Everything there is to know about carbon dioxide extraction

If the world of perfumery fascinates you, you might want to find out more. Developing a fragrance is a rather complex process. To find out everything there is to know about the techniques for making perfume and to learn about what goes on behind the scenes, read on!

The carbon dioxide extraction process

 To extract the raw materials needed to create perfumes, fragrance houses sometimes use carbon dioxide extraction. Don’t panic if chemistry wasn’t your favorite subject at school: we’re here to explain the process! This extraction technique makes it possible to produce essential oils by using carbon dioxide in a “supercritical” state (don't be scared, it’s simply a fourth physical state, halfway between a liquid and a gas!)

 In practice, the extraction of the raw material is carried out at high pressure and at a moderate temperature (around 31°C) to preserve the molecules. The raw material is put in cylindrical baskets with filters at each end. Once the baskets are placed in the extractor, the carbon dioxide circulates in a liquid state to dissolve the essential oil in the raw material. Once the pressure decreases, the carbon dioxide returns to a gaseous state and the odorous extracts can be collected in the separator. 

The advantages of carbon dioxide extraction

 An innovative process, certainly, but what’s so special about it? We’ll tell you everything you need to know!

A gentle way to process the raw material 

This process is quite gentle and produces an absolute that’s very similar to the natural smell of the raw material. Producing high-quality absolutes obviously leads to better quality scents.

An environmentally friendly process

 Carbon dioxide extraction is environmentally friendly and doesn’t produce any greenhouse gases. Carbon dioxide is a solvent that is considered to be non-hazardous and non-flammable. It can be recycled and is therefore known as a “green solvent”.

 In addition to carbon dioxide extraction, there are other extraction processes as well. Enfleurage, distillation, expression and headspace technology. Learn more about them to better understand the perfume world!

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