Extraction Labs: A Modular Approach, Blog 3 of 5 - Extraction Types and Cost

When it comes to how much it will cost for your hemp extraction lab, the simple answer is that it depends. There are a number of factors that go into the final price including the specific extraction procedures you plan to use, the required equipment, the expected safety measures, and local regulations. However, when you work with Linked Equipment, you are investing in the production of a final extraction lab that is a turnkey solution to all of your extraction needs. Costs will depend on whether you are looking for a startup extraction lab, a scalable extraction lab, or a more customized extraction lab.

Included in our costs are the benefits of having a team of experts design and built your lab for you. The Linked Equipment team knows precisely what goes into the creation of an extraction lab including safety equipment, code requirements, and top of the line extraction technology. We source any necessary equipment, design each lab aspect, and build you a turnkey, ready-to-use hemp extraction lab. It is important to us to speak with you about costs up front so that you know what you are paying for, what you will get, and how much it will take to invest. Linked Equipment will never hit you with surprise charges, ensuring that our team and your company are all in agreement.

Pricing will vary over quite a range because of how much the final fees depend on what equipment you want and need inside your hemp extraction lab. The two major factors to consider are what extraction processes you plan to use and what your final extracted products will be in terms of type and volume. In general, the higher the output you desire, and the more equipment you plan to have, the higher the costs will be for your hemp extraction lab. The whole scalable, modular, and integrated nature of your desired lab will alter your up-front costs.

C02 Extraction

In the process of CO2 extraction, carbon dioxide is pressurized in metal tanks until it becomes a supercritical fluid. The fluid is used to pull out the desirable compounds from the cannabis plant and then separated out, leaving only the desired concentrates. The cost when using CO2 is initially high. However, the output eventually offsets those initial costs, especially for larger operations. In general, CO2 extraction will have the lowest potential daily operating costs. Additionally, when using CO2 for extraction you can vary factors such as time, temperature, and pressure to create different products. Initial costs may be around or above $100,000.

Ethanol Extraction

In the process of ethanol extraction, raw cannabis is soaked in ethanol, which pulls trichomes into the solvent. The resulting liquid is then filtered, and the alcohol purged from the extracted material. There will be a large range in initial and ongoing costs when using ethanol extraction depending on how big your operation is and what capabilities you are looking to have. The cannabis products you are able to produce using the ethanol extraction method are a bit more limited than CO2 extraction. If planning to distill with ethanol, the needed equipment can be anywhere from $500,000 to $5 million depending on the required output and your desired equipment.

Hydrocarbon Extraction

In the process of hydrocarbon extraction, butane or propane is used as a solvent that passes through the raw cannabis plant. This process collects the cannabinoids and terpenes. Finally, the solvent with the essential oils is then heated up in order to evaporate off the butane or propane, leaving behind the extract. Hydrocarbon extraction is generally less expensive initially when buying equipment. However, due to the highly combustible nature of the chemicals used, costs get much higher when setting up the facilities properly. If planning to extract using hydrocarbon extraction, necessary equipment for proper setup can be anywhere from $500,000 to $5 million factoring in desired output.

R143A

In the process of using R143A as a solvent for hemp extraction, this solution is passed through the cannabis matter and eventually removed leaving one of the purest extractions possible. R143A extraction is possibly the safest and most effective method of hemp extraction. The cost of the R143A system is comparable to hydrocarbon extraction. However, the solvent used is fully recyclable and the system uses an extremely low amount of energy making the cost of extraction with R134 much lower. Also, R143A is nonflammable and nonexplosive, therefore completing this process of extraction will come with fewer costs associated with higher level safety measures.

Chromo and FFE

Chromatography is a purification and analytical technique used in laboratories around the world for a myriad of applications. Chromatography is a means of separating and purifying all chemical compounds and utilizing their variance in properties. Liquid, column, or flash chromatography is an effective and efficient method to purify a substance from a complex mixture (a natural extract or chemical reaction) by passing it through silicon dioxide (silica), which is an inert solid. Because of different degrees of attraction or stickiness to the silica, the individual compounds in the mixture will pass through it at independent rates.

Our fully equipped chromatography labs feature ignitions controls, gas detection systems, ventilation for both dilution and extraction fan systems, and interlocked electrical and emergency systems.

Cold Press

In the process of cold press hemp extraction, no additional solvents are used to extract CBD or THC from the cannabis plant. Instead, the cannabis plant matter is put through a high-tech cold press, resulting in pure output. The extremely low temperature combined with the high level of pressure makes a reliable and chemical-free way to extract. This extraction will contain more actual elements from the original plant than compared to other extraction methods and so looks and tastes a bit different. A cold press typically runs from $30,000 to $75,000 for the needed equipment. Generally, a cold press hemp extraction lab can be built for under $100,000 after accounting for other requirements.

Next week’s blog 4 of 5: Now that you are familiar with several extraction methods and pricing let’s look at the products typically produced and which extraction methods work best for each.

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