Hydrocarbon Extraction: Is Butane Extraction Safe?

The light hydrocarbons are always used as main extraction solvents by closed loop extraction, known as hydrocarbon extraction. The butane extraction, as a kind of the most commonly used hydrocarbon extraction, uses butane as an extraction solvent. It is a low-pressure system, by which a great number of products can be generated from a single standard extraction without further refinement.

Is Butane Safe to Consume?

As an organic compound, butane is a colorless gas with a slight unpleasant smell. It has many applications in people’s daily life. For example, it can be used as the solvent, refrigerant and raw material for organic synthesis. And it can be found that oil field gas, wet natural gas and cracking gas all contains butane. Though butane is widely used, it should be noticed that butane is flammable and explosive as well. The explosive mixture can form when butane mixes with air. There is a risk of burning and explosion when it is exposed to heat source or open fire. Furthermore, high concentration of butane may cause asphyxia and anesthesia. In conclusion, butane is potentially dangerous, which should be consumed properly and safely.

Why is Butane Used as the Extraction Solvent?

The boiling point of butane is about 0℃. Therefore, butane can remain in the liquid phase at or below 0℃ under standard atmospherically pressure. But when temperature is above 0℃, butane will turn into the gaseous state. This property is greatly suitable for closed loop extraction due to the phase of extraction solvent can be easily changed at different points in the process. To sum up, the biomass of the desired active compounds can be stripped by maintaining butane as a liquid, and butane can be removed as well as recycled by turning it into a gas.

How does Butane Extraction Work?

The working process of butane extraction is mostly like ethanol extraction, which is to extract substances with butane. Butane is used as the washing solvent in butane extraction. And after extracting substances out, you will get a mixture with butane and materials. And to get pure extracted substances, the next step is to separate butane and materials. In this way, users always can get materials that have a higher purity.

Is Butane Extraction Safe?

Butane extraction is one of the most popular extraction methods nowadays. As a popular extraction method, butane extraction has the safety level that can be accepted. Like ethanol extraction and CO2 extraction, butane extraction is quite safe generally.

How Many Extraction Methods are There?

There are mainly three extract methods, which will be discussed in detail below.

  1. Ethanol Extraction Method: It uses ethanol as an extraction solvent. The ethanol is relatively inexpensive and easy to obtain, while the disadvantages are that the ethanol is highly flammable and a tiny change in temperature will completely alter the product.
  2. CO2 Extraction Method: It uses CO2 as an extraction solvent. The CO2 extraction is not only safe and effective, but also can obtain a pure CBD without chlorophyll. But it’s relatively expensive and requires an advanced laboratory. In short, its advantages outweigh its disadvantages. It can be said that the CO2 extraction is considered as the safest and cleanest method for extracting CBD or other cannabis compounds.
  3. Butane or Propane Extraction Method: It uses butane or propane as the extraction solvent. By this method, a great number of products can be created from a single standard extraction without further refinement.

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