Increasing interest in the use of herbal essences and cannabis oil for health and wellbeing has created a demand for high quality, pure botanical extracts. Early-stage company Nova Extraction has developed the world’s first industrial, off-grid, clean-tech extractor. It is now available for flower, herb and food producers to rent, providing producers with affordable and consistent technology to extract flavours or fragrances in-field. The announcement comes as part of REAP’s Start Up Showcase in Cambridge this week (7 November).
Nova Extraction’s new autonomous extractor uses supercritical carbon dioxide (CO2) technology, originally developed for decaffeination of green coffee beans. Unlike other widely-used forms of extraction, supercritical CO2 separates essences without degradation or impurities. However, this high quality comes at a cost.
Nova Extraction’s Alex Novitskiy explains: “Supercritical extraction equipment is usually super expensive, so even the top five processors in the world try to outsource extraction, rather than own the equipment.”
Company co-founders Alex and Sergey Soshin re-engineered the process, designing and building every piece of their new equipment from scratch in their workshop. The equipment includes a smart-energy generation system to enable efficient off-grid processing.
Alex continues: “We’ve looked at how we can reduce the cost of fabrication and have designed a unique piece of equipment that can be deployed almost anywhere in the world, without the need for electricity or water.”
The low operating temperature of the CO2 extraction lends itself to protecting fragile fragrances, such as lavender, for high-end perfumes. Nova Extraction is also gaining interest from hemp growers about the extraction of cannabinoid oil for health benefits; and with herb producers about how to preserve over-production. The flavour and fragrance of rosemary, for example, is widely extracted in Europe to add to products ranging from memory aids to hair conditioners and Christmas stuffing.
“We have been speaking to farmers in Yorkshire, who produce herbs for restaurants, about how they can preserve this kind of crop – in, say, an essence – if they overproduce,” says Alex.
“We developed Nova Extraction to break the barrier of price for producers, as we believe there is a big demand for an easy pay-as-you-go rental model for supercritical extraction equipment. We’re seeking first-adopters to trial the equipment in the UK next year.”
Nova Extraction is one of seven emerging agri-tech companies featuring in this year’s REAP Start Up Showcase, hosted by membership network Agri-Tech East to profile the next big breakthroughs in agricultural innovation.
The start up’s unique self-sufficient Supercritical extractor can process half a tonne of raw material a day and the company plans to build a larger model that will enable increased in-field throughput for producers to 2.5 tonnes of raw material per day. The larger model will fit into a standardised, 20-foot shipping container to enable flexibility of movement depending on international, seasonal need.
For more information visit novaextraction.com