How Does Ethanol Extraction Work?

March 1, 2022 | By
Oil Drop falling into a bottle

Have you noticed a spike in higher-quality botanical concentrates in the market over the past couple of years? Well, thanks to the development of biological, chemical, and mechanical technology, there’s a corresponding evolution in the production of botanicals. Praised by manufacturers, the most successful and high-quality method is the ethanol extraction method. To give you a better understanding, we’ll dive in and unpack what ethanol extraction means for botanicals and concentrates. 


Extracting oils from plants is far from just squeezing them out like you would when juicing. Ethanol extraction involves introducing a solvent to separate the oils from plants; different plant oil extraction methods use specific solvents. As such, the ethanol production method uses ethyl alcohol (ethanol) while the CO2 method uses CO2 in its supercritical state

In the ethanol extraction process, the ethanol and plant material, while separated, are brought to freezing temperatures, using commercial freezers, medical freezers, or dry ice. The two are then combined and mixed, which allows the cold ethanol to strip oils and other desirables from the plant material. The plant material is then strained, and the wash from this is filtered further. Once this filtering is completed, the ethanol is removed from the resulting concentrate, using low-temperature heat and vacuum for evaporation. This process allows up to 98% ethanol recovery, leading to very little waste.

Benefits of Using Ethanol

Many manufacturers prefer using ethanol to extract botanicals from plants because it is:

  • Widely available and cost-effective. Ethanol is a common solvent, especially because it has multiple uses beyond botanical extraction, including manufacturing alcoholic beverages and everyday household uses. Therefore, its popularity keeps prices reasonable.
  • Re-usable after the first round of extracting botanicals; the EtOH Pro recovers up to 98% of the ethanol from the extraction process. 
  • User-friendly since it requires less complex machinery, which also makes this suitable for newcomers.

Warm Ethanol Extraction Vs. Cold Ethanol Extraction

The main difference between the warm and cold ethanol production processes is that the warm method requires a process called “winterization” in which the extracted oil is cooled to separate (then Filter) the plant lipids, waxes, and other impurities. 

The cold ethanol extraction process begins with freezing the botanical material so that it does not dissolve into the ethanol. The cold ethanol production process is safe and suitable for both large and small-scale operations.

Our Botanical Extraction Products

ExtractCraft products are designed with the everyday user in mind and keep the operation safe, economical, and straightforward, so you can focus on extracting your favorite botanicals instead of on complex workflows and formulas.


Looking to make botanicals on a smaller scale? The SOURCE Turbo is your answer because:

  • It is safe and easy to use. SOURCE Turbo is a smart Bluetooth-compatible device making it effortless for you to make concentrated or edible botanical products in the comfort of your home.
  • SOURCE Turbo will save you money because it recovers 95% of the ethanol used in one cycle. 
  • Its compact size (7” long by 7” wide and 10” high) allows it to fit perfectly on your countertop and in the storage units.
  • It works quickly and safely since you can operate it at different altitudes to make different botanical oils and concentrates.

EtOH Pro (Rev 2)

If you are looking to extract larger batches of botanicals at home or are running a small-scale business, EtOH Pro is for you:

  • Has a higher capacity of 4 liters, meaning you can process 1-2 pounds of dry material at once. Similarly, it has a larger ceramic-coated kettle where you can harvest the oil.
  • Recovers 98% of ethanol for reuse. Compared to the SOURCE Turbo which saves 3% less, EtOH Pro makes more economical sense for large-scale production.
  • Operates for a 3-hour time span, allowing you enough to prepare the next batch.

Start Your Botanical Extraction Journey Today!

Now that you know how pure extraction of oils and essence from plants works, are you ready to start making your own? Try our low-temperature botanical extraction machines designed to give you the cleanest extract oils. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you have any more questions about the extraction process or our extraction machines.


Image Source: Romolo Tavani / Shutterstock