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Steam distillation is without a doubt the most common method for extraction of these precious oils from plants. Hot steam can help release aromatic molecules from plant material. The steam that contain essential oils will pass through the cooling system condenses and forms liquid so that the essential oils and water can separated from each other from plant material. What are the advantages of steam distillation?
Compared with CO2 extraction, the cost of steam distillation equipment is lower a lot. In most cases, steam distillation can satisfy our requirements for purity while CO2 extraction is usually use in hemp/cannabis extraction. Another important factor is that steam distillation equipment has large capacity and good for commercial use.
People or companies who wish to use steam distillation to extract plant oils might have concerns about the quality of the extract they produce. Steam distillation is the one that allows a greater operational ductility, in the sense that it is easier to intervene both on steam humidity,the intensity of steam flow and on the temperature. Keeping the temperature right at the boiling point of water will decrease the degradation to delicate botanical oils as much as possible. The flavor and fragrance can be kept without loss.
Steam distillation is useful for extraction most fats, oils and waxes, which are known as immiscible substances. Because of its wide application to immiscible substances, steam distillation can be a cost-effective method to invest in to extract a diverse array of immiscible substances. Also, because the steam temperature can remain at the boiling point of water, this process also has a cost benefit of requiring less fuel for the steam boiler.
Steam distillation is relatively rapid and capable of greater control by the operator. The vessel can be emptied and recharged quickly and with the immediate reintroduction of steam there is no unnecessary delay in the commencement of the distillation process. And we can equip several vessels for our essential oil extraction to reach 6000 capacity or more.
Since steam distillation is a popular method at present, it also has its limitation. Now let’s know about what disadvantages it has.
It is not applicable for most of citrus fruits for steam distillation will break its intact ingredient. So we usually use cold press for citrus fruit. Besides, for some who require higher purity like hemps, CO2 extraction machine is better.
Steam distillation has the disadvantage of having a higher initial cost for investment in the equipment needed to execute the process successfully. You'll need some initial training in order to operate the equipment, and you must take care in conducting the process because you're working with high temperatures, a heat source, pressurized containers and volatile oils. A final hidden cost to the process is the cost of maintaining and repairing your equipment.