Green Mill Supercritical is a company out of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania focused on offering their customers involved in the cannabis industry state-of-the-art, fully automated, CO2 extraction machines.
1) How did the company get started? What in your career lead you to running Green Mill Supercritical?
I spent my entire career at two seminal CO2 extraction companies out of Pittsburgh, PA — Thar and Waters — before starting Green Mill. I learned a lot there, including ways that I thought the technology could be massively improved, especially for cannabis.
2) What exactly does it mean to extract cannabinoids with a supercritical CO2 extraction machine?
It means using pressure and temperature to bring CO2 to a state that it displays properties of being both a gas and a liquid, which is referred to as Supercritical. In this state CO2 can be used as a solvent that can solubilize cannabinoids for the purpose of extraction, which is really quite remarkable to think about.
3) Why is this process superior to other methods of extraction currently out there?
Due to its low viscosity and “tunability”, CO2 is capable of easily permeating botanical matrixes and targeting specific analytes in cannabis, whether that’s cannabinoids, minor cannabinoids, monoterpenes, or whatever. This makes CO2 a great solvent for extractions. Other common solvents do not do this. We believe, with the right expertise, a CO2 system can outperform ethanol-based machines, which is only now being widely understood.
4) What differentiates your supercritical CO2 extraction machine from others on the market?
Our machines are truly automated work horses that do what they are advertised to do, and more, in a very small footprint and with minimal power requirements. They also perform triple fractionation, which means they will simultaneously extract up to three different types of oils (high-potency oils for distillates, general oils for vapes, and terpenes) automatically separated into one of three collection vessels. The flow profile our proprietary pump generates is smooth enough that channeling is minimized so you can get every last dollar out of your raw material.
We hear many stories of very expensive behemoths that sit idle in the corner of an extraction lab because they were not engineered according to sound CO2 science. If they do operate, they require double-wrenching, orifice-swapping, and other manual processes that seem outrageous to us, especially when those systems are advertised as fully automated. We come from CO2, with 30 years of combined experience in the field, and most of the components on our system, including the pump, were custom-designed.
5)What are some of the maintenance requirements of owning one of your systems? How would your customers go about replacing parts?
Maintenance is minimal aside from standard upkeep — replacement of seals and filters, that sort of thing. We provide kits and other consumables. Our pump is a big reason for our robustness, since the super smooth flow profile it generates lowers the incidence of part failure. There is an automated clean cycle in the software that we recommend users run once a week.
6) Why does your company include a software program along with the extraction machines such as the SFE Pro Supercritical CO2 Extractor?
Our entire system is run through software. All our devices are controlled and monitored through the touchscreen PC interface where you enter temperatures, pressures for every vessel, set your flow rate, and your run time. Then you save those settings as a recipe for recall later, allowing you to perfectly duplicate runs and get amazing uniformity in your oils. Manual knobs and valves drift over time in unpredictable ways, creating unacceptable variation in the viscosity and chemical makeup of your oil run-to-run. That’s no way to develop and manufacture products.
7) What is some of the proprietary technology that your team invented to specifically craft your CO2 extractors to produce superior extracts?
A dispersion plate on our extraction vessel is patent-pending. It is one more way that our machines reduce channeling. Channeling is robbing extraction operations everywhere, as CO2 follows the path of least resistance through your cannabis, never touching some of it. If you’re not accounting for channeling, you’re literally leaving gold in your extraction vessel. Before you throw away that “spent” material, give us a call,
we’ll take it! Our lawyers are filing patents on a
bunch of other stuff, too, but I don’t pay a whole
lot of attention to that to be honest.
8) How scalable are your machines? Can they be utilized for larger grow operations as well as home growers?
Our systems are not made for home growers. Typical client is a decent sized hemp farm, or a vertically-integrated operation, companies that have a reliable source of raw material, and in many cases, one or more dispensaries where they sell their own products. But the systems scale wonderfully! Aside from the small chiller unit that sits next to it, every component of our system fits neatly onto the wheeled cart, which has a footprint of 60 inches by 31 inches. And it’s only 46 inches high. This means our Array product line, made up of single units, scales in a linear fashion, with a dedicated pump for each unit. The space required for our competitors’ systems would hold several of ours, even when you adjust for comparable throughput. But that’s not the only way to scale. We have a new system that we’ll be announcing soon for folks needing more versatility in how they scale. And a full-blown wholesale production solution is coming next year.
9) Do the machines come put already full functional? Does Green Mill Supercritical assist with the setup of these machines for extractors? In what way?
UPS arrives, our technicians roll the machine off the truck and into your lab, connect the CO2 and the single phase power, and it’s ready to go. We will help you get up and running, but it’s very very easy. You can see one being installed and run in this video.
10) How large is your current team at Green Mill Supercritical?
There are a handful of us in the Pittsburgh production shop, a marketing guy in San Francisco, and a couple of remote partners on the lab design and advanced methodology fronts.
11) Do you manufacture your extraction machines in Pittsburg? What is shipping like for your customers?
Yes, the machines are manufactured in Pittsburgh, a town with a rich industrial history. In some ways, it’s the perfect city for the cannabis revolution. Shipping is industry standard, with a lead time of about 10 weeks after the contract is signed.
Cash Crop Today would like to extend a special thanks to the entire team at Green Mill Supercritical!