MAR 28, 2018 12:00 PM PDT

Economies of Scale in Cannabis: Moving from lab-scale CO2 Extraction (SFE) to production-scale

Speaker
  • President and CEO, Thar Energy, LLC
    Biography
      For the last 30 years, Dr. Chordia has pioneered R&D in and commercial applications of supercritical fluid technology, a green materials processing technology. While earning his doctorate in 1982, Dr. Chordia co-founded his first company, Suprex Corp, and then served as Vice President of Engineering and R&D. Suprex was the first company to focus only on supercritical fluids. Dr. Chordia left Suprex in 1990 and formed Thar Technologies. Through his technological and commercial leadership, Dr. Chordia has taken Thar from one employee to a global leader in its field. This transformation has led to the creation of several spin offs, including: 1) Thar Instruments, which in 2009 was sold to the Waters Corporation, a publicly-traded world leader in scientific instrumentation; 2) Thar Pharmaceuticals, a drug development company; 3) Thar Process, a designer and marketer of process scale supercritical fluid technology; 4) Thar Energy, a developer of alternative, green energy technology such as advanced biofuels; and 5) Thar Geothermal, a developer of high-efficiency, green heating and cooling technologies. Some examples of Thar's involvement in supercritical fluid process and equipment technologies over the years are natural pharmaceutical and spice extraction, drug purification and design, coatings, electronics cleaning, cooling, advanced biofuels and a host of other applications and equipment technologies. In particular, extraction of cannabis and the separation of individual cannabinoid for large scale production. Thar's facility in Pittsburgh includes the largest high pressure toll processing facility in the world and Thar has built the largest high pressure SFC equipment in the world.

      Recognizing his accomplishments, the United States Small Business Administration named Dr. Chordia the 2002 US Small Business National Exporter of the Year, an award he won in a competition against all companies nationwide with up to 500 employees. Dr. Chordia has also been the primary investigator on multiple research and development projects, including two prestigious Advanced Technology Program awards through the National Institute of Standards and Technology. In 2010, Dr. Chordia was honored with the Distinguished Alumnus Award of IIT Madras, the Carnegie Science Entrepreneur Award and in 2015, elected a Fellow by The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and in 2017 received the regional EY (Ernst & Young) Entrepreneur of the Year.

      Dr. Lalit Chordia received his bachelor's degree in chemical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, and earned a doctorate in chemical engineering from Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh, PA).

    Abstract

    As with all new unique recreational or nutritional natural products, the cannabis supply chain will change from state-to-state and become more uniform and efficient over time.  From decaffeinated coffee to astaxanthin to hops, supercritical CO2 extraction has been utilized to provide the best quality product compared to other methods.   Because of CO2's unique characteristics; it is cheap, ubiquitous, inert and allows for a relatively low temperature extraction without high temperature solvent removal, companies use it today to make successful products.  However, like many other processes, the only winners will be those who reach economies

    Learning Objectives

    • What does economies of scale mean for the cannabis industry and what are the challenges?
    • Should everyone own their own SFE or will it be less expensive to send it out to large scale processors?

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