3 Lessons Learned: Alcohol

Benefits of Food-Grade Ethyl Alcohol aka Ethanol

There are various extraction processes available nowadays, utilizing a wide array of solvents. But why is food-grade ethyl alcohol, also known as as ethanol, very popular? But why is food-grade ethyl alcohol, otherwise called ethanol, extremely popular? So why the great popularity of food-grade ethyl alcohol, or simply, ethanol? The answer lies in its simplicity, safety, and reasonable cost.

Ethanol is a very efficient solvent and couldn’t be more perfect for the extraction essences, herbal botanical oils, and sterols. Unlike hexane, butane and other solvents, it has no hydrocarbon residual, which is not only impossible to get rid of from an extract but creates a foul taste and may even be harmful. Plenty of products don’t use ingredients containing hydrocarbon residue- and for good reason. Ethanol is easily removed from an extract, and is completely safe for human consumption as well, making it the ideal solvent. Fact is, ethyl alcohol is popularly used on a wide range of products today, whether essential oils or tinctures or concentrates and so on. Using food Grade Ethyl Alcohol, potential impurities can be reduced.

Ethanol is safe not only for human consumption, but it’s also comparatively safe to handle in the modern environments. Ethanol comes with the benefit of not needing to be stored under pressure, unlike the others. It only has to be stored at room temperature in a sealed and non-flammable container. Alhough ethanol is flammable, its behavior is highly predictable and is almost never a cause of a fire.

However, the bottom line with ethanol is cost. Ethanol costs low – drastically cheaper, in fact, than instrument grade butane and medical grade C02. Ethanol’s’ key benefit is the cash it will save over the long term; as ethanol is easy to obtain from a tincture through recovery and distillation, the great majority of ethanol used may be reused indefinitely.

In terms of solvent extraction costs, there is promise in the future. Certain extraction sectors are have remained federally regulated, but that is expected to change. When that time comes, some extraction solvents will be meticulously reviewed by federal regulatory agencies. Therefore, extraction shops cannot utilize low-grade (welding) CO2 or butane in their extractions anymore – they will have no choice but to depend on pharma-grade gases, which are way more expensive.

Ethanol, in contrast, will likely be favored by federal oversight. At the moment, extractors in certain sectors could still not recompense excise taxes from the federal government. When federal regulation starts, however, extraction store will likely be able to warrant excise tax refunds. The cost of ethanol could probably decrease substantially as federal oversight ensues. Given that excise taxes account for 70% of the total cost of ethanol, this brings a considerable lowering of the cost of operations extraction with ethanol as a solvent.
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