Cannabis Extraction Centrifuge

THC Cannabis Centrifuge

Centrifuge for ethanol extraction of THC

THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) extraction from the cannabis plant matter is the goal of all extraction processes. The final result is an oil with concentrated cannabinoid (THC in Cannabis) extracted from the plant biomass.

Since the precious oil is soluble in alcohol (ethanol) and solvents (hydrocarbons), these are the primary media of extraction utilized by most THC processors from the cannabis industry.

Cannabis Biomass Separation Process

Separation of the biomass from the solvent post-extraction needs centrifuge extraction equipment. Low-rpm (low g-force), basket-type centrifuge work for batch processing in ethanol extraction. Though it a laborious and inefficient process, it is attractive for its lower initial cost. At higher volumes, the solvent losses in this batch method add up quickly.

Cannabis Centrifuge Operation

A cannabis extraction centrifuge is an industrial centrifuge that continuously separates the biomass from the solvent with the THC oil absorbed in it. It is a horizontal decanter centrifuge that exerts over 3,000 times the gravity force to separate the solvent’s depleted cannabis cuttings. This flow-through centrifuge can recover over 95% solvent from the plant matter.

THC Cannabis Biomass Separation Centrifuge
THC Cannabis Biomass Separation Centrifuge - 80 GPM

Cannabis Centrifuge Capacity for Biomass Separation

For the large capacity decanter centrifuge shown here.

THC Cannabis Centrifuge Specifications

Rated Capacity170 GPM
Capacity on Cannabis Biomass Separation80 GPM @ 3:1 Ethanol to Cuttings Ratio
Total Mass Flow-Rate20,000 Lbs/Hr
Cannabis Processing Capacity~ 5000 Lbs / Hour
Ethanol RecoveryUp to 95% by Weight
Centrifuge ConstructionFood-Grade; 316 L Stainless Steel Wetted Parts

More details on hemp biomass separator centrifuge are on our blog post.

THC Solvent Polishing Centrifuge

Though a decanter centrifuge is efficient at separating the cannabis plant-matter from the adsorbent, it does not remove all the suspended particles. A  disc-stack type centrifuge subjects the un-clear fluid to very high centrifugal forces, separating the fine suspended particles.

A clarifying centrifuge separates the THC carrying solvent from the cannabis plant matter, waxes and lipids carried over from the biomass separation process. This centrifuge is typically a food-grade centrifuge that produces up to 10,000 times the force of gravity sufficient to remove organic particles as small as half a micron.

Though a high-speed, disc-stack type centrifuge cannot process fluids below 32 F, the high g-force in this centrifuge removes up to 80% of unwanted wax, lipid, and chlorophyll from the solvent at 32~35 F.

This reduction of waxes, lipids, etc. has many benefits for downstream processing equipment. Primarily, it reduces the filtration needed after the winterization of the solvent.

Hydrocarbon Solvent Aqueous Wash

As a further step, adding and mixing de-ionized water to the hydrocarbon solvent with THC extract dissolves the acidic based cannabinoids in the water.

A liquid/liquid centrifuge (two-phase) separates the neutral cannabinoid carrying solvent from the water with acidic cannabinoids.

Evaporation of these carrier fluids (solvent and water) independently results in pure THC with acidic and neutral cannabinoids.

Food grade centrifuge
Alfa Laval Food-Grade Centrifuge for Liquid-Liquid Separation
THC Cannabis Solvent Clarifier Centrifuge
Clarifier Centrifuge for Ethanol

Cannabis Solvent De-Waxing Centrifuge

The Alfa Laval, High-Speed, Food-Grade centrifuge shown here is ideal for clarifying solvent with absorbed THC. Clarification is a 2-phase separation process to separate suspended solids from the liquid centrate.

In the cannabis THC application, the ideal processing temperature is just above the water’s freezing point (32 F). A considerable portion of the dissolved waxes and lipids are in solid or gelatinous form at this temperature. The sufficient g-force in the disc-stack centrifuge bowl separates these solids from the solvent, thereby clarifying it for winterization.

Hydrocarbon solvents and ethanol are both flammable fluids. Therefore these centrifuges have to be carefully designed for safe operation in hazardous environments. All the electrical components need to be certified for the designated location and should be explosion-proof centrifuge or certified for hazardous areas.