Step 9. Collect Oil (Distil)

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  • Light fire. Add water (3 times per batch)
  • Steam dry leaves to release oil
  • Oil separates out from cooled vapour
  • 6-8 hours process
  • Distillery capacity 27-40 kg (small) or 50-300 kg (large) of dry leaves

9. Collect Oil (Distillation)

Patchouli oil refineries are generally located close to location of patchouli areas using a stainless steel distillery equipment with a certain capacity (27-40 kg of dry leaves – small size of distillatory or 50 – 300 kg of dry leaves – big size of distillatory), and adding with a stainless steel pipe to assure that the quality oil produced is relative high by using some methods, including direct steam distillation methods (steam and water).

a) First step is lighting a fire by burning wood to heat the distillatory. It is important to select certain types of woods used for burning like teak to produces a suitable high temperature.

b) Second step is filling adequate water up into the distillatory. It is done three times per batch or per 2.5 – 3 hours.

c) Third step is putting patchouli leaves into the vessel of distillery equipment. The vessel comprises two parts bounded by a perforated plate. At the bottom part is used to hold the water, while at the upper part is used to hold patchouli leaves. The (boiling) water will produce steam used to heat the patchouli leaves. And steam from the water will move upward and penetrate into patchouli leaves and make patchouli oil itself will release caused by heat from water vapor. It will make the oil evaporate to the top together with water vapor continues to move upward cone-shaped kettle.On top of the vessel, there are two pipes installed. One pipe for air circulation in to the vessel, and a semi-circular pipe to retain water vapor mixed with patchouli oil that has been evaporated on top of the vessel, and then flowed out of the kettle into a container to separate water and oil. This pipe is passed through a pool of water that serves as a coolant oil and water vapor.

d) Finally, the separation process (blanching) following the refining process will be done through providing a separator tank (drums) that has been punched on the bottom. The separation takes advantage of differences in specific weight of water and oil. Water that is beneath will flow out through the drums that have been punched. A batch of the refining process can last for about 6-8 hours or can be seen with signs of oil coming out of the oil pipeline is not flowing anymore with the oil coming out of the clot into small pipe with a small intensity. Then the distillation process will be continued again by entering the next patchouli leaves with the same capacity.

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