The former hop extraction specialist, which is based in Wolnzach, Germany, said it had successfully completed all test runs of the factory, which has just opened.
Traditional CO2 extraction has been done at a pressure of 300 bar. However, the plant operates at a maximum pressure of 1,000 bar and could extract very sensitive substances such as carotenoids, from sources such as vegetables, omega-3 fatty acids or vitamins, said Nateco2.
In addition, hardly soluble substances, including long chain waxes for the cosmetics industry or other large molecules, can be extracted with CO2 gently and without using solvents.
Additional 1,600 litres
The firm's previously developed 1,000 bar pilot plant only had a capacity of 50 litres, but the new facility initially offers production volumes of 800 litres, with an option of an additional 1,600 litres.
Like Nateco2's other eight plants, it has two separators and is capable of fractionating, deodorising and decontaminating the substances it processes.
"It is our speciality to accompany and implement the extraction processes of our customers from first lab tests to an industrial scale," said plant manager Dr Andreas Wuzik.
Plants up to 16,000 litre capacity
Nateco2 has been a subcontractor of CO2 extraction for more than 30 years and operates plants with up to 16,000 litre production capacity.
CO2 extraction is deemed to offer an environmentally friendly, sustainable and gentle extraction method. CO2 in a high pressure, so-called supercritical state, resolves desired substances from raw materials.
When pressure is decreased, the CO2 again releases the extracts. Process parameters are adjusted depending on the raw material. The biogenic CO2 used for extraction has US Generally Recognised As Safe (GRAS) status and can be used immediately for conventional and organic food as well as cosmetics. Oils and extracts gained are not contaminated by the process.