Supercritical Carbon Dioxide (SCCO2) refers to carbon dioxide that is in a fluid state when both its temperature and pressure are equal to or greater than the critical point. Carbon dioxide usually behaves as a gas under standard temperature and pressure conditions (STP), or as a solid when frozen (dry ice). When the temperature and pressure are increased from STP to be at or above the critical point (31.1°C, 74 atm) of carbon dioxide, it develops properties of both a gas and a liquid. At this point, it is referred to as a supercritical fluid. SCCO2 has become a popular commercial and industrial solvent because of its low toxicity and low environmental impact.

One important feature of SCCO2 is that the solvent properties of carbon dioxide gas are maintained when compressed to its critical point. The critical region is characterized by an ability to control solvent power with only minor changes in pressure and temperature. The inherent properties of SCCO2, such as its solvency, gas-like viscosity, diffusivity, compressibility, and very low surface tension, facilitate penetration of CO2 to the interior of dense products such as bone tissue. As a result, NovaSterilis’s NovaKill sterilization additive is carried to hard to reach areas, resulting in the inactivation of embedded pathogens.

Using SCCO2 for terminal sterilization began with the idea that SCCO2 has certain disinfection properties. NovaSterilis has expanded and optimized the technology, producing a viable terminal sterilization process that is protected by several patents. The NovaSterilis SCCO2 process strives to achieve a total inactivation of microbes including bacterial, viral, fungal and yeast pathogens. When the potency of the NovaSterilis process is coupled with the environmentally benign nature of carbon dioxide, the results show a very effective approach to sterilizing medical grade products; many of which previously could not be sterilized using conventional means because of their delicate nature.

See a video of supercritical CO2 in a Nova2200 mid-run here, or view a video of a CO2 phase change from gaseous to supercritical here.

CO2 Phase Diagram
CO2 Phase Diagram

At NovaSterilis, we welcome all inquiries and are open to exploring new applications for our SCCO2 sterilization technology. Please use the contact information on this site for questions or potential collaborations.