New industry leads to new innovation. Solutions to often unknown issues arise as technologies advance in accordance with these developing industries. Such is the case with a new cleaning system designed specifically for CO2 extraction equipment by the global hygiene and cleaning company Diversey, in partnership with Advance Extraction Systems, Inc. (AESI). These two Canadian companies have developed a groundbreaking new cleaned-in-place (CIP) technology that aims to eliminate the need for ethanol-based cleaning practices within the hemp and cannabis industries.
Ethanol has been used for years as the dominate cleaning agent for CO2 extraction systems as the substance exhibits strong capabilities in the cleanliness and hygienic upkeep of this expensive equipment. Due to its volatile nature and constant capitol cost, ethanol has been viewed as a necessary burden within the cannabis and hemp extraction world – valuable for its ability to keep equipment fully functional and clean, yet troublesome to work with and oftentimes dangerous to handle and store.
Seeing this much needed area for improvement, Diversey and AESI set out to solve a lingering industry problem while innovating new systems to redefine the entire cleaning process for large scale extraction operations. Robert Bowness, Senior Director NA Pharmaceuticals for Diversey, says that “simply from implementing our new CIP method, a hemp manufacturer can expect to gain from immediate efficiencies. Safety is also a big factor in this and, aligned to the stimulus to hemp industry expansion, we confidently anticipate the system will have a significant impact. Together with AESI we have answered a real need for manufacturers – and are in effect liberating the industry.”
Any extraction operation looking to improve overall cleanabilty and hygiene demands to match to the quality of their output and end product stands to benefit from this CIP system. Removal of a volatile cleaning agent also eliminates the risk of explosion and storage concerns that come with ethanol use. Other immediate benefits to adopting new cleaning methods away from ethanol include a safer working environment, improved equipment at a lower cost, and better product consistency due to reduced potential for cross-contamination.
The process to adopt the CIP system is straightforward and easy to incorporate into existing production methods. According to Bowness, “the first step to assess the compatibility of any CIP skid with existing production equipment (extractors, in this case) is to have a Diversey representative/engineer assess the equipment to see if a CIP skid can simply be piped into the existing equipment or if hygienic and other design changes are recommended/required. After that initial assessment, typical further steps include data sharing requirements such as equipment drawings, key project indicator objectives and target timelines followed by a final proposal and the necessary implementation and training to put the system into action.”
This new cleaning system not only has the ability to streamline the efficiency, safety and success of a cannabis or hemp extraction operation but also, through progressive automation, has the potential to lead to a more sustainable business model. Bowness sees that “by definition, a more sustainable enterprise is one that is sharing value with society,” and that Diversey “takes this motto with us into the cannabis industry as we examine all applications and ways we can help the industry improve” as it is “poised for immense growth, and by improving hygiene and safety in these processing environments, we are supporting daily operations and the bottom line.”