Vermont Patent of the Month – December 2022

Cannabis has grown in popularity in recent years as studies have verified the potential benefits in treating pain, anxiety, and a range of other conditions. Scalable production and processing techniques need to match the growing acceptance and demand for the product. Green Mountain Mechanical Design, Inc. has addressed this need, developing a newly patented partial vacuum drying system.

Cannabis typically contains around 70-80% water. Drying the product improves storability and maintains potency, medical values, and taste profiles for later use. However, excess drying will evaporate the much needed volatile oils that give the plant its unique taste and aroma. Green Mountain Mechanical Design’s drying method uses vacuum dryers and a depressurization system to efficiently and consistently dry cannabis, without overdrying it.

The cannabis product is layered or hung in the vacuum dryer, distributed along hot plates. Air in the vacuum drying system is heated and a low vacuum force applied to support evaporation. A control system monitors the product and the evaporation rate, adjusting the flow rate to pull moisture away from the cannabis to prevent degradation while also reducing drying time. A series of adjustable apertures can be opened or closed to control the internal relative humidity.

Other attempts at vacuum drying in the industry typically exceed safe temperatures and heat damage the product. Green Mountain Mechanical Design reduces the required temperature by optimizing the air exchange rate and pressure parameters. This balancing act ensures a low temperature can safely dry out the product five times faster than other attempts.

Are you developing new technology for an existing application? Did you know your development work could be eligible for the R&D Tax Credit and you can receive up to 14% back on your expenses? Even if your development isn’t successful your work may still qualify for R&D credits (i.e. you don’t need to have a patent to qualify). To find out more, please contact a Swanson Reed R&D Specialist today or check out our free online eligibility test.

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