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Technically Speaking Home >> Liquid & Gas Pressure >> Getting the Most from Your Butane or Propane Extraction System

Getting the Most from Your Butane or Propane Extraction System



Butane, propane, or hybrid mixtures of these two solvents are used in one of the most common methods to extract oil from cannabis. An extraction system of this type will typically consist of a solvent supply/storage tank, similar in look to the propane tank that accompanies your outdoor gas grill; an extraction chamber, the location in which the solvent interacts with the cannabis; and a separator, where the extracted oil is separated from the butane/propane. Some extraction kits or systems may come equipped with a vacuum pump used to reclaim the gas from the separator and pump the gas back to the solvent storage tank. The minor components include hose assemblies, fittings, shut off valves, and gauges.

A more basic form of BHO (butane hash oil) extraction is to use a passive closed-loop system. In this case, the “pumping” of the butane is done through temperature differential, heating one area and cooling another to cause solvent flow from the hotter to the colder area. While this is an effective starting point for many extractors, this method can be much slower than an active closed-loop system. The passive method also sees the loss of a higher percentage of solvent compared to an active system. Converting a passive system to active is as simple as adding a recovery pump between the separator and the solvent source vessel.

This extraction method is not a continuous process but rather completed as a batch process. The batch size, the amount of oil extracted, and the time required to complete the entire extraction and gas recovery process will be determined by the size of the main components mentioned earlier and the process conditions determined by the operator throughout the entire process.

When there is a desire to reduce the time required to process a batch of cannabis, to reduce the loss of butane or propane, extend the life and reliability of the recovery pump, and significantly increase the overall safety of the system, a Haskel EXT420 pump should be added to the extraction system. The Haskel EXT420 pump is used to expedite the gas reclamation and recovery process. In systems making use of a vacuum pump for this stage of the extraction process, the Haskel EXT420 would replace the vacuum pump, or would be a new addition to any extraction system that is not presently equipped with a gas reclamation device. By design, the EXT420 requires compressed air to operate and cycle the pump and requires no electricity. The absence of electrical power and the pump’s construction with non-sparking materials provides no ignition source, thereby eliminating the potential for gas combustion and assuring a much safer operating environment. In some municipalities, this is the only recovery pump currently certified for use in commercial operations. The Haskel EXT420 is an ingeniously simple and rugged unit with very few moving parts, contributing to its reputation for durability, longevity, and ease of maintenance and servicing.

Ask yourself the questions below when evaluating the return on investment you will gain with the addition of a Haskel EXT420 pump to your current oil extraction system:

  • How many more batches can be completed by substantially reducing the gas recovery time? While the answer to this question is dependent on several factors, such as the process components in your system, the Haskel 420 pump will significantly speed up the batch process by cutting the time spent on gas reclamation. More batches equal greater profits.
  • How much will I save on solvents? Again, it depends on several factors, such as the type of solvent used, but the use of a Haskel EXT420 pump will greatly reduce the loss of butane or propane during the process, which equates to reduced expenditures per batch.
  • What is the value placed on my safety or the safety of my employees? Also, consider the price to be paid if an electrically powered vacuum pump or some other device initiates an explosion or a fire. Why live with this risk when the use of a Haskel EXT420 pump mitigates the potential for injury or loss of life?
To learn more about the Haskel EXT420 and how it can be applied to your specific extraction system please contact Airline Hydraulics.



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