Skip to content

Maximizing Efficiency: Designing an Optimal CO2 Extraction Workflow

Maximizing Efficiency: Designing An Optimal CO2 Extraction Workflow

When it comes to supercritical CO2 extraction(SFE) operations, having the right supercritical CO2 extraction machine at the center of your workflow is crucial for achieving maximum range and flexibility in manufacturing and product distribution. Designing an optimal extraction workflow involves considering several factors that contribute to efficiency. In this article, we will explore the importance of solvent flow rate and how it impacts extraction efficiency. By understanding the optimal flow rate and its influence on the supercritical CO2 extraction process, manufacturers can streamline their operations and achieve higher productivity.

Solvent Flow Rate

The flow rate of the solvent used in the supercritical CO2 extraction process plays a significant role in determining the extraction time. However, it’s important to note that simply maximizing the flow rate may not lead to optimal supercritical CO2 extraction efficiency. Discovering the ideal flow rate requires considering multiple factors beyond sheer volume.

Factors Affecting Solvent Flow Rate

Solvent typeLiquid or supercritical carbon dioxide (CO2)
Measurement unitGrams per minute or kilograms per minute
Mass flow meterCoriolis mass flow meters for accurate monitoring and measurement

Some supercritical CO2 extraction systems lack flow meters, making it difficult to determine the true solvent flow rate. Claims based on volumetric measurements indicate a lack of real-time monitoring as CO2 density varies with temperature and pressure. The density and volume of the solvent are inversely proportional, making accurate measurement crucial.

Flow Rate and Extraction Efficiency

Supercritical Agarwood Oil CO2 extraction machine 【CO2 Essential Oil Extraction Equipment】

At first glance, it may seem logical that increasing the flow rate will lead to faster extraction due to more solvent coming into contact with the biomass. However, research has shown that excessively high flow rates can negatively impact extraction efficiency.

Both lower and higher flow rates resulted in a significant reduction in the overall mass yield. High flow rates disrupted the diffusion process within the cellular material, limiting contact time between CO2 and the biomass. Insufficient contact time hindered the solubilization and transfer of desired compounds. Thus, pursuing higher flow rates without proper analysis can decrease the overall supercritical CO2 extraction rate and efficiency.

Finding the Optimal Flow Rate

Similar to cooking, where using the optimum level of heat ensures the best results, supercritical CO2 extraction processes also require identifying the optimal flow rate. However, determining the ideal flow rate is not as simple as running at the highest possible speed. It varies for each system and type of biomass, making method development and testing crucial before commencing production.


Designing an optimal supercritical CO2 extraction workflow involves careful consideration of various factors, with solvent flow rate playing a pivotal role in achieving high supercritical CO2 extraction efficiency. Maximizing flow rate alone may not yield the desired results, as excessively high rates can disrupt the diffusion process. By conducting method development and identifying the optimal flow rate based on mass yield, manufacturers can save processing time, improve efficiency, and enhance the overall productivity of their supercritical CO2 extraction operations.