Kenneth J. James, Ph.D.,* Supercritical Fluid Technologies, Inc.,
The primary goal of a laboratory SFE and Phase Monitor unit testing is to assess technical feasibility of a potential supercritical fluid extraction application. Experimental work begins using a supercritical fluid extraction bench top laboratory unit. The bench scale laboratory extraction unit typically has 10ml to 4 liter sample vessel capacity. Product samples and data from the feasibility testing are used to assess product quality, and to research the following process variables: 1) Preparation of feedstock 2) Extractor conditions 3) Separator conditions. The extract product is analyzed to determine how changes in these parameters change extract yield, concentration, and quality. Phase equilibrium experiments should be carried out to determine the preliminary processing conditions in which the compound of interest solubilizes and precipitates from the supercritical fluid. This information can then be utilized to give a “starting point” to the extraction and separator processing conditions and insight to a commercial scale supercritical fluid extraction system. If the results from preliminary testing are encouraging, process development protocol is followed by proceeding to the next step. Examples demonstrating the use of both laboratory SFE and supercritical fluid phase equilibrium instrument will be shown in this poster.