What is Supercritical CO2?

The SFE-CO2 process combines extraction, separation and concentration in one simultaneous process to obtain the extract. The process consists of pumping pressurised carbon dioxide into a chamber filled with primary matter. When carbon dioxide is subjected to pressure it becomes “supercritical” and forms liquid properties while remaining in a gaseous state. Due to the liquid properties of the gas, the CO2 functions as a solvent, enabling to extract the oils and other substances such as pigments and resin.

The separation and short extraction period, ensures the bio-availability and the quality of the active compounds to be at its highest purity. Due to zero solvent, pesticide residue, low heavy metal levels, the supercritical CO2 extraction is considered environmentally friendly.

Advantages of SFE-CO2 extraction

Solvent related


No legal constraints

Free of impurities


No harmful residues


CO2 is an inactive gas

Product related

100% Natural

High quality

No heat damages

No solvent residues

No pesticide residues

Longer shelf life

Accepted widely

Process Flow Diagram

Supercritical CO2 Process for Nutraceuticals - A S Harrison & Co

The major process parameters are the temperature, pressure and flow rate. The three primary steps are extraction, separation, and CO2 recovery. The plant is charged into the extractor, along with the CO2 through a high-pressure pump (>74bar) and CO2 heater (>31℃). The extract laden CO2 is sent to a separator(s) via a pressure reduction valve. At reduced temperature and pressure, the extract precipitates in the separator while the CO2, free of extract, is recycled to the CO2 main tank.

Our principal is one of the pioneers of Supercritical CO2 extraction technology. Dated back to the early 1980’s, our principal has a long history of Supercritical Fluid Extraction (SFE-CO2) research and over ten years of experience in production. Our principal was the first to industrialise the supercritical extraction equipment in China.