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What equipment is needed for distilling essential oils ?

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What equipment is needed for distilling essential oils ?

Distilling raw materials to obtain essential oils is a process that must be 100% mastered in order to guarantee a high-quality final product. The choice of distillation equipment is a criterion to be examined in particular. It must be capable of extracting a high-quality essential oil while keeping energy consumption and the quantity of raw materials required to a minimum. Tournaire, with its expertise as a company specializing in the processing and packaging of raw materials, offers several solutions for extracting essential oils via distillation.

Steam injection distillation versus hydro-distillation

Our standard distillation units can be divided into two main categories: steam distillation and hydro-distillation. With steam distillation, steam is injected directly into the bottom of the apparatus in order to allow for the distillation of the raw materials in the container. It’s a process that’s suitable for herbs and plants that are more sensitive to hydro-diffusion phenomena, as the molecular exchanges between the steam and the raw materials are more efficient.

Hydro-distillation is a different process. The raw materials are immersed in water, which is then heated to allow for the evaporation of the components which, once cooled, will form the essential oil. These units can be equipped with stirrers to increase suspension and accelerate the process, making them particularly well-suited for powdered raw materials.

Working at atmospheric pressure or pressure up to 2.5 bars

Once again, the type of pressure to be used depends greatly on the raw material from which the essential oil is to be distilled. Distillation at atmospheric pressure is suitable in the vast majority of cases, but pressure treatment is more effective for so-called “difficult” materials such as wood or roots, for example. These raw materials are more resistant. Working with them under pressure allows us to accelerate the process of distilling the essential oil, thus saving time and energy.

Tournaire’s expertise in service to your distillation units

Our distillation equipment can be configured according to your needs. Made from high-quality stainless steel (304L and 316L), our units have a variety of capacities (from 50L to 10,000L) and can be upgraded with numerous options. For example, we can incorporate steam generation, raw material preparation (grinding, chipping, etc.) or residue treatment.

Each project is unique. That’s why we do everything we can to support you during each step of the distillation process. If you’d like to learn more about our essential oil distillation solutions, please call us at 04 93 09 34 34 or email us at, and we’ll get back to you as quickly as possible.