SCF Industry Uses
No solvent residue. No health hazards.
The term natural products has become the "catch-all" for any compound that has been produced by a living being, e.g. plant, animal, algae. The extracted compounds are used in, or are themselves, foods, medicinals, pigments, fragrances.
The process for many years was to extract from the matrix material by solvents: aqueous and petroleum based. The first large scale use of supercritical fluids in extracting natural products was the decaffeination of coffee in 1979 and since then thousands of compounds have been extracted commercially.
Mild and easy supercritical fluid extractions
Supercritical carbon dioxide extracts the various natural compounds more efficiently than petroleum-based solvents, but upon returning to an ambient state, the carbon dioxide becomes a gas, leaving no residue.
Mild Extraction Conditions – 31°C temperature
Extraction of natural compounds by supercritical carbon dioxide occurs under mild conditions, at a temperature of only 31°C. With temperatures less than body temperature (37°C), little thermal degradation of sensitive compounds occurs.
Fractionation is also made easy, using only carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is a 'tunable solvent' - load the feedstock into an extraction vessel and then, by only changing the pressure of the supercritical carbon dioxide, you can have the solubility characteristics of a myriad of different petroleum-based solvents. Eliminate the need to add or change solvents.