DIY CO2 Extraction?

I don’t know about ya’ll, but I have been watching CO2 Super Critical Fluid (SFE) with interest and have wanted to sample some cannabis essential oils extracted by that method, but the cost of conventional SFE equipment, is outside the range of most of our finances.

For the rest of ya’ll just learning of the process, let’s quickly examine what SFE is, by looking at what Wikipedia has to say about it, followed by our kicking off our affordable DIY CO2 extractor design project:

Supercritical carbon dioxide

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

SCFE CO2supercriticalpressure

 

 

 

 

 

Standard carbon dioxide pressure-temperature phase diagram  from Wiki, plus another showing the droopy nose normally not shown on CO@ SCFE charts, but which can be exploited.

Supercritical carbon dioxide is a fluid state of carbon dioxide where it is held at or above its critical temperature and critical pressure.

Carbon dioxide usually behaves as a gas in air at standard temperature and pressure (STP), or as a solid called dry ice when frozen. If the temperature and pressure are both increased from STP to be at or above the critical point for carbon dioxide, it can adopt properties midway between a gas and a liquid. More specifically, it behaves as a supercritical fluid above its critical temperature (31.1 °C) and critical pressure (72.9 atm/7.39 MPa), expanding to fill its container like a gas but with a density like that of a liquid.

Supercritical CO2 is becoming an important commercial and industrial solvent due to its role in chemical extraction in addition to its low toxicity and environmental impact. The relatively low temperature of the process and the stability of CO2 also allows most compounds to be extracted with little damage or denaturing. In addition, the solubility of many extracted compounds in CO2 vary with pressure,[1]permitting selective extractions.

Soooo, in us’n layman’s terms,  we use plain old CO2, that we have gotten hotter than 31.1C/87.98F, while under at least 1086 pounds per square inch pressure.

In that state, the CO2 becomes a super solvent, which has higher penetration power, and can be fine tuned to focus in on specific constitutes, by varying the pressure, temperature, and by the use of co-solvents like ethanol or hexane.

Fair enough, and easy enough to accomplish several ways!  Traditionally a high pressure intensifier pump is used to achieve the required pressures.

Cryo-pumping also works.  You start with liquid CO2 or dry ice and heat it in an enclosed space.

My first conceptual of a system that was semi affordable, was a simple minded system using liquid CO2 and heat to run it at about 1500 PSI.  That eliminated the pumps normally used and by using a liquid Dewar with a dip tube, with both a gas head and a liquid tap, the need for any liquid pumps is eliminated as well.

It is designed to use readily available Schedule 180 austenitic stainless pipe and its largest component is small enough to fit in my 7″ X 36″ lathe.  My original plan was to use an existing hydraulic cylinder for my vessel, but alas, carbon steel embrittles excessively at cryogenic temperatures.

My design calls for achieving pressure by simply heating the pipe with available pipe band heaters.

Pressure was controlled using a conventional, though expensive back pressure regulator.  Please note the attached conceptual, which reflects my thinking four to five years ago.  I put the project on the back burner after reading the SFE CO2 patents for extracting cannabis, and noting that CO2 isn’t a very aggressive solvent and the patented processes used significant fluid exchange rates, as well as relatively long spans of time.

To compound that, reports from those testing SFE CO2 extractions reported poor taste and effects, so I put CO2 extraction on the back burner to just watch for awhile.

Within the last couple of years several folks have done some interesting work starting with dry ice.  The first that I noted was able to maintain high enough pressure in a test tube to keep dry ice from sublimating as it warmed, so as to extract some Limonene from an orange peel.

That led me to question whether super critical pressures were required to extract the essential oils from cannabis that we typically extract with other solvents, and further experiments by others suggests that it is not.  Some even report better results at subcritical pressures, especially with the use of co-solvents.

Sub critical extraction presents an interesting twist from a simplicity standpoint, so of course my simple mind immediately envisioned replacing the test tube with a pressure vessel containing dry ice in the bottom, and a basket of material suspended above it.  Screw down lid and bring it up to temperature with a pipe clamp heater for pressure.

Flooding is achieved by simply turning it upside down to soak the material and right side up to drain.  That step could be repeated back and forth, to soak the material and keep the boundary layers diminished.  On setting it upright the final time, we could bleed off the liquid into an expansion chamber and then to atmosphere, leaving behind the oil.

I have decided to build a 2″ X 24″ prototype, and have acquired two resources on this project that emboldens me.  One is the offer from a dear old friend, to allow me the use of his aerospace pressure and vacuum equipment manufacturing facilities for giggles and old times sake.

The other is an agreement with another old friend, who owns a cryogenic equipment manufacturing plant back east and is familiar with SFE.

We have a mutual engineering support agreement in effect, in exchange for my support on one of their projects with a former aerospace customer of mine, who is now their customer as well.

For my support interfacing their equipment with equipment of my own design and manufacture before retirement, they will support me in developing a simple minded DIY SFE system, that hopefully more of us’ns can afford to build, or have built.

So here is my first simple minded conceptual using liquid:

Here is my simple minded conceptual starting with dry ice:
OOPs, solly, watch this space!

After working all day on the drawing, my 2002 32 bit Auto Cad program is not able to access my printer on my 64 bit processor, and I’m not smart enough to figure it out, so I have to find a computer hero or heroine first.

The way my conceptual works, is the bottom of the cylinder is filled with dry ice , on top of which sits a wire basket of plant material.  Clamp on band heaters turn the dry ice to liquid, which is circulated and soaked through the material by simply turning the cylinder upside down.

After flipping it about a few times, over an extended soak, the vessel is set upright and attached to the lower expansion chamber via a hydraulic quick disconnect.  The liquid is bled off, decompressed, and the oil collected from the decompression vessel via the bottom drain valve, as well as via the detachable bottom.

Lu lu lu lu lu lu lu lu lu lu lu lu lu lu lu!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Progress!

Well thank the Great Spirit for ex-brother in laws, who can sort out computer problems, so that I can print from virtual mode.  Hee, hee, hee, kept him at tossed the sister……….

Here is my simple minded conceptual of how such a dry ice system might work.  More detail prints once I have exercised some resources.

After further discussion with another experimenter, I have decided to build the system to operate at 5000 psi and below.  Instead of using schedule 160 stainless pipe, I will gun grill a billet of stainless, but will keep the bore at one inch.

Hi ya’ll!

Been out talking to folks running commercial CO2 SFE units and would like to share some selected excerpts from their letters, to keep their identities confidential:

Hi Graywolf, here is some pics of the unit i have been running for 8+ years. Our whole thing with this unit was to have maximum fractionation capabilities. 

The extraction vessel is rated to 10,000psi,  and made of stainless!! 

We use a basket to hold the material and I’m having a natural cloth bag made that will go into the vessel and hopefully allow me to extract 2x current volume. 

There are some great graphs around the net that show the combinations of pressure and temps and the resulting density of co2. In general high pressure (we go up to 10,000psi) works well in combination with high temps (around 100c) and lower pressure around 5000 psi goes well with about 60c. 

I tried high pressure and while i need to try again to confirm, there seemed to be some degradation to the overall quality and definitely the fragrance. the yield was higher and its much more efficient requiring less co2. 

I already noticed on the bit of extract that i dissolved in ethanol and then winterized and filtered, the flavor is no where near what it was before going in the ethanol. I plan to try and get the waxes out with only co2. 

I cant see any advantage to using either hexane or ethanol or a mixture as a co solvent?? the compounds are easily soluble in co2 and usually those types of things will help to extract more polar compounds such as chlorophyll. It all depends on what your goals are? maybe he is using that mixture to help fractionate out the waxes?? 

I can do a small run next week using those co- solvents and report back if i see anything magic or some beautiful separation. maybe he is just some chemical engineer using a method that was used for another project and he is trying to apply it there? 

It seems really counterproductive to use co solvents and contaminate a great extract… maybe he can only do really low pressure and he requires the co solvent to help the efficiency?? 

I found material with a moisture content of around 10% to be fine. I don’t know what the implications of a slight amount of carbonic acid could mean? 

I have heard it can make oils rancid, but have run vegetable oils at 10+% moisture and had them test very low in peroxide values in respect to oxidation and rancidity. I do not see any problems with around 10% moisture, the water sometimes comes out with the extract and is sitting on top and the few mls there can be poured off.

And from yet another hero!

I. Extraction was performed by sub and supercritical CO2: 

        Subcritical (liquid): 10-12 ºC @ 65-70 bar for approximately 6 hrs. 

        Supercritical (liqid/gas): 40-45 ºC @ 230 bar for approximately 4 hrs. 

II. Separation of fats and sugars, by winterization, chromatography and high speed centrifugation. 

This part was very critical in the purification schema and required analysis of both the anaylate and precipitate. 

III. Purification, at this point one has two options, Flash Chromatography or Wiped Film Evaporation (Short-path) 

I performed both and in both techniques, one can obtain purities in the range of   95-99% total THC (∆9, ∆8 and ∆6) with the purity of  ∆9 ranging anywhere from  78-98% depending on the parameters set. 

One last comment, probably the most important….. absolutely no petroleum derived hydrocarbon solvent was used. Except for the small amounts used for LC/MS analysis.  This was my driving force to see if it could actually be pulled off.

12-21-12

We are moving this project from research to active experimentation in our FY 2013, now that the shack and Terpenators projects are a fait accompli.  What I did in FY 2012, was simply research and develop resources.

It was good that I did, as further research put things in better perspective.

While I determined that my simple minded CO2 SCFE system would work, it raises a the bigger germane question of why is this trip necessary, given how effective BHO and some of the other extraction methods are.  Why spend the money for this more expensive fish trap, if we already have the fish?

The answer lies in that what CO2 SFE extraction shines at, is selective extraction.  By fine tuning the pressure and temperature, as well as using co-solvents, specific components may be extracted, while leaving behind everything else.

That is of less value when discussing cannabis essential oil extraction, in that it has been determined that it is the entourage effects of all the terpenes present, including the diterpene cannabinoids, that are responsible for its medicinal properties.  That however doesn’t mean that we can’t specifically focus on that list of terpenes.

The other thing that my research made clear, and  that is using one vessel to process the material and raise the pressure in, would result in extractions along the entire temperature/pressure curve.  Woops, no selectivity there, but easily solved by bringing the liquid CO2 or dry ice up to a higher temperature and pressure in a separate vessel, and then equalizing it with the one containing the plant material!  Easy, but the system complexity grows.

One of the interesting things that my research turned up during tete a tetes with brothers owning and operating commercial CO2 SCFE’s, and bumblers like myself whomping up DYI ghetto extraction equipment, is the wide range of processes that different operators have achieved a modicum of success at.

One operator simply took the valve out of a CO2 bottle and filled it with plant material and dry ice, before replacing the valve and heating the tank to SCFE ranges.  He then inverted the tank and vented the CO2 into a catch container, where it left cannabis essential oils behind.

He claimed his best success using co-solvents at ~5500 psi and that his product was superior to all competing, but alas, I was never able to sample it and his spamming got him banned from the forums where we shared information.

Commercial SCFE operators report successful sub critical products as low as 350psi, and another at 850psi, but I haven’t been able to sample their successes, to confirm my own opinion of product quality.  There in lies the rub of course, as there is no common measurement and each creator loves his creation.

Fortune has ostensibly smiled on us however, in that two of the operators that I have been conversing with, have agreed to work more closely with us and to supply confirmation samples.  Hee, hee, hee……………………………

Even simpler DIY SCFE C02 6-2-13

Hee, hee, hee, you have to admire simplicity.  Here is the system by jyndustriez which I mentioned, that simply puts the plant material in an off the shelf CO2 tank, and floods it with liquid C02 from a second off the shelf tank, before heating to achieve super critical state.

More information on how he accomplishes that at http://jyndustriez.blogspot.com/, but here are some pictures he has shared:

DIY SCFE C02 extraction-1-2DIY SCFE extraction-1-1DIY SCFE CO2 extraction-1-3

8-25-2013

Progress!  We got to play with a donated SCFE CO2 extraction sample and were able to heat it under vacuum and observe the effects.

As received, the sample was in a “wax” hydrate form, and was not aromatic.  The flavor was mild, and the effects were good.

As it was a small sample, I was unable to winterize it to remove the waxes, but I was able to heat it to 115F, under vacuum, and observe what happened.

The sample out gassed significant CO2, even though at 115F decarboxylation was minimal, and never quite turned clear, due to the high wax content, but that isn’t unique, as BHO extracts are improved by wax removal as well.

On the surface however, the wax content seemed high, compared to our typical BHO extraction, so I look forward to a large enough sample to winterize and determine just how much.

Here is a starting and ending photo, demonstrating the ending wax content.

C02 sample-1-1C02 sample-1-2

To add to our excitement, last week we got a guided tour of Eden Labs during our recent business trip to Seattle!  What fun!!!

Patrick, one of Eden Lab’s bright new sales consultants, attended one of our BHO classes and subsequently invited us for a tour, so how could we resist, hee, hee, hee, snicker, snark, snort………………?

Always a pleasure to see how the pros from Dover do things, and I do likes the way they detail a package.

We lucked out in finding the original creator available and got our guided tour from Fritz himself.  Besides his latest creation, we got to see not only his original test sled, but some of the R&D that may make great strides someday, when Fritz can find enough time to finish them, between current product demands……….

Their latest all stainless creation was in final assembly and testing, and was capable of extracting not only with subcritical and Super critical C02, but also with refrigerants like butane and propane.

It was appointed well, and used pneumatic intensifiers both for the hydrocarbon pump, as well as the SCFE CO2 pump.

It also sported a unique closure system, which simply spins close and that greatly simplifies loading, as compared to a 12 bolt flange with a torque wrench.

The vessel itself uses a Schedule 160 stainless core, but adds water jackets, so as to permit the use of a commercial heater/chiller for temperature control.

The unit that we looked at, had a $60K base price, plus the price of the hydrocarbon extraction capabilities.  Not cheap, and more complicated that most folks should attempt at home, but if you need a machine capable of a quality extract, in commercial quantities, you will need to step up to a system of this caliber, which includes pumps to cycle the C02, and C02 recycle to recover it afterwards.

Fritz did note that one of the things on his list of thangs he is juggling, is a smaller lab sized unit, which fills the market window for a smaller unit that doesn’t recycle.  Looking forward to see what comes up there!

From a process perspective, Fritz shared that the aromatic extractions are best done at low pressures and as the pressure goes up, so does the rate of chlorophyll extraction.  Based on his and other input, I will focus on the range from 800 psi to 3500 psi.  While I’ve heard operating parameters up to 9500 psi, the lower ranges sound more believable.

As unbelievable as it may sound, ah think sometimes operators shuck me, cause they are trying to protect process secrets and lead me astray.

10-27-13

Lu lu lu lu lu lu lu lu lu lu lu lu lu lu lu!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1  The Great Spirit smiled and JYNdustriez loaned us a CO2 extraction setup and will show us how to use it, when he visits to watch Dr. Fischedick’s lecture on 11-2.

I’ve also located a local brother with an Eden Lab machine, who is amenable to experimentation, so things are heating up in the area of CO2 extraction at Skunk Pharm Research.  We will have machines from both ends of the price scale to experiment with.

Sound CO2 has also extended us an invitation to visit, and they run Apeks equipment, soooo even though our CO2 project was slow getting in motion this year, it looks like it is finishing with a bang.

1-31-14

Hee, hee, hee, check out JYN’s latest link on DIY SCFE CO2 http://jyndustriezllc.com/diy-co2-extraction-crumble-wax-shatter/

274 responses to this post.

  1. I’m gone to say to my little brother, that he should also go to see this weblog on regular basis to obtain updated from most recent news.

    Reply

  2. Posted by Dave on August 20, 2014 at 10:40 PM

    Your system isn’t rated for the pressre required to use c02.

    Reply

  3. Trying to use a BHOgart 1Lb with Co2 instead of Butane.I need some professional help?

    Reply

    • Posted by Patrick on August 20, 2014 at 11:05 PM

      Please don’t do that. Your system has improper wall thickness, safety features, etc. If you’re interested in DIY co2 extraction check out jy industries.

      Reply

      • Posted by matthiasParadigm on August 21, 2014 at 7:14 AM

        LOL Please don’t try to pressurize CO2 in a BHO machine, the refrigerant pump nor the tubing and fittings, are rated for CO2 pressures. Not only will your pump fail to reach critical temps and pressures, your equipment would probably burst at about 400 psi(if you’re lucky). If you don’t mind me asking, what is your experience with fabrication? If you have questions feel free to ask, but forewarning you, this is a technical process and requires a lot of research.

        Reply

  4. Posted by JohnnyKush on August 16, 2014 at 4:09 PM

    Jyndustriezllc is down did anyone happen to save the DIY co2 setup info and can share it by posting a link to it here?

    Reply

  5. Hola! I’ve been reading your website for some time now
    and finally got the bravery to go ahead and give you a shout out from Dallas Texas!

    Just wanted to say keep up the great job!

    Reply

  6. Posted by Dave on July 24, 2014 at 8:29 PM

    I’m curious about your recirculation design. I have a 5l and 10l but both vent to atmosphere. Can you email me desertracer812@yahoo.com

    Reply

  7. Posted by sam on June 30, 2014 at 3:15 PM

    Hi Karen :

    I read many of your excellent articles about extraction topic and i found it Wonderful
    and useful .
    I’m now working on specific herb extraction and trying to figure the best method to
    do it , since the active ingredient resulted is very sensitive to oxygen and light , so I’m
    looking for some apparatus that has the ability to take the herb with olive oil (infusion )
    without oxygen (may be use nitrogen to get rid of O2 ) or to apply infusion in vacuumed
    container …….is this applicable ?
    I’m really interested in your opinion .

    Reply

  8. Posted by sam on June 30, 2014 at 2:35 PM

    hi to all

    Reply

  9. Great post. I am dealing with some of these
    issues as well..

    Reply

  10. […] Found a great article that will give you some info about CO2 extraction: http://skunkpharmresearch.com/afford…o2-extraction/ Cheers, Mo Mohican's 2014 Season and Seed Pictures Thread Reply With […]

    Reply

  11. Hello, I am curious if anyone knows the ratio of solvent to botanical. I ran did a prime run last night, and didn’t get any yield. I am a 1-1/2×12 and used a rate of 2:1 78gCO2/ 28 botanicals. I ran super-critical(1200psi @ 45C) and am running a decompression chamber to keep the liquid from evaporating(trying to keep above 150psi in chamber). I am wondering also if I need to taper my collection tube. Also if there is any research on the influences of ternary phase systems with CO2 and botanical.

    Reply

  12. hey mate Im Pablo from chile, long ago i started to read your amazing web, so what do u thing about this machines

    http://www.appliedseparations.com/laboratory-systems/spe-ed-sfe-analytical-research#basic

    Reply

    • Posted by Karen on June 24, 2014 at 9:40 PM

      Hola Pablo, I am currently working with Applied doing R&D together, perfecting the process at larger initial volumes. Please feel free to comment with your email and I will contact you with further info : )

      Reply

  13. Posted by Holly on January 28, 2014 at 1:26 AM

    do you sell the kit? how much? (DIY CO2 extractor )

    Reply

  14. Posted by 2broke2smoke on January 25, 2014 at 3:42 AM

    I have used every search engine I can think of and can’t find JYNdustries anywhere. we are very interested in the extraction of oils using co2, but the cost of a low end machine @ 30k is a bit more than we are able to absorb at this juncture.

    could someone from JYNdustries please contact me @ medicalgardensolutions@gmail.com?

    thank you in advance,

    2b2s

    Reply

  15. It’s amazing to visit this web page and reading the views of all mates on the topic of this paragraph, while I am also keen of getting knowledge.

    Reply

  16. Posted by Frosty on January 21, 2014 at 11:52 AM

    Hi, first time poster here..great article and awesome site, awesome people..
    Regarding Jyndustries question about the amount of material per day or week. For a semi commercial use, I think 1/2 to 1lb, 2 times a day for a nooby starter setup might work. What’s the average yield for co2? A poster said co2 doesnt have the best taste. Has anyone tried extracting for terpenes? I would like to buy one, but worried most about taste, and then of course yield.
    What will a system for that amount of material cost?
    Thanks

    Reply

  17. Posted by mike on January 14, 2014 at 9:27 PM

    Jyndustries regaurding your comment as being a at home extractor for personal use only running a oz a week i would most deff pay 2grand for a co2 setup thats just my opinion though i think others would feel the same as long as price is right around that mark

    Reply

    • Hi Mike, thank you for the response. That sounds about right for personal use. I make one for $2000 that can handle more than that.

      However, I would like to build an all stainless model for personal use at the same price. I think it would be more reasonable to price at $2500 and something that can handle four ounces at one time. I am almost done with a stainless model that will cost a little more than twice that, and process up to twenty four ounces at once.

      My goal is to cause making CHO to be every bit as easy as making BHO. There is a lot about CO2 that makes this a challenge, but if it can be convenient and cost effective enough to consider as a replacement for butane, I think it should be.

      Eventually canned butane needs to go the way of the dinosaurs, just my opinion. It is flammable/explosive, not commonly available in pure form, and requires more effort to purge than CO2. As a solvent pure n-butane is wonderful, no doubt about it. Yet as we all know, most individuals use canned lighter fuel which is not wonderful.

      CO2 has its own dangers, specifically the high vapor pressure and so risk of a rapid phase transition explosion is there if your pressure vessels are inadequate. However, it is commonly available in food and beverage grade, and does not contain “mystery oil”. Not only is it inflammable, but also a fire extinguisher.

      Reply

  18. Posted by Lonz on January 12, 2014 at 7:09 PM

    I should’ve stayed in school

    Reply

  19. Posted by Chase on January 1, 2014 at 9:57 PM

    One thing I can’t stand in this game are so called ” tricks of the trade” or protecting process secrets as you say..

    We are suppose to be pioneers in the medical field! Not stingy cold shoulders hiding a secret family recipe! Haha

    Reply

    • Wait till you spend countless hours and invest hundreds/thousands of dollars, trying to fine tune your creation. Then I want you to go and give it to the first Joe blow that wants to know how to build one. My opinion, if you don’t know how to do it, or don’t know how to figure it out, don’t do it! It is dangerous and technical to do, please don’t think this is something anyone can do, it takes understanding of physics and chemistry in order to achieve. So spare me the analogy of a secret recipe, if you can’t do the research to find what the proper specification are, then you don’t deserve to have the specs. On the other hand, I am perfectly willing to collaborate, and work with other designers in order to add mutually to each others designs.

      Reply

      • Posted by Chase on February 26, 2014 at 8:48 AM

        Like anything, not everyone is cut out for it. But this is a medication we are talking about, so the more information the better. I don’t care about your design, I have my own. I have put in my countless thousands/hours. So please get over yourself.

        Reply

        • Posted by matt on June 22, 2014 at 10:59 PM

          I would be happy to make product for free if someone is unable to afford it. But I am sorry, thousands of dollars are not at my disposal, so until I know that my intellectual property is protected from the wrongs hands, and my methods aren’t going to be used to make profit for someone else, it stays my little secret.

          Reply

          • Posted by PlanetGreentoe Genetics on June 24, 2014 at 12:14 PM

            We are working with an Apex unit currently and it’s wonderful,but there is still lots of learning to go…

  20. Posted by PlanetGreentoe Genetics on January 1, 2014 at 7:42 PM

    Great info, always enjoy your research to expand the mind of others

    Reply

  21. Posted by dj on January 1, 2014 at 11:32 AM

    GW, do you have any workshops scheduled for early 2014? thank you all for all the great information on this forum. This is an Exceptional resource. Forward, and happy new year

    Reply

  22. So, I wanted to ask those that read this thread what the most commonly needed semi-commercial to commercial system size would be. As in what weight of plant material processed per day in a reclaiming extractor?

    Also, for smaller personal or community use, what size would be desired?

    Reply

    • A good question bro and one I will let the readers reply to:

      Reply

    • Posted by Kraze on December 21, 2013 at 11:21 AM

      Commercial: 1/4 lb. to multiple pounds
      Personal: 1/4 oz. to 1/4 lb. Anything less wouldn’t yield desirable results.

      Reply

      • Thanks for the response. 1/4lb is a sensible size. The issue with small scale is that there is a certain input cost with CO2 regardless of how small your pressure vessel is. I do not know that people would want to pay $2000 for a 7 gram system.

        In the long run, the vessels will have to be stainless to avoid corrosion and to provide a system can be used for all sorts of flavorings and aromas even if they are acidic. As well as moist plant material for those in a rush.

        Another dilemma with personal size extractors is that the individual will want it to work similarly to a commercial one, only on a smaller scale. Well that would require a pump, adding several thousand minimum to the machine.

        For small personal use, I think a reality is reclaiming is a second string goal because this necessitates either extremes of chilling and heating, or a mechanical pump.

        In my opinion the cost of CO2 is not great enough to be concerned when extracting 1/4lb and below. This can be done with less than 50lbs of CO2.

        There are three concerns with releasing carbon dioxide, cost, pollution, asphyxiation. The cost is not very great, I can purchase liquid carbon dioxide at $1 per lb.

        Pollution is a legitimate concern. However, the liquid carbon dioxide was almost certainly collected from a CO2 emission of some sort that would have ended up in the atmosphere. These include industrial emissions that are warm when exiting piping and more easily ejected into drafts that carry the gas into the atmosphere. CO2 is heavier than air but not so much that a small amount of energy from heat, or wind, can’t carry it up higher. It is also water soluble, and there is plenty of moisture in the atmosphere. Releasing it from the ground level perhaps gives it a better chance to be absorbed by vegetation, dissolved in ground water and form limestone, etc.

        Asphyxiation, is also a concern. You would need a little less than 8lbs to be released in a closed 10x10x8 room to pass out in one minute. So, like butane, this should always be done in a well ventilated area. Fire hazard is not a concern with CO2 however. Feel free to conduct safety meetings nearby.

        Commercial use has lots of applications that make financial sense. I think it makes monetary sense around 5lb capacity and up if running the same form of plant material. In a more diverse setting with lots of different herbs and essential oils being run a smaller 1lb may be more sensible so several small batches could be extracted.

        Reply

    • Posted by PlanetGreentoe Genetics on January 1, 2014 at 7:48 PM

      We are looking for semi commercial units that can do 1/2 lb – 5 lb
      Thank you

      Reply

  23. Posted by daniel on December 5, 2013 at 5:23 PM

    very well written page. lots of info. personally I use a keifing method. usually dry ice or silk screen. I then take just keif and run butane. trying to keep it about 115 I keep it under -25 psig for at least 24 hours. I end with a product that looks like keif but melts like a wax. usually dry crumbly and yellow. I am an electrician also into air conditioning working on a degree in engineering. I do this method for my elderly communities ailments. I make no profit. they bring me product , butane and dinner. I just do the work. I am interested in a more efficient and safer way of doing this. now I have been researching co2 for a while and it seems very interesting. I have yet to send it in to be tested but tastes, smells, looks, and works good. any new info would help.

    Reply

    • We have a growing interest in CO2 as well and have been playing with JYNdustrez loaner DIY running tests, and are excited to announce that Apek’s has offered us the loan of a 1 liter bench top SCFE unit for experimentation after the first of the year. We will provide more feedback when we have more to report.

      Thus far it appears that a dual extraction might be in order, recombining the fractions afterwards. First a sub-critical extraction to harvest the lighter terpenes, followed by a higher pressure extraction for the diterpenes.

      As the pressure goes up, so does the dissolution rate, which means a faster and more complete harvest of the diterpene cannabinoids, but alas it also dissolves more plant waxes and chlorophyll, besides changing some of the terpenes.

      One solution, seems to be using lower pressure and a higher CO2 exchange rate, which we can’t do with our current pump-less scuba tank system, so more on that after we check it out with the new system.

      At any rate, 2014 promises to be a more enlightening year for SCFE CO2 extraction, so stay tuned.

      Reply

  24. Posted by Paul on December 5, 2013 at 3:08 PM

    I have a question regarding CO2 extraction would it be possible to reverse the concept of a pressure cooker instead use it as a pressure cooler to effect extraction of essential oils assuming I would able to relief the pressure as the CO2 warms up slowly to room temp thanks for your comments
    Paul

    Reply

    • Most pressure cookers are rated at 15 psi, and we did our last extraction from 800, to 4,200 psi, so something heavier duty is required.

      Reply

      • Posted by Paull on December 9, 2013 at 11:34 AM

        Thanks for you response I am trying to find a better way to extract the oils and flavors out of fuits and berries other than useing hot solvents because the heat voltillizes the ketones aldehydes and esters which contain most of the flavors I tought that CO extraction might be a way to do this
        to seperate the oils from the biomass

        Reply

    • You beat me to it GW, I was going to say you will have very little liquid CO2 in the pressure cooker and would be lucky to pick up some terpenes.

      However, It is a good idea to control the release of CO2. Basically I am doing the same thing with a small pressure vessel between 100-200PSI to capture the dissolved oils after they are extracted at high pressure in a SCUBA tank. In that I use a compressor relief valve to allow the gas to escape and the collection vessel does not over pressurize. Also between that range there is a change for liquid CO2 to exist so instead of only dry ice sputtering out of the needle valve some liquid passes through as well making for a smoother collection and less clogging.

      Besides the aromatic compounds, essential oils and waxes are not very soluble in CO2 until you get above 2500PSI meaning the CO2 has to be heated initially or forced into a very small volume. Terpenes are soluble in liquid CO2 at almost any pressure but massive compounds(heavier oils) require a denser solvent, and you are certainly after the more massive oils as well.

      Of course this is all moot if you have a pump to run liquid or supercritical CO2 all day long. Then the solubility level matters a little less.

      Reply

  25. I rarely drop comments, however i did some searching and wound up here DIY CO2 Extraction?

    | Skunk Pharm Research LLC. And I do have a couple of questions for you if you usually
    do not mind. Is it just me or does it look like some of the comments look
    like left by brain dead people? :-P And, if you are writing at other social sites, I would like to follow
    everything new you have to post. Would you make a list of every one of your community sites like your linkedin profile, Facebook page or twitter feed?

    Reply

    • There are three of us here, but Moi (Graywolf) does most of the on line researching and posting on other forums. Because of time constraints, I have reduced the number of sites that I frequent, and try to spend them on the sites that share the most interest in extraction and processing.

      Alphabetically, some that I visit regularly as Graywolf or Fadedawg are:

      CannaCabana (private)
      Freemygreenpdx.com
      Green Passion
      ICMag
      Rollitup (as Fadedawg)
      THC Farmer
      Toke City
      Treating Yourself
      UK420

      Reply

  26. Posted by Woodmizer on November 13, 2013 at 10:19 PM

    If wax is what your trying to make stick to BHO. It’s hard to achieve with CO2. Less bad more good;-). Wax is lipids left over from extraction processes that leave this behind. If you want the good stuff keep reading what these boys at SKF have to say. You will have a hard time getting a Wax out of CO2 extracted medicine because of the solvent used to do the above mentioned, but more power. Keep condensing, and try, try, and try until you succeed..

    Reply

    • Posted by nick p on December 13, 2013 at 9:18 PM

      i was told that you start to extract the wax at around 4000 psi

      Reply

    • Posted by Isaac on December 22, 2013 at 3:32 PM

      Where can I follow them I am trying to do more research on wax butane method semi-commercial. If you post the links it would be greatly appreciated. Before I do my first batch I want to know as much as I can if you have anything to comment on about the method you recommend me using please feel free to email Isaac.munawar@gmail.com

      Reply

    • The wax consistency is harder to achieve with CO2 partly because the solvent has a very low surface tension and does not exist as a liquid at STP. Butane allows a convenient self whip to happen under vacuum.

      You definitely will start extracting more waxes above 4000PSI which will help with achieving a thicker extract. I guess I just cant get on the bandwagon to add unnecessary waxes, but to each his own.

      Despite the issues, I consistently achieve firm to glass-like extracts with CO2. Previously I had issues with residual water because of needing alcohol to get the oil from the collection container. Now I use a better shaped collection container that allows scraping.

      What I do is place the oil under vacuum while it is still inside of the collection container, this gets rid of the carbonation in the oils and I vacuum until the oils begin to “snap” easily. I use a quick connect adapted to my vacuum pump (cheap rocking piston type).

      I will post a YT video in a week or so.

      Reply

  27. Posted by Nicola on November 1, 2013 at 1:55 PM

    I’m looking to purchase a CO2 extractor from Eden Labs. There seems to be a huge divide in people’s likes and dislikes for CO2 wax. If any one has experiences with this machine and making exeptional CO2 wax I need a lesson! I am willing to travel to learn please email me if you can help me!

    Reply

  28. Posted by Dave on October 16, 2013 at 7:31 AM

    What pressures and temps are these guys running to make there oil? My machine here is Cali is running perfect and making a very pure and great tasting oil. I am sending it in this week for a terpene profile to how it compares to bho. I have found that my customers stop smoking wax after trying my product because the high is clearer and more potent then there current wax. I complete an extraction at 10am and all oil is gone by noon. I think they need to try some adjustments and possibly build a carbon filter to catch the terpenes that don’t drop out in the collection chamber then heat and met the oil back into the collection jar. The c02 oil is there you just need to know how to operate it.

    Reply

  29. Posted by Greanleaf179@gmail.com on October 6, 2013 at 12:43 AM

    If you are looking for co2 mmj oil the best of the best email me greenleaf179@gmail.com

    Reply

  30. We are a group of volunteers and starting a nnew scheme in our community.
    Your web site provided us with valuable info to work on.
    You’ve done a formidable job and our entire community will be thankful to you.

    Reply

  31. Very nice blog…i am going up next week to Seattle to look at one of the machines, the trouble is i cant find any one willing to talk to me that has one? Or get any of the oil they make?

    Reply

    • In Seattle, I would suggest talking to Fritz at Eden Labs. There is also an operating Apeks unit on Bainbridge Island, but I will have to ask the owners how enthusiastic they are to give tours and advice.

      GW

      Reply

      • I have talked to a couple of people that have the machine and NONE are willing to let me come have a look or willing to even talk about it? And these where names i got from the company as a reference? I can find very little about any of this on line? The things that come to my mind is? If this has been around from 1997 WHY cant i find out any info about any of it? Does it really work? Is it worth the $70k investment? The thought of having a machine that you can control quality, consistency, and press a button and come back in 4 hours and its done? Just seems to be a no brainier? Why is no one doing it?

        Reply

        • CO2 works, but as you noted is expensive to purchase. It is also slow to operate, so not many of them out there competing with some of the faster cheaper methods.

          The process has great potential, but needs to be worked out for cannanbis and those who have invested the time and money to develop a process, have mostly done it with the hopes of getting a return, so that may explain their reluctance.

          I think you will see more of them and eventually some competition at some of the Cup’s.

          Reply

          • Posted by tom on October 6, 2013 at 9:45 AM

            After weeks and weeks of looking and not being able to find any info, not even very much talk on any forums about this? I found a machine and guy making the oil in Oregon. I see why its not around and no one is talking about it. The oil gets you good and high but taste like crap..It taste like a leafy joint. Thinking it was how the guy made it or the material used i took over some good bud to run in it. Same results.

          • I’ve yet to sample a CO2 extraction that was equal to a well made BHO yet either, and they didn’t do well at the Seattle Cup, but I see them making progress developing the process and it has great potential.

          • I am sincerely surprised that this is the experience that the two of you have had. While I have never tried an extract from a fancy machine, I hands down prefer the flavor and aroma of CO2 extracts. Anything I extract, rosemary, oranges, cayenne, etc come out nauseatingly aromatic.

            I’m rushing to get a system to you GW for some confirmation. Like always I am waiting on parts and every time I get them I have to use them on a customers system. But I promise you will have one to try out soon.

            Also, thank you for the open forum you provide for this topic.

          • Sincerely looking forward to trying out the loaned equipment, as I agree that the orange oil that you supplied was first class. A cannabis extract of that quality would be competitive with BHO and I predict would fare well in a public shoot off.

            The unanswered question, is how exactly to get that level of quality on cannabis, and while I have no doubt CO2 will arrive there, it hasn’t done so locally so that I can personally test it.

            I understand how confining experimentation is at your location, but with your background in extracting other oils, you might consider a vacation to this neck of the woods once I’ve confirmed receipt of the equipment and set it up, to help develop the CO2 cannabis extraction process fine points.

            If it was compatible with your schedule, you might consider scheduling it so as to catch Dr Fischedick’s lecture on Cannabis terpene profiles and properties. Some of the folks attending, are most likely folks you will want for resources, and of course I would look forward to what you might share and will provide with a complimentary ticket.

          • Ok, you got me with free learning. I am buying a ticket to put me in OR on the 1st of November and leaving the 3rd. Please write me in for the lecture.

            I will be sure to send the home system ahead of me so that I can be with it to show how I use it.

            Thank you very much for the invite.

          • OK, got you written in and will see you at the airport.

        • I have found that with understanding the right concepts CO2 is easy to work with.

          I have extracted more times than I can count now, only ever with my own machines. I am almost done with a 10L stainless steel system that will take around 12hrs to completely extract. It is not as automated as one button, but close, and I have done it many times cheaper than what is available.

          A press and go extractor can be built easily, but the budget must be there. The high pressure solenoids alone will cost a pretty penny. In fact it was the solenoids that put me out of budget, not by much, but I couldn’t risk it. Also, if you want short extraction times you either need large masses of low pressure CO2 to flow through the plant material (expensive pumps and cooling systems), or very high pressure and high temperature chambers (exotic metals). So it can be done cheaper than what is out there now, but not cheap.

          My two cents is that these extractors should be designed and built from efficiency and safety perspectives, not a laboratory perspective. Not to mention all of the current commercial models look pretty similar.

          You are right GW pretty much everyone wants a return, myself included. With the amount of my life that this consumes I do not feel guilty about it at all. I do not keep anything I do a secret once I am done and can feel confident sharing. However, I am always sketchy about sharing ideas when they are not finished machines in front of me, one, people could get hurt, two, people steal.

          Reply

        • I have found that with understanding the right concepts CO2 is easy to work with.

          I have extracted more times than I can count now, only ever with my own machines. I am almost done with a 10L stainless steel system that will take around 12hrs to completely extract. It is not as automated as one button, but close, and I have done it many times cheaper than what is available.

          A press and go extractor can be built easily, but the budget must be there. The high pressure solenoids alone will cost a pretty penny. In fact it was the solenoids that put me out of budget for complete automation, not by much, but I couldn’t risk it. Also, if you want short extraction times you either need large masses of low pressure CO2 to flow through the plant material (expensive pumps and cooling systems), or very high pressure and high temperature chambers (exotic metals). So it can be done cheaper than what is out there now, but not cheap.

          My two cents is that these extractors should be designed and built from efficiency and safety perspectives, not a laboratory perspective. Not to mention all of the current commercial models look pretty similar.

          You are right GW pretty much everyone wants a return, myself included. With the amount of my life that this consumes I do not feel guilty about it at all. I do not keep anything I do a secret once I am done and can feel confident sharing. However, I am always sketchy about sharing ideas when they are not finished machines in front of me, one, people could get hurt, two, people steal.

          Reply

          • Posted by tom on October 14, 2013 at 9:38 AM

            I have purchased oil from Calif., Wash. & Oregon and not one was good oil in my mind. High not as strong, all the oil taste like leafy joints way to much chlorophyll taste? I meet a guy in Oregon that has a machine and he has jars and jars of oil he cant get rid of, no one wants it! I thought it might be the material he was using so i gave him 2 p of nothing but good bud and it turned out like crap. I think this CO2 oil thing is like lots of things in this new pot thing. No one wants to admit they payed $60 to $80 for oil that is crap. We talked with a guy from Seattle that has a great concept, he will make the oil for you with his machine and your material. He will load them into vape pens and sale it back to you like that. Its a great deal if the oil was any good? Every one i took the pens too liked them and liked the high but just cant get passed the taste?

          • Ouch, you have had some bad experiences I see. I agree with Dave. While I have had many frustrations and tribulations with CO2 in general it has never been the aroma or taste. From the very first(disappointing yield) extractions I conducted at 1200PSI in aluminum tanks it was the presentation and potency of the oil that kept me going. I would have dumped this whole project long ago. It has nothing to do with pride or admitting overpaying for oil.

            If you happen to be in Oregon, I am going to loan GW one of my at-home systems. You can judge for yourself.

            Something is being done wrong for the extract to taste like chlorophyll. Wet material, improper collection, poor source of CO2 containing large amounts of moisture, etc.

        • I can give you details to fabricate a machine.

          Reply

          • Posted by john on June 24, 2014 at 3:29 PM

            What details do u have to fav a machine for c02 extract

          • Posted by matthias on July 24, 2014 at 6:54 PM

            I have done fabricated a 1-liter Supercritical CO2 machine closed loop recirculating machine..those details. I have a 3 liter in the making. I am not willing to divulge information on my set-up and design, but if it is something you are interested in taking on, I would happy to lead you in the right direction or consult, or if you would like to obtain one of my machines let me know.

    • Posted by woodmizer on October 13, 2013 at 4:19 AM

      I can help:-).

      Reply

    • Posted by EGHCannaLady on November 1, 2013 at 3:27 PM

      My company uses only co2 oil in our products, we just recently started packaging our raw Co2 oil in syringes. We currently sell to a huge number of collectives in the Seattle Area. Look for Evergreen Herbal products. Lemonade, chocolate and tootsie rolls. All made with Co2 oil, or if youre a dabber you can smoke it straight.

      I dont do the extraction, but I do the de-watering and de-carbing. I know its hard to get information from C02 extractors because everyone kind of has their own way of doing things..

      Reply

      • Posted by EGHCannaLady on November 1, 2013 at 3:30 PM

        Also the syringes will run you about $20 for a gram and we dont package anything that isn’t over 50% Delta 9 THCA. Every batch is tested ahead of time by 360 Analytical.

        Reply

  32. Posted by cplamb on September 1, 2013 at 10:42 PM

    Does anyone know where I could find out information on the optical refractive index of supercritical carbon dioxide? I haven’t been able to find anything on line–just the thermodynamic properties.

    Reply

  33. Posted by Dave on August 29, 2013 at 11:53 PM

    Thank you this whole time I’m looking at heavy duty parts and I was getting most discouraged as I find that a simple flange, valve and numerous other parts are way too much I think the cheapest hi-pressure component I came across was nearly 1000 dollars. I have seen someone on YouTube pull it off using the same method you described with a paint ball tank modified packed with indica and dry ice he simply opens the valve directed into a bottle held by a vice I not sure how successful he was. I know he had some brains however its really hard to take someone serious when they sound like Jim brewer on half baked. I recently obtained green chemistry v4 it was a pain in the ass finding one torrent for the PDF as soon as the irritation from that long search fades away I will Perdue all the other volumes as I am unwilling to pay $580 on the Internet for information. The Internet was intended for the free exchange of information and I prove time and again it still is if your willing to search and not let the money mongrel’s break your spirit. I am self taught in every field that I find interest in. Collage was never an option for me. Doesn’t mean I can’t learn. I have a talent for finding information not so readily available to peasants like myself. I’ll be dammed if all my understanding came from YouTube lot of stupid people out their not to say I haven’t picked up helpful tricks from the 1%. I am absolutely fascinated with your DIY experiment I’m hoping you keep me informed on your progress.. Keep up the good work.

    Reply

  34. I really love your website.. Great colors & theme.

    Did you make this amazing site yourself? Please reply back as I’m wanting to create my own personal website and would love to learn where you got this from or exactly what the theme is called. Kudos!

    Reply

  35. Posted by chance rubenaker on August 22, 2013 at 12:08 PM

    love the engineers approach to doing this proper in every sense of the term medicine. medicine isn’t cheap therefore there needs to be pioneers like us that truly care about modifying this process to suit the needs of our medical constituents. can cbd be isolated and extracted this way. I know we all love the psychoactive effects of thc for thrapudic like relief of ailments but what about isolating cbd? without chloroform this will make it past the FDA one day. hopefully. the medical world has now turned to cbd research and with the knowledge you have, you just might be at the forefront of tech for extraction I’ve ever read about. please stay in contact with me because I have severe asthma but need thc/cbd. I need it for adhd and bipolar disorder but smoking enough plant makes me sick. only concentrares for me. my dr. will not approve me combusting plant material but if its just thc no chlorophyll then we no longer have plant material. even bho amber wax containing chlorophyll because of its dark color hurts to ingest. only pure chlorophyll less wax I can tolerate. I ask about cbd because I have a friend who has 30+grandma seziures a week which is so debilitating he cannot even ride a bike or take a bus across town when I gave him a cbd tincture the seizures were rexuced to two a month. this is my problem money time and effort allocated to this obsessio to help me and others alike. my friensa name is joshua lopez he lives in sacramento as do I. I am currently enrolled in college at american river colleges in sac to become an engineer for the cause and to benefit my life with a wonderful career. please help me figure this out. if you have a co-op I can join for the sake of medical research I would greatly appreciate it. contact me by phone or email (916) 410-4333.
    thank you for you time.
    Chance Rubenaker

    Reply

    • No coops bro, but you are welcome to hang around here and to attend our classes.

      There are dozens of skunk pharmers in our circle sharing notes , even though only three of us started this blog and SPR.

      Extra points if you are smart or purdy.

      Reply

  36. Posted by Dave on August 17, 2013 at 10:26 AM

    C02 is defiantly the way to go when it comes to extractions. I have dialed in my machine to now produce solid yields every time. I also sent in my oil to sc labs to be tested and it passed the residual solvent test and came back at 81.1% thc. This method is defiantly costly but it is worth the investment to get away from bho and smoke a 100% pure product.

    Reply

    • What’s the remaining 18.9% of the “100% pure product”? How did a BHO extraction of the same material test?

      Reply

      • Posted by Dave on August 25, 2013 at 7:37 AM

        Bho with 7x was 73-76% it is impossible to extract 100% thc. I will speak with SC Labs to see what the remaining % consist of.

        Reply

        • Our BHO extractions after winterization of high THC stains are typically in the high 80’s and low 90’s THC, with most of the rest cannabinoids.

          In our high CBD strains, THC levels vary considerably.

          We didn’t run a GC on the SCFE CO2 sample that we were gifted, but it was extracted at high enough pressure to not be aromatic and to contain a lot of wax.

          When I pulled a -29.5″ Hg vacuum on the sample at 115F, considerable CO2 was liberated, even though I was at a low enough temperature to not be significantly decarboxylating, the complete puddle never did clear, because of plant waxes.

          Fritz at Eden labs says that a sub-critical extraction would extract the least chlorophyll and be the most floral. If we covet floral and therefore have to deal with the plant waxes, it is a small price to pay.

          Taste was mild and the effects were good, so with winterizing and a little process tweaking, I’m convinced that you would have a good thang.

          Reply

          • From experience in my more cowboy style extractions I have learned that for the best aroma I like to conduct an extraction (3-4hrs or so) at 2600PSI, keep that and then subsequent extractions at around 4000PSI. I collect all of the extractions in the same container and they get mixed in again when I dissolve everything with alcohol.

            Also, no matter what pressure I use my first run has the least wax. I understand that Dave is using a continuous loop style so this is less relevant, but still interesting.

          • The orange oil that you provided was special. Can you get that level of clarity with cannabis oil?

          • Thanks for the orange oil sample!

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    Reading through this article reminds me of my previous roommate!
    He always kept preaching about this. I’ll forward this article to him. Pretty sure he will have a very good read. I appreciate you for sharing!

    Reply

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    Reply

  39. Posted by Dave on July 25, 2013 at 5:32 PM

    Yes the extractor is still for sale. Feel free to contact me at dezertracer812@yahoo.com

    Reply

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    Reply

  41. I do not even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was good.
    I don’t know who you are but certainly you’re going to a famous blogger if you aren’t already ;) Cheers!

    Reply

  42. Hello

    I am interested in CO2 extractors and potentially obtaining your services to consult and implement such a machine.

    Please email me at brsi@peaceinmedicine.org
    Thank you

    Reply

  43. Hi there, i read your blog from time to time and i own
    a similar one and i was just curious if you get
    a lot of spam feedback? If so how do you protect against it, any plugin or anything you can recommend?

    I get so much lately it’s driving me mad so any help is very much appreciated.

    Reply

  44. Posted by Dave on June 22, 2013 at 8:58 AM

    Hey gray wolf,

    I wanted to let people know I have a 5liter supercritical c02 machine for sale. I sent you pictures last week of my machine. If anyone is interested please feel free to contact me.
    Thanks! dezertracer812@yahoo.com

    Reply

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