Apeks Supercritical Introduces Ethanol Co-Solvent for Extraction Process

The injection process combines the tunability of CO2 with the power of ethanol, improving the extraction time by 300%.


JOHNSTOWN, OH (June 9, 2020) – PRESS RELEASE – Apeks Supercritical, a subsidiary of Gibraltar Industries, has announced an enhancement to the CO2 extraction process using ethanol as a co-solvent to improve extraction time and raw yield.

Apeks' co-solvent injection module instantly accelerates the versatility of extraction for any size processor by combining the tunability of CO2 with the power of ethanol. The process injects small amounts of ethanol into the CO2 extraction of cannabinoids to improve the amount of extract produced. The injection of a 5% by volume stream of ethanol leads to oil extraction that is up to 300% faster with roughly 2% greater overall yield. The method can increase efficiency by more than 100% while maintaining some selectivity and eliminating homogenization from the post-processing winterization process.

“The Co-Solvent Injection Module is a perfect example of the unparalleled innovation, versatility and customer service that Apeks continues to deliver,” said Andy Joseph, Apeks Supercritical founder and general manager. “Dialing into a set of extraction parameters to extract desirable cannabinoids and terpenes—while leaving the unwanted compounds in the raw material—can now be accomplished not only with pressure and temperature adjustments of the CO2 but by raising or lowering the concentration of ethanol in the stream. This is an important offering for our customers.”

As workforces scale back due to the coronavirus pandemic, operators can utilize the co-solvent injection module to increase yields and speed up extracts, allowing them the same productivity with fewer people in a shorter amount of time. Because Apeks Supercritical systems are fully automated, no additional staff are needed to operate the system.

Through the process, all ethanol pumped into the CO2 system is retained with no loss. This occurs because of the saturation of plant material, as happens with typical ethanol extractions, leaving 10% or more of the ethanol behind in the plant material. Ethanol is soluble in the liquid of supercritical CO2, allowing for natural movement of any remaining ethanol from the extractor to the separator during recovery.

Advantages of using co-solvent:

  • Improved diversity of product types for the customer to create
  • Volume: stronger utilization of source material – ethanol can pull whatever CO2 does not
  • Subcritical extraction using the ethanol co-solvent is roughly 175% faster and supercritical extraction is 300% faster

The ethanol co-solvent injection module follows the recent announcement that Gibraltar Industries, the leading provider of products and services for commercial greenhouse growing and processing in North America, had acquired its second extraction manufacturer in California based Delta Separations. The move brought together Delta, an emerging leader in ethanol extraction system technology, and Apeks Supercritical, a trailblazing CO2 extraction company headquartered in Ohio, to create the most versatile, customized botanical extraction provider in the industry.

In late 2019, Apeks Supercritical introduced ReFraction, the first truly smart technology in CO2 extraction that leverages artificial intelligence to give operators unprecedented insight into what’s happening inside the system to increase efficiency and customize yield like never before.