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CRC 101: An Introduction to Color Remediation

CRC 101: An Introduction to Color Remediation

Color remediation is the latest craze in cannabis extraction. It is not enough to extract cannabinoids and terpenes. Now, the new name of the game is selectively refining the end product to display great color, flavor, and aroma.

Even the most efficient cannabis extraction workflows can benefit from color remediation systems to elevate quality and value. If you are new to color remediation, it is okay. There is still plenty of time to get in on the ground floor of a revolutionary step in the extraction process.

What Is Color Remediation?

Color remediation refers to the process of filtering impurities from your hemp or cannabis crude extract . A color remediation column (CRC), also known as an inline remediation column, can work with a host of extraction systems between the material and collection column.

A layer of filtration media in the CRC filters out those undesirable colors and flavors revealing your crude extract’s true potential. In the end, CRC can remove chlorophylls, carotenes, pheophytins, and lycopenes to create a cleaner  and more attractive extract.

Purification

After your biomass has been extracted and before the extract and solvent mixture  ends up in the collection vessel, a color remediation column literally purifies your extract of inessential compounds. Extraction systems alone cannot provide the extra filtration necessary from CRC.

Clarity

CRC can give biomass of any grade a boost in quality. High-quality biomass crude extract filtered through a CRC can produce an impeccable product with nearly no impurities. On the other end of the quality spectrum, CRC can salvage low-quality biomass. 

If you started with an aged and brown biomass, you would be surprised at the color you can get with CRC. A color remediation column can remove impurities that cause the dark colors, and produce a light and golden extract .

Flavor

If you have low-quality cannabis, color is just one part of the problem. Its flavor can taste grassy and somewhat unappetizing. In one fell swoop, filtering your product through adsorbent media can completely resuscitate the flavor profile of any low-quality biomass.

How It Works

So, how does the magic happen?

A CRC features a filter plate on the bottom, a paper filter above it, a layer of filter media above that, all of which filter the crude extract when loaded through the top of the column. Popular filter media include silica gel, bleaching clays, activated charcoal, and synthetic magnesium. 

Media Preparation

Generally, extraction technicians have used a blend of bentonite clay and silica gel as the primary filters. The media must be prepared through a heating and drying process using personal protective equipment. If this step is overlooked, it may lead to clogs in the flow and throughput, which halts production.

Calculating Ratios

Now, the million-dollar question: how much media do you use per pound of biomass? Calculating your ratio of media and crude extract varies by filter media, quality of biomass, and extraction setup.

Generally, you want to use a longer column  to give your crude extract enough residence time to filter through the adsorbent media. Having too little media in the column will not give your crude extract enough time to filter. We recommend at least 6 inches of media height in your column. If you cannot do 6, find a way to slow down the flow in your column.

In addition, the amount of media you use depends on the quality of your biomass. For instance, fresh frozen biomass  would only require about a quarter of the media needed for older quality extracts to pull out chlorophylls and other contaminants. 

Workflow

Adding a CRC to your system is as easy as investing in a column, filter media, paper filter, and flow controller. All CRC setups can be made compatible with any extraction system with the right parts and tools. Most importantly, choose a CRC that is Class 1 Division 1 compliant.

Before filling your column with filter media, consider the smallest micron size required to hold the media. 

Using a quality and appropriately sized sintered disc ensures that nothing gets through. Sintered discs and mesh screens can accumulate silica and powders and may require ultrasonic cleaning.  

Your screen must be fine enough to hold back your filter media. 

After adding your carefully measured media through the top of the CRC, make sure to get any leftover media out of the lip of your column, which can keep your gasket from sealing. A toothbrush or paintbrush can make clean-up easy. Some operators place a screen gasket right below that lid, which helps spread the solvent out a bit and keeps powders from being sucked up into the hose.

Before starting your extraction, ensure that both input and output valves on the CRC are closed.

Once your extraction finished 

 and  you want to drain the crude extract, open the top input ball valve on the CRC and flood the column with the crude extract and solvent mixture. Let the crude extract flow into the recovery tank. Once you have flow, an adjustable valve on the bottom of the CRC controls the drain flow.. You should see a color change occur in the collection pot as you adjust the outflow of the CRC column. 

Flow Considerations

When it comes to using media for filtration, your flow speed  can affect the quality of your filtration. A slower drain gives your crude extract plenty of residency time in the layers of media. In some cases, some media have no pressure drop, requiring operators to slow down the flow to give the extract enough contact time and avoid channeling.

With some media, a slow fill and nowhere for the gas to escape can actually cause a heating reaction in the CRC. The interaction with the gas and the media creates friction that can cause the crude extract to foam and gas up. Since every extraction system is different, tinkering with the flow rates can help you avoid this problem.

Does CRC Affect Your Yield?

CRCs effect on your yield varies based on your standard operating procedures, most importantly. While CRC alone can cause a negligible reduction in yield due to taking out undesirable compounds, certain optimized SOPs can actually increase yield by a few percentage points and with better color and flavor. 

Beyond Color Remediation: Selective Filtration

As CRC techniques and formulas evolve, operators will be looking for the latest and greatest filtration media. For the most advanced solution to color and flavor refinement, explore Media Bros’ high flow filter media and premium hardware. 

CRX: All-purpose filter media for color and clarity

CRY:  Aggressive filter media for older biomass, stubborn colors, clarity, and improved crystallization. All Media Bros’ media aids in crystallization for a connoisseur-grade hydrocarbon extract.

Ready to learn more about adding a CRC to your processing workflow? Send us an email or give us a call. Whether you are a 1 or 10 person lab, we will help you get your CRC set up and troubleshoot any issues that pop up along the way.

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