In a giant leap forward for cannabis extraction, Green Mill Supercritical has developed an extraction method that eliminates the need for ethanol-based winterization while maintaining throughput efficiencies, removing multiple steps in the refinement of cannabis extract, and for many businesses, ending the need for any post-processing whatsoever.
Winterization is the necessary process of utilizing a cold solvent to solidify the plant waxes, causing them to crystalize and thus drop out of solution. Made possible only through Green Mill’s extraction systems, the novel approach announced today removes the need to mix crude output with ethanol to be chilled so that waxes can separate from the oleoresins.
“The idea of extracting and winterizing a 10-liter column using only CO₂ in the span of three to five hours challenges the fundamental assumptions of what an extraction lab looks like,” said Green Mill President and CEO, Wes Reynolds. “The benefits are almost impossible to overstate. Not only does it vastly exceed the efficiency capabilities of our CO₂ competitors, but it also begins to undercut the argument for other extraction solvents like alcohol.”
Businesses using this novel method will achieve results previously unavailable, including:
- Building a complete extraction operation for High Terpene Full-spectrum Extract with only a grinder, vacuum oven, and an upgraded SFE Pro™
- Achieving a solvent-free, high-purity end product straight out of the machine in just hours
- Eliminating the need to buy and manage ethanol, and suffering the SOP and regulatory burden it entails
- Virtually eliminating the loss of cannabinoids (99.96% recovery) inherent in ethanol winterization
- Simplifying production with included full product method so the end processor only needs to adjust total extraction time
- Retaining an unbroken, organic link back to the plant of origin due to zero solvent retention and less thermal degradation
- Capturing a broader terpene profile than is found in what is currently called “full spectrum” oil
- Using extract as-is for vape cartridges and other products
- Gaining the capacity to winterize wax-laden cannabis crudes from ethanol or hydrocarbon extractions (valuable to toll processing businesses)
Jesse Turner, Green Mill’s Director of Research and Development, has been focused on finding alternative solutions to ethanol winterization for some time, and is eager to present this novel method to cannabis manufacturing businesses, with forthcoming product development that does not slow the extraction process to a crawl, but keeps it at high levels of efficiency.
“I have spent a lot of time developing extract products in extraction labs,” Turner said. “By far, the worst part of the process has always been alcohol-based winterization. Finally being able to find a solution to this problem, and bring the biomass-to-premium-extract timeline down from days to hours, makes the effort my team put into this project totally worth it.”
For new businesses looking to enter the extract market and expand as the business grows, using Green Mill’s exclusive technique can save hundreds of thousands of dollars in lab buildout and operating costs. Businesses also poised to benefit include existing operations expanding their offering, especially those with a consumer base that desires quality.
Turner credits the engineering and design of Green Mill’s core technology for finally allowing him to realize this current breakthrough.
“Without the brilliant, resourceful engineers at Green Mill, none of this would have been possible,” said Turner. “They created the chromatography-level performance of our proprietary pump, and that single component is at the heart of this company.”
The productivity gains realized by this latest patent-pending Green Mill advance are only half the story, however. Because it produces an extract untainted by harsh solvents and limits the effects of thermal degradation, oil developed using this method retains a direct connection to the strain or cultivar of the plant from which it originated, staying true to the composition of that plant. And that is without introducing a single adulterating ingredient or leaving any trace of toxic residue, so if the raw material was organically grown, that status is preserved for the extract as well.
“You have all these amazing breeders, farmers, and cultivators who have, for years, been developing specialized genetics for the differentiated and diverse selection of bud on the market today,” said Green Mill Chief Technology Officer Jeremy Diehl. “Now, there’s a way to extract and preserve the essence of those plants, at scale, that honors the legacy of those craft traditions, thanks to the work of our research team.”
Green Mill has positioned itself as a company aimed at the smart manufacturer who values quality over all else and looks to grow its customer base organically with a premium product. Instead of increasing component sizes to achieve biomass throughput increases, the company has instead focused on perfecting the precision, versatility, and efficiency of its core technology, while maintaining the same basic form factor. As a result, efficiencies were established early on which compounded as improvements to components and system configuration occurred.
“I’m proud of the performance of our systems, and I honestly always saw our features — like our custom pump, inline fractionation, and automation — as pretty fundamental for any instrumentation-grade industrial machine,” Diehl said. “CO₂ has special dynamic-density qualities that make it tunable so you can target the compounds you want, and we’ve always aimed to take full advantage of that.”
With 2021 expected to be a banner year for cannabis, Green Mill stands ready to support businesses that want to change the way they grow demand through the development of ever-more differentiated and novel consumer extract products for an expanding market of quality-focused shoppers.
“We are in rapid development of a new product based around this innovation,” Diehl said. “It will have both an equipment and a methodology component that we will take to market sometime in the second quarter of this year, allowing our customers to move faster and more efficiently than ever before.”