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What is Supercritical Fluid Extraction?

An affordable solution, Supercritical Fluid Extraction using CO2 is a perfect choice.

Carbon dioxide has fantastic solvency power as a supercritical fluid

Supercritical Fluid

Supercritical Fluid refers to a state that is achieved above a certain critical temperature and pressure where the liquid and vapor phases become miscible.

Supercritical carbon dioxide is a fluid form of carbon dioxide obtained where it is held at or above its critical temperature (Carbon Dioxide (CO2) becomes supercritical at 31.1 degrees Celsius) and critical pressure (87.98 F and 1073 psi, respectively).

Supercritical fluids appear as a compressed gas; therefore, supercritical fluids are similar to a liquid with elevated density and low compressibility and, at the same time, they are similar to a gas with elevated diffusivity and low viscosity. There is no surface tension as there is no definitive state boundary between liquid and vapor. This allows Supercritical Fluid to penetrate into small pores that are inaccessible by liquids.

Supercritical fluids have lower viscosities and higher solute diffusivities than liquid solvents, thus enhancing mass transfer of extractants. It is also believed to increase the fluidity of the cell membrane, enhancing its permeability and facilitating extraction of membrane components such as phospholipids.


Supercritical Fluid Extraction (SFE)

Supercritical Fluid Extraction (SFE) is the process of separating using SCF as an extraction solvent to separate components of a matrix, whether solid (more common) or liquid.

SFE can be broken into a five-step process:

  1. Penetration of matrix
  2. SCF solubilizes the solutes inside the pores
  3. Intraparticle (or internal) diffusion of the solutes takes place until the external surface
  4. External (or film) diffusion of the solutes from solid-fluid interface to the SCF bulk
  5. Precipitation of target solutes in the trapping system by changing the pressure and/or temperature of the effluent.

Each part of the process has to be carefully optimized in order to obtain the desired quality and yield.

Depending on the fluid and equipment used, supercritical fluid processes can :

  1. Create a competitive advantage by raising technological barriers
  2. Optimize your manufacturing processes
  3. Provide a sustainable alternative to conventional production methods

Without the proper equipment rated for the proper pressures, creating quality CO2 extracted concentrates is incredibly difficult.

Subcritical Fluid Extraction

Review the science behind subcritical fluids