Oil Extraction: the Best Solvents to Use

Oil Extraction: the Best Solvents to Use

One of the best solvents for food-grade extraction processes is hexane. With few other solvents having the same ability to remove the same percentage of oil, hexane has remained the world-wide preferred solvent for extracting oils. Read on to learn more about why this chemical compound is one of the best solvents for oil extraction.

What is Solvent Extraction?

Solvent extraction is the use of solvents to remove one material from a second material in which it is soluble with. Solvent extraction has been shown to be the most efficient in oil extraction from plants to produce food-grade oils, such as cooking oils.

Finding the Best Solvent for Oil Extraction

When trying to determine the best solvent for oil extraction, oil yield is the primary factor investigated.

The chemical compound chosen for the extraction process should be more selective for dissolving some components than others and the process should also be irreversible. It should also be separable from the compound extracted, allowing for solvent recycling.

Density often plays a key factor in the separation of the solvent and the extracted compound. Other factors that you should consider when choosing a chemical compound for extraction are:

  • Cost
  • Machine compatibility
  • Viscosity

Why Hexane is the Best Solvent for Oil Extraction

Hexane-based extractions are a great choice due to the high yield of compound and solvent recovery. Using hexane as the chemical compound, oil yields of greater than 95% are possible along with greater than 95% solvent recovery once the extraction process is complete.

Using hexane and the solvent extraction method to remove oil, the process requires less maintenance, uses less power, and leaves minimal, less than 5%, oil unrecovered making it an ideal chemical for extraction.

Advantageous Hexane Properties

In addition to yielding a high amount of extracted compounds, here are some other properties that make hexane so desirable:

  • Low Toxicity = This chemical compound is safe for use when oil is extracted for consumer use. It does not emit strong odors or toxic fumes.
  • Low Boiling Point = Boiling occurs between 50 – 70 °C allowing for quick evaporation.
  • Food Grade = This chemical compound is considered food-grade, and is a great choice if you’re looking to extract compounds that will be later consumed.

Looking to Purchase Hexane?

BulkChemicals2Go can help! 55-gallon drums of hexane and other solvents are available to purchase for extraction uses. Contact us to learn more!