Maratek, Ligar Unveil New Cannabis Oil Purification System

Two companies have partnered to launch a revolutionary new cannabis extraction and purification system.

New Zealand-based deep-tech company Ligar and Canada-based engineering company Maratek have unveiled a high-performance cannabis purification system that uses molecularly-imprinted polymers (MIPs) to selectively target and capture cannabinoid molecules.

According to Ligar and Maratek, the new system produces higher quality extracts more efficiently, safely, and economically.

Ligar and Maratek unveiled the new system at the recent MJBizCon in Las Vegas.

Utilizing New Technology

The companies say the system stems from an extensive research and development phase that involved multiple scientific breakthroughs, including smart MIP beads.

Ligar and Maratek say that, through optimization, smart MIP beads can target and recover specific molecules while removing contaminants in fluids in a range of food applications.

According to Ligar and Maratek, the new system can extract large quantities of higher quality cannabis oil at a lower cost than traditional complex methods.

MIPs isolate cannabinoids from crude extracts, allowing fats, waxes, lipids, and contaminants to pass through.

Ligar and Maratek say the process eliminates the need for winterization and distillation steps.

The companies have dubbed the resulting high-quality, full-spectrum concentrate Millipate, which contains the full range of cannabinoids present in the crude, including acid forms.

“We’re extremely proud to be bringing our MIP system to the cannabis extraction market in partnership with Maratek,” says Ligar Managing Director Aiden Tapping. “This is an exciting milestone for the Ligar team as it’s the first of a series of research and commercial projects to be launched to the market. We’re also excited to launch our new brand ‘Millipate—the evolution of distillate,’ to describe extracts made by MIP systems—which we will develop as a distinct and unique product.”

Working Together to Innovate

Sharing a focus on engineering and innovation, Ligar’s MIP systems work with Maratek technologies that complete the cannabinoid and crude oil extraction and processing steps.

According to Maratek, its strengths center around ethanol extraction processes, limiting solvent waste, and increasing efficiency.

Ligar focuses on the design of MIP systems and MIP development and manufacturing.

Maratek President Colin Darcell says the company is always looking for ways to push the boundaries of what is available by joining forces with forward-thinkers.

“Starting in the solvent waste industry in 1965, Maratek has evolved through printing and silver extraction to now take the cannabis world by storm,” says Darcell. “Ligar’s unique extraction technology pairs perfectly with Maratek’s goal to provide a complete system for automation, optimization, and scaling opportunities.”

According to Ligar Chief Exploration Officer Nigel Slaughter, the company has spent more than six years working on its cannabinoid process, investing thousands of hours in development, analysis, testing, system design, and regulatory compliance processes.

Slaughter says Ligar’s many pilot trials have helped them design and manufacture automated, easy-to-operate systems that optimize MIP performance.

“We ‘ve also demonstrated we can manufacture the MIPs beads consistently at scale using methods that maintain international food contact compliance approvals,” says Slaughter. “It’s exciting to have developed a MIPs process for cannabis extract purification that is more space, cost, and labour efficient than traditional winterization an distillation systems—preserving cannabinoid acids and terpenes in the extract while leaving behind pesticide and heavy metal contaminants.”

Versatile Tech

Ligar and Maratek say they’ve tested the MIP re-usability over thousands of process cycles.

According to the companies, each 1mm MIP bead contains around ten quintillion (100,000,000,000,000,000) target molecule-shaped molecular binding sites.

Before being flushed and reused, the beads trap molecules and filter them out.

“A decade ago, we started with some fantastic science and a concept that worked in the lab—with powders that are difficult to use—and have progressed through to a commercial deep-tech product manufactured in a user-friendly bead format,” says Tapping. “Today, Ligar is recognized globally as being at the forefront of molecularly imprinted polymer technology; thanks to the incredible support from our loyal and dedicated team who have developed world-leading expertise on manufacturing and using MIPs at scale, and our fantastic partners and investors.”

With a highly-versatile MIPs platform technology for capturing and removing molecules in a wide range of applications, Tapping says the company is excited about the future.

According to Tapping, Ligar is preparing to launch the next application of its technology which will allow winemakers to remediate wine tainted by wildfire smoke.

The technology can remove smoke molecules while allowing the wine to retain its positive characteristics.