What is Cryogenic Ethanol Extraction & What Equipment Do You Need?


Precision Team


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    In the CBD extraction business, you have a lot of options to turn to when it comes to extraction. Depending on the size of your operation, the skill of your technicians, and the end product you want to create, you have a variety of options to choose from.

    One increasingly popular option is cryogenic ethanol extraction. A safe, easy-to-scale option for CBD extraction, it has become a force to be reckoned with in the processing community.

    We’ll dive into the basics of cryogenic ethanol extraction, as well as the equipment you will need to get started!

    Cryogenic Ethanol Extraction Basics

    How it Works

    First, the ethanol is cooled to subzero temperatures. To be classified as “cryogenic,” liquid nitrogen is used to cool the ethanol to a minimum of -20 degrees celsius.

    Meanwhile, dried biomass which has been milled to the appropriate particle size fills a large reusable material basket and is loaded into the centrifuge.

    Then, the ethanol is combined with the cannabis plant in the extractor. This separates the cannabinoids from the cellular structure of the biomass.

    Centrifugal force is then utilized to separate the ethanol (which now contains the desired cannabinoids) from the biomass. The cannabinoid rich ethanol is collected in a separate container after the extraction is complete.

    There is an optional step to filter out additional small particles and waxes left behind. However, many people find that this step is not necessary, as cryogenic extraction typically results in a pure end product without the need for additional winterization or filtration steps.

    The final step is to distill or evaporate this extracted product, which results in a pure distillate that is ready to be used in your desired end product, including vape pens, edibles, oils and more.

    Benefits of Cryogenic Ethanol Extraction

    Faster Process

    One of the biggest benefits of cryogenic ethanol extraction is that it is a much faster process, and therefore more efficient, than other extraction processes. It’s completed in just hours, as opposed to days, since it can bypass steps like winterization.

    Lower Explosion Risk

    Because no high pressure system is required, cryogenic ethanol extraction has a lower explosion risk than some other forms of CBD extraction, which can also be difficult to operate. Cryogenic extraction utilizes ethanol, which is safer than butane because of its lower boiling point, and doesn’t require as many safety restrictions in its use and storage.

    Easily Scalable

    Cryogenic ethanol extraction is also an easily scalable solution for your growing business. Centrifuges can come in a variety of sizes, and it’s relatively easy to add additional units or swap a larger unit if your business grows and you need to scale. In addition, ethanol solvent is cheaper than butane, and it can also be stored more easily with fewer restrictions and safety precautions which can reduce your licensing complexity.

    Cryogenic Ethanol Extraction Equipment

    The most commonly used piece of equipment for cryogenic ethanol extraction is a centrifuge. A centrifuge encapsulates the entire primary extraction process.

    At its simplest, a cryogenic centrifuge contains a rotating basket that spins at incredibly high speeds (around 1,500 RPM), which separates the cannabinoids from the plant using ethanol at a subzero temperature.

    At Precision Extraction, we have two centrifuge products for you to choose from. For cryogenic (low temp) extraction at a mid to large scale volume, our C-40 Centrifuge is the best choice. It can process up to 40 lb per run every 10–20 minutes and boasts 98% removal of cannabinoids and 97% removal of solvent. The C-40 features multi-function jacketed housing supporting either liquid coolant or vacuum insulation, allowing for a low temperature rating to -40°C. Technicians can quickly get down to temperature and stay there in order to mitigate the winterization post-processing requirements.


    Additionally, the C-40 is C1D1 compliant, features UL Listed electronics, and is approved for sale in the U.S. and all Canadian provinces. All centrifuges are sold as a complete system, including chillers, pumps and tanks — making your purchasing and installation truly turn-key! Are you ready for cryogenic ethanol extraction? Talk to a Precision expert today! 

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