Episode 3

Published on:

5th Jan 2021

S1 E03 - Centrifugal Extraction Of Cannabis

Learn the tricks of the trade for centrifugal ethanol extraction. Jason talks to Adam Chambers of Delta Separations about how their CUP line of ethanol extractors are the best tool for extracting the most out of your biomass, as well as all the other equipment offerings Delta has released recently. Times, temperatures, and SOPs that Delta usually charges for training on are 'extracted' in this interview.


Jason Showard - 00:00:11 

Hello and welcome to Episode three of The Modern Extractor, the podcast that focuses on the processes, equipment and science found in a cannabis extraction laboratory. I'm your host, Jason Showard, and I work professionally in the cannabis extraction field. Here in season one, we're focusing on ethanol extraction and post-processing. With each episode digging deep into a particular stage in that process. The shows are released in an order that follows the progress of material through a lab, following it from Cultivar to concentrate. 


Jason Showard - 00:00:39 

Last week we discussed how to select quality biomass to extract from. After listening back to the show, I feel like I said a lot about what could go wrong there and neglected to mention that forming great relationships with your local growers is the absolute best way to consistently get quality biomass. In the second half of last week's show, we talked to Bri Tolp from Futurola about how their shredders can get you to your ideal mill sites for extraction. It was a great show and definitely worth a listen if you haven't already. 


Jason Showard - 00:01:08 

This week takes us to the next stage, which is the extraction process. We've got Adam Chambers from Delta Separations on today to give us the latest from Delta, as well as breakdown how their revolutionary CUP Series centrifuges will get you the most out of your material. So without any further ado, Adam Chambers, welcome to The Modern Extractor. 


Adam Chambers - 00:01:28 

It's great to be here. Looking forward to this. 


Jason Showard - 00:01:30 

Absolutely. Yeah. We're excited to have you as far as starting off with you. Where are you calling in from today? 


Adam Chambers - 00:01:36 

So today I'm speaking to you guys from the conference room here at Delta Separations in Cotati, California, just north of San Francisco and south of Santa Rosa. It's the main headquarters for Delta Separations and it's where we've been full time for the last couple of years and has been our home, this acquisition, and this strange year that we've had. 


Jason Showard - 00:01:59 

OK, great. Tell me a little bit about your journey to Delta and how you ended up working there. 


Adam Chambers - 00:02:06 

Of course, I don't think it would be uncommon to say that a lot of the people here at Delta, their route to the company was somewhat unconventional and I'm no exception. I studied forensic molecular biology, got a minor in chemistry and physics at the Virginia Commonwealth University. After graduating, I moved back over to Europe. I am half British in case that's of any consequence. And my father lives in Mediterranean Spain. I spent a couple of years up there just kind of figuring out what I was going to do. 


Adam Chambers - 00:02:43 

And I was invited to open an ethanol extraction facility in Southern California and in Coachella. And so I, you know, two weeks later, I was on a plane. And I had, and that was where I'd kind of get my start. And in the middle of the Mojave, really hot, inhospitable environment but we threw together some shipping containers that we retrofitted ourselves. And did the electrical and all of that stuff. And fitted with our own homemade extraction system with pumps and some basic lab gear as a proof of concept before we were picked up as being, you know, after we proved what we could do. 


Adam Chambers - 00:03:28 

Langfield Global. The notable ethanol solvent supplier in general and Verano Holdings, that they decided to invest in us so we formed a new, that went from [inaudible 00:03:40] manufacturing, which was the original name to DGV Group, the conglomerate of the three companies to produce distillate at large quantities. And so we started to do research as to how we would be able to handle this throughput. And we came across Delta [inaudible 00:04:00] and our CEO met them at a trade show. And they were, you know, very, he was very enamored by the CUP series in general, as it should have been. 


Adam Chambers - 00:04:12 

And we made the decision to go to their gear and actually ended up with some of the very first, if not the first falling film and rolled film distillation units, as well as the CUP 30 that we had. And we also made a bit of a precursor makeshift version of the DC 40 or so, just with a keg, a heat exchanger, and some compressors outside. And all that again in shipping containers, individualized, but very, very well kept. We were a group that had all studied hard science in school and kind of knew what we wanted. 


Adam Chambers - 00:04:50 

And we worked out all of the S.O.Ps. The following film that and the chiller designated to it does not [inaudible 00:04:58] not quite robust enough to keep up with 128-degree heat in the summer. 


Jason Showard - 00:05:04 

I could imagine that. 


Adam Chambers - 00:05:06 

Yeah, it was rough. So we helped Delta to find their way to G and D as a supplier for their trailers, that went rather well. And that's the falling film 60-gallon variant was also born just because they had more. The robusticity of the entire platform just kind of went up. And now while it was about a forty-five gallon capacity for us people. In a normal environment to push a bit more. Also hoped to make some modifications to the RFE. So one of us kind of came up with the [inaudible 00:05:39] helped them with the standard way to get a really good removal rate for cannabinoids and the CUP series. Involved in that project were many of the different people at Delta because we were kind of the canary in the coal mine for a lot of their newer platforms. 


Adam Chambers - 00:05:55 

So I met Ben and Jim out here. Steven's being the founder and Jim being the head engineer. And obviously some of their more famous characters like John and Casey, who I owe a lot to. They taught me a whole bunch, and it made me a much better extractor. They have a lot of experience in the game. 


Adam Chambers - 00:06:15 

And then I, you know, I wasn't very happy after we completed all of this stuff, we weren't very much appreciated for our work. So I decided to move on. And I took a job with another company called Halo Labs that produced products for some reputable brands, Hush being one of them for instance. They did use hydrocarbons to extract and I helped them with some optimization that they needed in their labs. The head of when [inaudible 00:06:48] kind of crippled them a little bit and they were forced to let a bunch of people go. 


Adam Chambers - 00:06:54 

And that was when I finally made the right decision, hit Ben up for a job. And he, you know, with open arms helped me come up to Santa Rosa. And actually, yesterday is March [inaudible 00:07:09], the anniversary of when I joined up here. Just shortly before the acquisition and everything. It's been kind of strange. I've been involved with Delta for much longer than I've worked here, I suppose. Yeah, that's kind of the come to the company story for me here. 


Jason Showard - 00:07:28 

All right. Yeah, I am no stranger to how those relationships grow, and when you're one of the first people to receive some equipment, and they actually are good at giving feedback and having technical conversations, you can build some relationships really quickly. 


Adam Chambers - 00:07:44 

Yeah, and Ben is a visionary and a fantastic human being. It changed my life for the better as well. So I was happy to help him out when we were pioneering some of his gear. But more so when he offered me a job and was so generous with me. I just owe him a lot. 


Jason Showard - 00:08:05 

Nice. Well, that's great. So can you give me a brief, like a bird's eye view of Delta as a company? How did they start? How did it all come about? 


Adam Chambers - 00:08:16 

Yeah, of course. So, again, it comes down to Ben really. Ben's been in the game for a long time. Longer than I've even considered it an industry before legalization, all of that good stuff. He is a technical man himself. 


Adam Chambers - 00:08:34 

But this started out, you know, I suppose you could say that Delta was kind of founded on his just, services in building some custom systems. Despite the fact that ethanol is the main, what Delta is known for. Ben also has experience building CO2 and hydrocarbon systems, along with some of the other people that he helped start Delta with as well. They're also to be credited. 


Adam Chambers - 00:09:02 

And as it progressed, you know all those five years ago or so, around three years ago, that is when Ben had the bright idea to make an ethanol [inaudible 00:09:13] that would go two directions. And it sounds simple, but the electrical engineering work that goes behind a motor that can do that readily is harder than you might think. And so they came up with a method and optimized it, paid for it. And lo and behold, it just works better than most anything else out there. 


Jason Showard - 00:09:32 

I can attest to that. Absolutely. Yeah. That's why when it came down to the episode on centrifugal extraction, I was like, OK, Delta is the one that I want to talk to. I was very happy to get you on the phone. 


Adam Chambers - 00:09:45 

Yeah, very happy to talk about. 


Jason Showard - 00:09:47 

Yeah, I mean, you guys got to be proud of being the best. 


Adam Chambers - 00:09:51 

Yeah. I mean, I feel bad repping it. I guess it helps that the [inaudible 00:09:57] I suppose helped in developing it, but the engineers that developed it are the real rock stars. 


Jason Showard - 00:10:02 

Right on. So Delta started doing ethanol extraction and that was their main bag. When I got into the industry, every manufacturer had their specialty. You went to Delta for your centrifuge and there are other manufacturers that you would go to for a falling film or road evap even before that. And then moving on to all the various stills that are out there for distillation. Nowadays, everybody is coming out with their own entire suite. So can you give me a brief description of just the current equipment offerings that you guys have now beyond the CUP series centrifuges? 


Adam Chambers - 00:10:48 

Of course. So as far as just Delta is concerned because obviously, we have under the Gibraltar umbrella as of this year and everything. With specific to Delta or the ethanol products and again, the rolled film molecular distillation rate that we offer. But it gets [inaudible 00:11:11] from the beginning, so to speak, the Direct Chiller 40, DC 40, as it's known, is a [inaudible 00:11:19] filtering system that will allow you to feel, it's very important and very useful, I guess, in the sense that it can one, chill your ethanol and has its onboard pump to bring in solvent from a tertiary location, but it can also refill your [inaudible 00:11:37]. That's one thing that's really cool, that it's so you can run things in a loop. We offer, we're partnered with [inaudible 00:11:45] to provide a filtration skill that again has its pump on it. So that you can make sure that after it comes up [inaudible 00:11:54] CUP 30. 


Jason Showard - 00:11:55 

I'm sorry, I didn't hear, I didn't hear which, what company that was for the filter. 


Adam Chambers - 00:12:00 

Oh, it's ErtelAlsop 


Jason Showard - 00:12:02 



Adam Chambers - 00:12:03 

Yeah, they're a fantastic filter manufacturer for [inaudible 00:12:06] filtration and beyond the, you know. If you've processed before you've ever tried to use vacuum filtration for cannabis processing, you've probably had a really bad time. 


Jason Showard - 00:12:18 

It is not fun. 


Adam Chambers - 00:12:20 

Nah! That used to be my entire day way back when. And so yeah between that and winterization. I was very thankful when we realized that we wanted to go cold and that you could push your miscella through a filter instead of having to pull it through and wait several hours longer than it took it to attack your material. So, yeah, that compresses our extraction suite. Like the loop there, that you can do, and you can [inaudible 00:12:51] as many bags as you can fit into a batch of ethanol. That it was ever going to take it out of the loop, which we're very happy with. 


Adam Chambers - 00:12:59 

Afterwards, you can send it out to our falling film evaporator. It comes in two different, you can call them models the steel there is the same. And it's just a chiller size variant that will give you two different capacities of forty-five or six pounds an hour. Should be expecting some higher throughputs in the future, the near future that is. As it stands, we're implementing some new technology. My engineers will come and sock me if I talk too much about that, to get some higher numbers for the evaporation tech that we have. But the falling film is just the best way to go about it when you're extracting botanical compounds with ethanol. 


Jason Showard - 00:13:46 

Couldn't agree. 


Adam Chambers - 00:13:47 

Pull over a lot of. Yeah, exactly. You'll pull over a lot of water and stuff. And the falling film, the way that it's laid out, just re-proofs each time so you can pick all of the moisture content out of there. 


Jason Showard - 00:13:59 

OK, actually, I wasn't planning on getting too deep into this today because it is an episode on centrifugal extraction. But you've piqued my interest with the reproofing on your falling film. If you could just real quick describe why it reproofs the ethanol. I'd love to know. 


Adam Chambers - 00:14:21 

Yeah, of course. So as it falls down the column, the extract that is [inaudible 00:14:27] you vaporize it and the extract stays in its, you know, the viscous solid form, it's going to fall into the column, down the column and be recollected. But the vapor passed on the other hand, is such that it goes through a couple of ducts and travels against gravity to travel back to the second side of the heat exchange, the plate heat exchangers where that are being chilled. And will thus re-condense the ethanol. The molecular weight of water and any of the trapped extract as it's coming through across that column, is going to it's going to drop out against gravity effectively. And just be re-collected into the concentrate where you can easily get rid of it with the heat which [inaudible 00:15:18


Jason Showard - 00:15:20 

OK, that makes sense. So it stays with the heavies, so to speak. 


Adam Chambers - 00:15:24 



Jason Showard - 00:15:24 

That's interesting. OK, cool. Was that it for your equipment offerings? Oh. No you guys have your molecular [inaudible 00:15:33] as well. 


Adam Chambers - 00:15:34 

Yeah, exactly. There's the roll film which we really, I really like. You know, it's, I love Delta Separations, but I'm sure anybody here would admit as well, it's a great machine for the price point. That again, you can do it, I love [inaudible 00:15:50] units, and there are plenty of other units out there that have a great price tag but are absolutely phenomenal in operations. [inaudible 00:15:58] yield as well, for a five-liter unit. It's hard to beat. [inaudible 00:16:04] it’s always nice to have because they won't break like the wipers will, if you've ever again, just going back to the processing days. If you've ever had to stop pulp production to change the wipers on a wiped film unit, can be really frustrating. 


Jason Showard - 00:16:20 

Well, and then also with the wiped film units, if you don't change them and nothing catastrophically goes wrong, they just recede and then you're slowly and slowly getting less temperature control as that film builds up a little bit thicker. It's something that's a little bit insidious there. Where nothing's catastrophically wrong, so you don't go in to fix it. But then it ends up costing you yield for sure. 


Adam Chambers - 00:16:43 

Exactly. And I'd say that I think there's one other machine that is worth mentioning. We've recently this year released our Vortex Trichome Separator. Our solventless [inaudible 00:16:59] hash machine. That's co-developed with [inaudible 00:17:03] it uses a patented dual vortex that's generated by the paddles down at bottom of the basin to, again, just kind of whip a vortex into the water and brush the trichomes off very gently to create some fantastic water hash with it as well. 


Adam Chambers - 00:17:24 

And it has some nice safety features and a [inaudible 00:17:27] pump to be able to pull your water throughout and not have gravity drain it as the older prototype units. That's all...

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About the Podcast

The Modern Extractor
Professional extractors talk extraction!
The Modern Extractor is a podcast about the processes, equipment, and science found inside a cannabis extraction laboratory. Season one focuses on the process of ethanol extraction and post processing into either distillate or isolate. Season two focuses on hydrocarbon extraction and the craft concentrates that it can produce. Each episode digs deep into a particular stage in the extraction and finishing processes, and we discuss the various approaches with industry expert guests. Episodes are released in an order which follows the work flow through a lab, following material closely through the process from cultivar to concentrate.