CO2 vs BHO extraction – things we learned at our 10/22 extraction debate
Both BHO (hydrocarbon) extraction and CO2 extraction offer scaled solutions for product-makers. Dr. Josh Hartsel (CEO of Speakeasy710 and Delta9 Technologies) defended hydrocarbons as the most cost-efficient extraction method that allows product-makers turn “garbage into gold (and diamonds)”: hydrocarbons are so effective at extracting the whole plant that the quality of the input biomass doesn’t matter, and equivalent extraction efficiency using CO2 would be far more expensive to set up and results would take far longer to reach.
- Processing volume of a Delta9 Technology unit ($750,000): 400-600lbs of biomass per day.
- Processing volume of an Eden Labs Hi-Flow unit ($250,000): 60lbs of biomass per day.
CO2 wins over BHO extraction in terms of overall scalability. Randy Reed, from Olala Brands (WA), noted that CO2 is widely used in many industries – nutraceuticals, pharmaceuticals, fish oil extraction, hops oil extraction, decaffeination, for good reasons. There are no fire-hazard restrictions using CO2 equipment, which allows producers to scale infinitely their business. There are no national restrictions on CO2 as an extraction process either – Canada, for example, does not allow BHO extraction at all. The process, as well, is repeatable using the same input parameters from small production, to industrial-scaled volume. This is essential for any company looking toward long-term growth, M&A, and building a national brand, like Olala is doing, Randy noted.
For the ability to produce a wide variety of products: both CO2 extraction and BHO extraction are capable of doing this. Dr. Hartsel argued for BHO’s ability to reach and end product from first-pass extraction, without further processing: you can make oil, distillate, high quality crumbles, and diamonds right from first pass extraction, where with CO2 a secondary process is needed. Randy argued that CO2’s “tuneability” allowed for very precise cannabinoid and terpene isolation, which for Olala has been the key to success: their terpene tonics, and state-leading beverage brand, would not be achievable using BHO extraction. Randy challenged BHO on quality, purity, and market-demand: “Our vape products using CO2 have won best-in-class using in open-contests. As markets mature, BHO has increasingly become a commodity, and produces undistinguished products.”
The discussion was a candid, high-level, wide-ranging, debate between Market-leading and Award-winning Brands about the benefits of 4 primary extraction methods: “CO2 vs BHO vs Ethanol vs Pressure: a CAGE MATCH debate! Learn the Benefits of each!” (held on 10/22 in Anaheim, CA).
It’s not only BHO or CO2 extraction, either: 2 other speakers discussing ethanol and rosin extraction also made compelling cases where their extraction method is better. We can’t decide which extraction method is best, but the audience voted for a clear winner at the event: watch, and learn!
Speakers covered the following items:
- Why your extraction method is FUNDAMENTAL to your company
- Which extraction method is best for cannabis
- Setup Costs
- Extraction efficiency
- Amount of biomass extracted per day
- Purity of end product
- Safety profile of machinery
- Technical skills and know-how required to use equipment
- Fire-Safety/Regulator approval
- Consumer demand for end products
- How the market has changed, and market trends
- And more!