The Equipment and the Processes: Hydrocarbon vs Ethanol Extraction

Depending on the end products desired to be produced, the equipment, solvent and processes utilized vary substantially. Hydrocarbon (Butane, Propane and Pentane) solvent extraction is best for certain products and ethanol solvent extraction for others.

For Example:
Shatter, butter, live resin, sauce, THC-a crystalline and THC HTFSE (high terpene full spectrum extract) are not able to be produced utilizing ethanol as a solvent.

Other products, including but not limited to THC distillate, full spectrum CBD (THC free) CBD isolate, CBD distillate, and CBD full spectrum extract (low THC), are readily produced with ethanol, albeit utilizing different processes than hydrocarbon.

The chart below offers a comprehensive breakdown of products versus processes in cannabis and hemp extraction. We’ve provided definitions for the products and processes seen.

The Products Defined

A low quality primary solvent extract to be refined to make distillate.

A cannabis extract with a hardened and glass like consistency.

A cannabis extract with a cake batter type consistency containing a moderate amount of terpenes

Live Resin
A cannabis or hemp extract made with fresh frozen material generally in a butter like consistency containing a high amount of terpenes.

An extract that contains a mixture of THC-a isolate/crystals mixed with isolated terpenes.

THC Distillate
A distilled and isolated form of cannabinoids created via fractional distillation.

HTFSE (High Terpene Full Spectrum Extract)
An extract containing the highest possible amount of original terpenes normally in a syrup like consistency which may also contain naturally occurring THC-a crystallization forms.

Full Spectrum CBD (THC Free)
A CBD primary extract containing a full spectrum of cannabinoids and terpenes of which the THC level is undetectable.

CBD Distillate (THC Free)
A purified form of CBD obtained via fractional distillation having an oil like consistency.

CBD Isolate (THC Free)
The molecular isolate form of CBD obtained via crystallization.

Full Spectrum CBD (Low THC)
A CBD primary extract containing a full spectrum of cannabinoids and terpenes of which the THC level has tested below .3%.

The Processes Defined

There are many are reasons to utilize either hydrocarbon or ethanol for your solvent based extraction and  there is a solution for extraction operators who wish to utilize both hydrocarbon and ethanol.

The Precision® X10 MSE (Multi Solvent Extractor) provides the best of both worlds by extracting with hydrocarbon AND ethanol based solvents. Because it is ASME certified, the X10 provides the additional benefit of allowing for the use of pressures (up to 200 PSI) for the production of superior full spectrum cannabinoid and terpene removal. See PACEE below.

The Precision® X10 MSE

Precision X10 MSE Cannabis Extractor

  • Compatible for use with Butane, Propane, Pentane, and Ethanol
  • Ethanol Specifications:
    • Non-Volatile, EPR reviewed, Closed Loop, Type 6 process for licensed operations (when used with ethanol)
    • Pressurized Aqueous Cold Ethanol Extraction (PACEE) for superior full spectrum cannabinoid and terpene removal
    • 30L of ethanol used per run
    • 15L/h recovery rate with 50L UL listed rotovap
    • 2.25H processing time per run (single batch with full recovery)
    • 3H processing time (triple batch with full recovery)
    • Rated for low temp conditions (-40C or below recommended)
    • 8-15lbs per batch capacity (see yield matrix)
    • Certified for Class 1 Division 2 when ran with ethanol
    • 95%+ cannabinoid and terpene removal
    • N2 pressurized saturation compatible up to 200PSI for excellent solubility (ASME certified vessels)
    • Up to 3 runs per solvent batch
    • Full spectrum yields great for high CBD hemp products

See the X10 MSE product page for hydrocarbon and full specifications.

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