As the cannabis industry continues to grow and consolidate in favor of the most cost-effective operators, the demand for labor saving extraction equipment is on the rise. One of the biggest bottlenecks in the extraction process is solvent recovery. In order to save time, it is necessary to increase extract production rates. To achieve this, focusing on improving solvent recovery speed is a great place to start.
Here are 5 tips to help you to achieve faster solvent recovery on your closed loop butane extraction system or your ethanol extraction equipment.
1.) Increase Surface Area for Heat Transfer
The surface area where heat transfers into the evaporation process should be proportional to the volume of liquid that you intend to evaporate in a given time period. A good rule of thumb is 1 square meter per kilowatt of energy transfer. By increasing the surface area, you’ll dramatically improve your solvent evaporation and condensation rates.
2.) Right-Size Heating & Cooling Systems
It’s crucial to match the energy required to boil the liquid with the size of your heating system, and the same principle applies to the cooling system for condensing. A good rule of thumb is one kilowatt per gallon of ethanol, per hour. This will ensure that you have the right amount of energy to boil the butane or ethanol and increase solvent recovery speed.
3.) Learn about the Physics of Latent Heat
Knowing the physics of latent heat is essential to calculate your heating, cooling, and surface areas. If you need help with the calculations, Evolved Extraction Solutions offers engineering services to help you.
4.) Condensing is Key
Condensing is just as important as evaporating when it comes to solvent recovery. To see significant improvements, you must size your condenser to match the evaporation process. Surface area and the ability to handle the flow of liquid are both critical considerations for high rates of solvent recovery on the condensation side of the system. If you’re operating at scale, it may also be possible to exchange the heat generated by the condensing process with the cold temperature of the solvent coming into the evaporator. This way you can harness a free source of energy to warm up cold solvent before evaporating it.
5.) Consider Tradeoffs
Evaporating your solvent under vacuum can reduce the boiling point of butane, ethanol or heptane, but it also typically means you must condense the gas into liquid under vacuum as well, which may require a larger chiller. This tradeoff can be worth it if you’re trying to preserve terpenes, but it may not make sense in distillate production.
At Evolved Extraction Solutions, we offer a full range of extraction equipment and services to meet the needs of the cannabis industry. From solvent recovery systems for ethanol and butane extraction equipment you already have, to full closed loop extraction systems, we have you covered. Our cannabis processing equipment and cannabis facility design services can help you get a new facility or production line up and running. We can also help you upsize your existing extract production, including rate of solvent recovery by integrating into existing equipment. With a proven track record of success, you can trust us to provide industry-leading service