Hexane Extraction - Definition, Glossary, Details - OilgaeAlgal oil can be extracted using chemicals. Benzene and ether have been used, but a popular chemical for solvent extraction is hexane, which is relatively inexpensive. The downside to using solvents for oil extraction are the inherent dangers involved in working with the chemicals. Benzene is classified as a carcinogen. Chemical solvents also present the problem of being an explosion hazard.
Hexane solvent extraction can be used in isolation or it can be used along with the oil press/expeller method. After the oil has been extracted using an expeller, the remaining pulp can be mixed with cyclo-hexane to extract the remaining oil content. The oil dissolves in the cyclohexane, and the pulp is filtered out from the solution. The oil and cyclohexane are separated by means of distillation. These two stages (cold press & hexane solvent) together will be able to derived more than 95% of the total oil present in the algae.