including CBD, THC and terpene compounds, for medical and other applications. Hydrocarbon extraction is a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved method of extracting botanical oils. Precision® extraction systems are certified in all regulated jurisdictions for safe, effective operation and the production of superior concentrates.
Precision® extraction systems are also 3A food processing compliant and all our extraction processing equipment is manufactured with the end consumer in mind, built to the highest standards in the industry, with sanitary food grade stainless steel. Insist on safe, quality oil and extracts… Made with Precision®