– modern digital lowpressure –

Essential oil distillery on our farm

Steam distillation

Our essential oil distillery like any other steam distillery operates according to the basic principles of steam distillation.

Steam distillation is a process employed to extract essential oils from organic plants by passing steam generated through the plant material. Temperature sensitive compounds which would normally decompose through simple distillation vaporise at lower temperatures when subjected to steam in the distillation column. This allows for the separation of essential oils, which tend to be less soluble in boiling water, from chemically complex materials.

helichrysum essentil oil distillery lowpressure
Picture of the distillery during the distillation process

When the steam is passed through the organic material, tiny pockets holding the essential oils open to release the essential oil molecules without doing any damage to these delicate components. The distillate obtained will contain a mixture of water vapour and essential oils which finally return to their liquid form in the condensing apparatus. Then they are separated using a Florentine separator.

In case of essential oils, using steam allows the distillate to retain the more delicate flavours and aromas which would otherwise breakdown if high temperatures is applied. This is a great process to extract essential oils from aromatic plants to flavour liqueurs.

The key to producing a so called therapeutic-grade or high quality essential oil is to preserve as many of the delicate aromatic compounds within the essential oil as possible.

Fragile aromatic chemicals are easily destroyed by high temperature and pressure, as well as contact with chemically reactive metals such as copper or aluminum. Our distillery is constructed from stainless steel cooking chambers and work on low pressure and lowest possible steam temperature.

Essential oil Distillery at Novi Dan ( New Day )

We are proud of our new digital low-pressure essential oil distillery, which is the highlight of steam distillation. With the help of this built-in system, we fully control the condensing temperatures as well as the hydrolate temperature itself.

Low-pressure distillation means that the steam produced in the steam boiler goes to the green mass at low pressure and therefore has lower temperatures and does not damage the components in the green mass. Thus, for example, when cooking at a high altitude, we have a lower temperature of the boiling water, so we have to cook in it longer for the same thermal effect. In contrast, the pressure in the pressure cooker is higher than atmospheric, so the water is heated to more than 100°C before boiling, and in such water the food is thermally processed faster, but also temperature of steam is much higher.

Every essential oil distillery consists of some key components such as:

  • steam generator
  • distiller
  • condenser
  • florentine vessel

Each of these components consists of one or more sub-components that we will explain below.

Essential oil distillery – steam generator

As its name suggests, a steam generator is a device that produces steam from water. One of the important things when distilling essential oils is that the water entering the steam generator must be softened and free of watercresse and other impurities.

Special water softeners are used for this. The softener consists of a pressure column with an ionic mass, a control valve and a salt tank. Regeneration of the softener is carried out automatically, through an electronic, programmable control block valve, on which, in addition to information on the status of operation and regeneration and failure, it is possible to monitor the current flow and the remaining volume of softening.

Water softener

The water enters the softener and from there into the steam boiler, which is heated with burner. Burners can be powered on gas, oil, and dual-fuel. there are also boilers that can be heated using wood, pellets, and other biomass. One of the biggest costs in the distillery, besides labor, is the burner because a lot of energy is needed for the fastest possible distillation.

Essential oil distillery burner

After the burner heats the softened water in the boiler, it turns into steam and goes through the pipes to the distiller, into which it is necessary to first insert green mass ( helichrysum, rosemary, sage, lavender. ) The steam passing through the herbs extracts the essence from them and enters the condenser as such.


The still is the place where the green mass is inserted. The green mass is inserted into the capsule, which is then inserted into the still for distillation.

Inserting helichrysum into the capsule
rosemary in capsule
Rosemary in capsule – view from above

The capacity of the capsule for our distillery is 1500 liters, and it can hold 200-450 kg of green mass, depending on how dry the herbs are.

Each medicinal plant has a different amount of essential oil, so from, for example, 400 kilograms of helichrysum italicum – immortelle we will get an average of 350 – 500 milliliters of essential oil, while with lavender we will have up to 5 times more essential oil than the same amount of green mass.

After the capsule is filled and inserted into the still, it is closed with a lid connected to the condenser, and the distillation can begin. As we have already said, the steam that comes from the boiler passes through the green mass and goes into the condenser with the essence of the plants.

Essential oil distillery condenser

The capacity of the condenser in the essential oil distillery is very important, since it is necessary to cool a large amount of steam that has passed through the green mass, whether it is immortelle, rosemary, lavender, sage or some other plant that we distill. That steam already contains the essence of the plant that is distilled, and for the best quality of essential oil, it needs to be properly cooled and returned to a liquid state.

Faster cooling of the steam can be achieved in 2 ways. Either by a larger condenser capacity or by a larger water flow through a smaller condenser. We use the first option because it allows us to divide the condenser into zones and precisely determine the temperature in each part of the condenser, which gives optimal results. We also have less water consumption.

Three zones digital controlled condenser Provides optimal condensation temperature as well as hydrolates – Right picture Florentine separator- Immiscible liquids are those which won’t mix to give a single phase. Oil and water are examples of immiscible liquids – one floats on top of the other. It explains the background to steam distillation.

It is known that many organic compounds tend to decompose at high sustained temperatures. With these kind of distillery, distillation process takes place without pressure, and therefore the vapor temperature entering the distillate is minimal, and as such passes through the biomass without generating retention and similar uneven phenomena that could damage plant essence.

Separator – Florentine vessel

Florentine vessel, also called Florentine receiver, Florentine separator or essencer, is used to separate oil from water. In this case, water is a hydrolate obtained as a by-product of distillation. Because oil is less dense than water, it will always float on top of water. After one distillation process has finished, the oil that floats on the water ( hydrolate ) is poured into the decanter.


Since the oil that has just been distilled still contains small particles of hydrolat and water, it must be decanted additionally, i.e. you have to wait until the process of separating water and oil is completely finished, because the remaining water in the essential oil has the greatest impact on the life of the oil.

That’s what a decanter is for. After we have completely separated the water from the oil, the oil still needs to be filtered and we can store it in glass or stainless steel containers.

Helichrysum oil in decanter

This distillery also provides us with one distillation circuit finished in about one hour due to the specific performance of the condenser as well as the boiler burner system, thus increasing the daily capacity of the distillation.

All of this can be controlled and monitored with modern software on the monitor, which greatly alleviates the distillation process itself.

digital screen of distillery
The entire distillation process is digitally controlled – the possibilities are unlimited

All in all, the quality of distillation of our helichrysum oil has been raised to the highest level.

view from distillery helichrysum italicum
The object itself is designed so helichrysum is loaded from height to make it easier for workers. Right picture – A view from the distillery on the helichrysum plantation
helichrysum essential oil - immortelle
Result is Purest Organic High quality Helichrysum italicum essential oil.


Leave a Reply

Avatar placeholder

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Open chat
Can we help you?