MEDUSA TASK FORCE UPDATE

Updated: Jul 26

JULY 23, 2022


RESEARCHING THE CORRELATION BETWEEN MEDUSA STONES, FAST CRASHING, BAR FORMATIONS, AND EXTRACTION GASES.

Medusa Stones, Fast Crash, Bar Formations Solvent Direct Butane, Propane, Isobutane Lab Supply

UPDATE FROM DR. R

LPG Solvent Contaminants and the Medusa Stone Problem

I’m a Ph.D. chemist with extensive analytical, foods and beverages, petroleum and petrochemical experience. In the past couple of years, I’ve had funding to research hemp processing and extraction aimed at improving and ensuring consumer product safety.

Unfortunately, the industry has only been able to come out of the shadows in the past few years, and basic research that should have been done hasn’t been done. So, development of standards and practices is behind where it should be.


Solvent Direct connected with me recently to discuss the Medusa Stone issue. They arranged for me to visit a couple of labs that were dealing with this problem and directed me to Future4200 website to learn what solvent users are experiencing.


The following is my opinion. The bootstrap mentality of leaders in the cannabis extraction industry has served it well. In a relatively short time, the scientific method was employed, tests were conducted, results were discussed and solutions were proposed.


This was not an easy problem. LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) solvents are challenging to analyze because they consist of at least two phases (gas and liquid, throw in water and biomass and you have four phases). Furthermore, the solvents are nonpolar, whereas many of the contaminants of interest, e.g. methanol and monoethanolamine (MEA) are polar molecules that are “sticky,” meaning they like to adsorb onto surfaces.



Others in the industry have also risen to the challenge and devised work arounds and cleaning procedures to get address the problems. That is how the industry has dealt with these issues in the past and certainly will need to continue to do so while solvent suppliers work to get control of the situation.


Solvent Direct is of the same mind that I am about getting to root causes and implementing preventative process controls, otherwise issues will continue to arise, like mystery oil, benzene and now the Medusa Stone problem.


All industries have their own vocabularies. Please let me share some relevant terms from the petroleum industry which relate to LPG operational problems. These are “burp,” “puke,” “upset” and “carryover.”


These refer to events that result in materials getting into LPG that shouldn’t be there, and these types of process upsets have been occurring for as long as the industry has been around without impacting most LPG uses. Further, today, fracking and regulations and rules aimed at eliminating hydrogen sulfide have likely contributed to situations giving rise to the Medusa problem.


Many fracked wells are remotely located, away from facilities and utilities. So, shortcuts are taken out of necessity. I won’t go into detail, but there are numerous treating chemical, scavengers, inhibitors, anti-foaming agents, etc., that have the potential to contaminate LPG. Routine monitoring is not done for all of these chemicals and that’s a problem, which somewhat arises because there is a knowledge gap between LPG producers and extractors.


To prevent future problems, the industry must establish standards and specifications in order to close the gaps. I’m thankful for Solvent Direct's vision and the opportunity to possibly help.


Dr. R


CLEAN UP KIT BY CARBON CHEMISTRY

Submit a request at www.solventdirect.com/order to receive a copy of the Carbon Chemistry SOP and clean up kit. Get FREE shipping on Carbon Chemistry products at www.solventdirect.shop.

Submit a request at www.solventdirect.com/order to receive a copy of the Carbon Chemistry SOP and clean up kit. Get FREE shipping on Carbon Chemistry products at www.solventdirect.shop.


CONTINUED FROM JUNE 2022


DEFINING "MEDUSA"

WHAT IS THE DEFECT BEING OBSERVED?

Butane, Propane and Isobutane used to make THCA Crystals (diamonds) are not behaving normally.

  • Abnormal bubble formation is seen from "pours" - more than usual.

  • Many small cubic faceted or rectangular bar shaped crystals may form instead of the typical triangular faceted crystals.

  • Upon sitting, crystals that had initially formed as clear crystals appear to degrade into a "chalk-like" appearance.

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LEADING THEORIES ABOUT THE CAUSE?

  • Alcohol, Ethanol and/or Methanol contamination

  • Solvent impurities tied to benzene contamination

  • Hydrogen Peroxide

  • Propylene

  • Ammonia or Amine interactions left over from the LPG sweetening/refining process

  • Biomass processing changes

Medusa Stones, Fast Crash, Bar Formations Solvent Direct Butane, Propane, Isobutane Lab Supply

WHY DO WE CARE?

MANUFACTURING EFFICIENCY AND SIX SIGMA OPERATIONAL EFFICIENCY

Medusa reactions are causing significant disruptions to normal manufacturing SOP's for labs across the US. It appears all gas distributors have been impacted by the fast crash, and some more than others. Solvent Direct is committed to helping extractors find operational efficiency. Medusa reactions must be stopped by using the Six Sigma quality management system to prevent variability.


Extraction is similar to the world of craft beer and big beer in many ways. Craft brewers live with inconsistency, they make batch adjustments and accept some waste in order to meet the demands of their "craft" customers. Big brewers understand their process, they control ingredients and product quality up and down the distribution chain.


Six Sigma is a system of management using engineering and statistical techniques to reduce product defects and to "control" processes. It's called "Six Sigma" because a system described by a normal distribution will be error free 99.9997% of the time if it is operated within +/- 3 Sigma.

Medusa Stones, Fast Crash, Bar Formations Solvent Direct Butane, Propane, Isobutane Lab Supply

SIX SIGMA IN SIXTY SECONDS

Six Sigma relies heavily on defining specifications to meet customer needs, understanding critical factors for products, and use of statistical tools to analyze and maintain product and process consistency (quality).


Consistency demands understanding and attention to important details. Living in the world of the Wild West is fun and exciting, but it's not the world of delivering consistent products day in and day out.


WHAT ARE WE DOING?

SOLVENT DIRECT IS COMMITTED TO ENSURING SAFE AND CONSISTENT STANDARDS FOR EXTRACTION SUPPLY.


Solvent Direct is 100% committed to supporting our clients with the highest purity lab supply exclusively for extraction. We have formed the Medusa Task Force comprised of industry leaders, extraction experts, chemical engineers and other petroleum experts to further research these reactions. Our goal is to help extractors by creating solutions to the problem, identify the cause of the Medusa reactions, create a standard for future identification, and eliminate potential variability in the supply chain as quickly as possible.


Going back to the first reports of the Medusa reactions in 2021, our supply teams have been documenting incidents, traveling to labs, collecting samples, inspecting cylinders, and working closely with extractors, chemists, and petroleum engineers to identify a cause. While this research is still in progress, our team is actively seeking new incidents and we encourage clients and non-clients to reach out.


Solvent Direct was built from the ground up to help extractors and while some of our peers are quick to point the finger at alternative causes, we believe we owe it to our clients to get to the bottom of this problem so extractors can get back to operating at their highest, best and most profitable use of time.