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* Dissolving power of the SCF is controlled by pressure and/or temperature
* SCF is easily recoverable from the extract due to its volatility
* Non-toxic solvents leave no harmful residue
* High boiling components are extracted at relatively low temperatures
* Separations not possible by more traditional processes can sometimes be effected
* Thermally labile compounds can be extracted with minimal damage as low temperatures can be employed by the extraction

* Elevated pressure required

* Compression of solvent requires elaborate recycling measures to reduce energy costs
* High capital investment for equipment

Supercritical extraction is not widely used yet, but as new technologies are coming there are more and more viewpoints that could justify it, as high purity, residual solvent content, and environment protection.

The basic principle of SFE is that when the feed material is contacted with a supercritical fluid than the volatile substances will partition into the supercritical phase. After the dissolution of soluble material the supercritical fluid containing the dissolved substances is removed from the feed material. The extracted component is then completely separated from the SCF by means of a temperature and/or pressure change. The SCF is then may be recompressed to the extraction conditions and recycled.

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