What is Solvent Recovery?
Solvent recovery is the process of extracting target products from waste or by-product solvents generated during the manufacturing process.
Solvent recovery serves 2 key purposes:
- Reduce and eliminate waste from the target product: which helps save money and is environmentally friendly
- More importantly, it serves to remove potentially hazardous substances from the primary processed material
Chemical solvents, especially in the commercial cannabis industry, are expensive. The high cost of solvents makes solvent recovery an ideal way to save money. Not only is solvent a major processing expense, but resources must also be devoted to proper handling, storage, and disposal of any waste if the solvent is not used efficiently. Solvents such as hexane, ethanol, and isopropyl alcohol that are used in cannabis extraction processes can be recovered for recycling and later use.
Solvent recovery can be done by several methods including:
2. Azeotropic distillation
3. Rotary evaporation
In the cannabis market they use 3 main extraction techniques: CO2, liquefied hydrocarbons, and ethanol extraction. In CO2 and ethanol extraction processes, the plant material is subjected to a solvent to remove active compounds from the plant matter and filtered to yield a solution of the solvent and plant extracts.
All solvent recovery methods yield an oil once the solvent has been removed. This oil can contain plant lipids, chlorophyll, waxes, fats, terpenes, and other cannabinoids. The resulting solution can be concentrated via vacuum distillation.
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