Cannabis: A Unique Perspective

The article below was written by Jim Lauria posted to Linkedin. This is a great article on the potential future growth of the cannabis market and role ozone oxidation may play in this industry.

Original article link HERE

Cannabis: A Unique Perspective

The cannabis industry is riding sky-high and heading for the clouds as legalization expands and markets grow. Cannabis growers are also poised to lead agriculture in water use efficiency and gain an upper hand in long-term contests over access to precious water.

I have a unique perspective on cannabis. For one thing, I have been studying water use in the crop since researching my first article on the topic in 2017, and continuing through the current day. In fact, I recently co-authored an article for Ozone News with Tony Sacco of Spartan Environmental Technologies on the many uses of ozone in cannabis production and processing, and presented on the subject at the International Ozone Association’s 2021 U.S. conference.

But my unique perspective is much older, and much more unique. Back in the 1980s, I was an environmental engineer at one of the largest sugar mills in the world, which also operated the largest furnace in the Florida county where we were located. I would often get a call from the county asking for help burning caches of old documents. Imagine my surprise when one of those document destruction runs turned out to be a 6-ton load of confiscated marijuana that the county sheriff needed to destroy! Let’s just say that our stack emissions that day may well have set a record for the world’s biggest bong

In all seriousness, most states—including Florida—have legalized some form of cannabis use or decriminalized the drug, opening markets to many very sophisticated growers. The pressure to deliver the most crop per drop, especially in irrigated crop production areas like the West and parts of the South, make water too precious to apply to crops that can be rainfed, and will likely tip the balance toward high-value crops like cannabis. The water industry has much to learn from producers who have spent decades fine-tuning their water use efficiency and growing techniques—and a lot to gain from exploring how our technologies fit this top-dollar crop.

Booming Market

One of the biggest drivers behind cannabis’ inevitable domination of water resources is the staggering value of the crop. According to Grand View Research, the global market for legal marijuana was estimated at $9.6 billion in 2020 and is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate of 26.7% from 2001 through 2028. Cannabis is already the largest crop in California—the state that produces one-third of the country’s vegetables and two-thirds of its fruit. At $11 to $17 billion per year and 60 to 70% of the nation’s pot sales, California’s cannabis crop dwarfs the number-two agricultural product, the state’s $6.7 billion milk and cheese industry.

You probably noticed the disparity between the Grand View figures and the California numbers. The difference is the illegal cannabis market. According to Ted Grantham, co-director of the cannabis program at the University of California, Berkeley, legal cannabis farms represent just 20 to 25% of the state’s total cannabis operations. That means there is a vast number of small, unregulated cannabis farms in the state, many of which are tapping water supplies illegally. What we don’t know is how many farms or how much water, though indications in rural counties in California’s Emerald Triangle are that water demand for cannabis is so high that it is affecting streams and residential wells. Though those operations are off-the-books, their water management tactics will also need to incorporate efficient water technologies, too.

Astronomical Returns

With such massive revenue numbers, it’s no surprise that cannabis cultivation generates huge returns on water—astronomical “crop per drop.” A study by the Denver University Law Review found that cannabis production in Colorado returned 22 cents to $6.67 per gallon of water used, and compared that to potatoes—another huge Colorado crop—which returned 2 to 3 cents per gallon.

Part of the disparity goes back to the value of the crop. Think of it—you’re comparing a crop that’s sold by the gram to a commodity that’s marketed in 10-pound bags…and wholesaled in 50-to-100-pound increments. In January 2021, cannabis flower wholesaled at $1,721 per pound in Colorado, according to MJBiz Daily, while 100 pounds of Colorado russet potatoes sold for $17.00 wholesale. That’s a 100x difference. Ten thousand percent.

With returns like that, cannabis producers will make a strong case for creating the highest and best economic use for irrigation water where they have the rights. And efficiency will likely stay on the high side of the range, or continue to improve, as cannabis production is increasingly driven inside controlled environments like greenhouses or high tunnels. Improved yields and quality from indoor production, along with neighbor complaints about unpleasant odor from outdoor grows, will cement indoor production as the preferred approach to cannabis cultivation.

There, too, cannabis is the new king. According to Agrilyst, cannabis yields $112 per square foot in value in the greenhouse, compared to $64 for indoor greens and $22 for indoor strawberries.

Technology Driven

As cannabis producers invest in indoor production—a substantial commitment—and the legal market demands the kind of quality and traceability that wine and food buyers do, cannabis growers will be held to Good Agricultural Practices and beyond. To comply with those demands and maximize their profits through increased efficiency, those growers will seek the best in water application, treatment and reuse technologies.

This is no longer the neighborhood supplier growing in a blacked-out basement.

Maintaining basic safety will demand sanitation. For sanitation-in-place maintenance of growing facilities and equipment, we are seeing significant interest in ozone-injecting sanitation carts and wall-mounted ozone sanitation systems, which allow growers to effectively sanitize without the need for (or dangers of) steaming hot water. Within drip irrigation or hydroponic water delivery systems, ozone and other sanitation agents can be injected to control biofilm, which can plug emitters and valves, as well as harbor pathogens.

Ozone or air can also be injected into irrigation water to aerate roots through systems like Mazzei AirJection, a process that has been proven by agronomists around the world to improve yield and quality in vegetables, fruits, and a wide range of commodities. As competition tightens and branded cannabis becomes as coveted as favorite wine labels, we can expect to see deep interest in yield and quality improvement techniques.

At the end of the irrigation line, ozone, advanced oxidation process (AOP) systems, and sophisticated filtration will be needed to permit the reuse and recycling of water, or treat wastewater for discharge.

My exploration of the applications for ozone in cannabis production have even pointed to opportunities for gaseous ozone in cleaning cannabis flower—at rates low enough to avoid damaging the product—or neutralizing odorous terpenes in air before exhausting it into the environment.

Further Research

On a state-by-state basis, cannabis offers tremendous opportunities for innovative water technologies. And many cannabis industry experts expect federal approval in the U.S. in the future, as we’ve seen in Canada. Federal approval will be important not just because it allows producers and buyers access to the banking system, or even interstate marketing of cannabis that will reward top growers. It will open the door to research and development across the country—and we can bet that some of the research will advance water efficiency and highlight the role of water technology in delivering high, profitable yields of safe product.

In the modern-day land rush that is the emerging legal cannabis industry, the crop is likely to find its way to the head of the line when it comes to high-efficiency, high-return use of water resources. The skill of the growers, the value of the crop and growing demand for top-quality, even branded cannabis, will follow in the footsteps of the wine industry. We in the water industry will be wise to teach cannabis growers about the remarkable tools we put at their disposal to help them improve quality and efficiency, and also to learn from the many innovators in cannabis production how careful water management can turn every drop of water into green.

More info on Ozone in Cannibis industry

Air Treatment

Heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems have had ozone applied to them on a large scale, there are some major reasons behind this, such as:

                -The public has become growingly aware that indoor air quality (IAQ) can be can be improved

                -Heightened intolerance towards smoking along with the increased knowledge that common chemicals can negatively impact IAQ

                -Technological advancements within the ozone industry (particularly in ozone generators/monitors) make system controls more realistic

                -Payback economics: savings in energy along with other factors

The main industrial sectors to heavily invest in ozone air treatment are gaming institutions like casinos, bingo halls, and card rooms, as well as applications within the hospitality industry (restaurants, showrooms, bowling alleys). These areas have seen high returns investing in air quality, in large part due to the common chemicals in these areas that would lower overall air quality (ex: cigarettes being allowed in most gaming buildings). Many smaller projects have also been applicated to places like taverns, designated smoking areas and advanced technology facilities where complete-building air treatment is not deemed necessary.

Most voiced objections towards ozone are in reference to its overall safety. When using ozone in public areas, the concentrations must be kept below the harmful levels. Self-controlling systems, that combine advanced ozone generation with ozone monitoring systems make this increasingly possible. However, among cognizant agencies, we do see discernment as to what should be deemed the safe levels and suitable ozone concentration guidelines. For areas where people gather together, the US FDA has stated a limit of .05 ppm. HVAC systems are programmed with automatic controls to typically stay under concentrations of .03-.05 ppm. However, these concentrations are lower than what we see occur naturally in outdoor settings, in most regions. “For ozone injected into HVAC systems it is absolutely necessary to include ozone sensors to automatically control the ozone concentration in areas where the public congregate.”

2 Major Applications

                -Casinos: Gaming facilities are continually growing worldwide, and a majority of resorts are now including them. Smoking is typically found in high quantities in most casinos, and it is a major irritant for customers as well as employees. Ozone is incredibly effective in getting rid of the unpleasant smell caused by smoking, due to the variety of VOC’s that can be found in the smoke.

                -Dubai International Airport: Odds are this is the largest ozonated HVAC system in the world, with the air treatment being applicated to all of the buildings. The airport has over 300 ozone sensor/controllers along with VOC sensor/controllers. There are many ozone generators spread throughout the HVAC ductwork, treating virtually all of the interior spaces. Preliminary findings from the Dubai International Airport were passengers and employees noted a pleasant air smell, as well as improved air quality. The airport also cut costs by spending less on maintenance, mainly because they no longer had to replace carbon filters.

More information on ozone and Air Treatment, can be found here.

Sources: Rip Rice, from the IOA https://www.ioa-pag.org/

OXS Injection Systems for Aquaculture and Hydroponics

OXS Water Treatment System

In the above image you can see an OXS-10 Ozone Water System. Ozone is an incredibly efficient component when it comes to aquaculture and hydroponics. In reference to hydroponics, the use of ozone can help in oxygenating root zones, as well as disinfecting and enhancing the hydroponic water quality. For aquaculture, ozone is used to improve water quality, reduce pathogens, and increase efficiency of the water treatment systems. We created a video going through the functions of the OXS-10, to see the video, Please Click Here! You can also Click Here to see more information, as well as purchasing options, for the OXS Ozone Water System.

Aquaculture

Aquaculture is the breeding, rearing, and harvesting of fish, shellfish, algae, and other organisms in all types of water environments. 2 of the main applications we see ozone used in aquaculture is for fish farming and ozonated ice. Ozone works great for fish farming because it keeps the water cleaner, and therefore, the fish healthier. Healthier fish can eat more feed and grow bigger/faster. After fish are harvested, they are usually put on ice. By dissolving ozone into water and quickly freezing the water, ozone is essentially trapped within the ice. Locking ozone into the ice and setting the fish on top of the ice allows for the ozone to be slowly released and increases the shelf life for the fish.

Hydroponics

One of the definitions of hydroponics is as follows, “Hydroponics is a technology for growing plants in nutrient solutions (water and fertilizers) with or without the use of artificial medium (ex., sand, gravel, vermiculite, rockwool) to provide mechanical support. Liquid hydroponic systems have no other supporting medium for the plant roots: aggregate systems have a solid medium of support.”

Hydroponics Benefits

  • Water Conservation
  • Produce Higher Yields
  • Less Labor Requirements
  • No Soil Needs
  • High Quality Foods

How Does Ozone Enhance Hydroponics?

Ozone allows us to disinfect water before it is used in a hydroponic system and gives us more control over the pathogens and algae that are present. Because of ozone’s efficiency in disinfection it is great for destroying bacteria, virus, and fungi, as well as eliminating microbes, algae and pathogens. It also gives us the ability to increase oxygen levels in the plants which can aid in increasing crop yields. Using ozone for disinfection saves money on chemical fertilizer, and can even get rid of unwanted smells inside of greenhouses.

Contact Us Today to speak with an industry expert on how we can help you!

Sources: solutionozone.com, edengreen.com, cals.arizona.edu

OXS Ozone Water System

Overview of the OXS Ozone Water System

Overview

OXS Ozone Water Systems will dissolve ozone into water for point of use applications, or water treatment applications where dissolved ozone in water is required. The OXS System is capable of producing up to 100 g/hr of ozone from oxygen with an integrated oxygen concentrator and ozone generator, the OXS Injection Systems also introduce this ozone into water at 100 GPM. For more information on the OXS Ozone Water System, Please Click Here.

How It Works

Main Features

  • One touch ON/OFF switch
  • Ambient ozone safety sensor integrated in central controller
  • CPVC piping is used for maximum ozone resistance
  • Stainless steel ozone compatible pump
  • Ozone produced from oxygen at high concentration
  • Great mass transfer of ozone into water
  • Capable of high dissolved ozone levels
  • Compact design

For more information, as well as purchasing options for the OXS Ozone Water System, Please Click Here.

Product Spotlight: BOSEAN BH-60 Fixed Ozone Monitor

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Product Overview

The BH-60 Fixed Ozone Detector uses an advanced catalytic gas sensor, which can translate the ozone concentration in the air to the digital signal output. The BH-60 has a range of 0-20 ppm and a resolution of 1 ppm, making it great for detecting ozone in refineries, chemical plants, boiler rooms, painting plants, and other industrial settings where ozone is present. When it comes to industrial, fixed-mount ozone detectors, the BH-60’s $360 price tag sets it well below most competitors. The display on the BH-60 is incredibly easy to read and help maximize the usability for this sensor

Main Features

-Aluminum outer shell

-Economic pricing

-4-20mA Output currency

Ease of Use

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For more information, as well as purchasing options for the BH-60, Please Click Here!

The manual for the BH-60 Fixed Ozone Sensor can be found Here.

Custom Oxygen Concentrators

Newly-built Custom Oxygen Concentrator

We can build custom oxygen concentrators to fit many different specifications for a wide array of applications. The picture above shows one of the customized oxygen concentrators that we have recently built. For this particular unit, the customer was looking for a system that would produce oxygen at approximately 70% purity. Although typical oxygen concentrators produce roughly 93% pure oxygen, we were able to easily create an oxygen generator that met our customers specific needs. In the picture above, we can see the “Air Flow Control” knob, as well as the “Oxygen Flow Control” knob. This addition to the oxygen generator give the user the ability to easily adjust the purity of their oxygen flow. To decrease the oxygen purity, the user simply has to increase the air flow and decrease the ozone flow. Were purer oxygen desired, the opposite actions would need to be taken. Along with the adjustability, we also added in an easy-to-read LED screen to the front of the unit (see in the images below) so the user can know the specific purity of the oxygen being produced. Contact us today to talk with an industry expert and find out how we can build a system to fit your needs.

Upper-Right Corner shows the screen displaying the precise oxygen purity level.
Another view of one of our custom oxygen concentrators.

There are many different options when it comes to the customizability of these oxygen concentrators. While the unit seen above had a focus on the oxygen purity, other attributes can be factors for customization, such as the oxygen pressure, flow, and concentration. We can easily adjust the pressure, flow, and/or concentration of oxygen to fit all of your specific needs. Along with these simple customizations, we also now offer high pressure oxygen concentrators. The TOX-20 through 40 are now available in high pressure models. One of the great things about the HP series of oxygen concentrators is that they provide oxygen pressures of 90 PSI continuously, as well as a storage tank (ranging from 20 to 30 gallons) to store oxygen. To view our full line of high pressure oxygen concentrators, Please Click Here.

TOX-40 HP

If you would like to reach out and ask about our custom oxygen concentrators, Please Click Here.

To see all of the oxygen generators we offer, Click Here.

Product Spotlight: BOSEAN K-600 Portable Ozone Detector

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Product Overview

With a 0-1 ppm range and a resolution of 0.1 ppm, the K-600 Ozone Detector is the perfect sensor for refinery workers, maintenance engineers, and personal safety applications. What sets the K-600 apart from other BOSEAN portable sensors (such as the BH-90 and BH-90A) is that the K-600 is also computer compatible. The data stored on the K-600 can easily to be transferred to a computer so the data can be saved and printed for analyzing. Also unlike the BH-90 and BH-90A, the K-600 uses a gas pump for air sampling, as opposed to diffusion, to help increase accurate readings. The LCD screen offers easy-to-read analyzations and the three-button design make the K-600 incredibly simple to use.

Main Features

-Gas pump sampling

-Easy operation

-Computer compatibility

-Gas Curve display

Ease of Use

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Gas Curve Display

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For more information, as well as purchasing options for the K-600, Please Click Here!

The manual for the K-600 can be found here.

Product Spotlight: BOSEAN BH-90A Portable Ozone Sensor

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Product Overview

The BH-90A is available in either 0-20 ppm or 0-1 ppm, with a resolution of 0.1 ppm. This customizability makes the BH-90A great for different applications, whether it is for industrial safety, or for personal use. The BH-90A performs quite similarly to the BH-90, the main thing that sets them apart is the password management options that the BH-90A offers. The password management ensures that there is no wrongful operation of the sensor. They also have a different build, the BH-90A is slightly larger than the BH-90, and has boxier design. The BH-90A also has a larger battery and a slightly longer lifespan after a full charge (a charging cord and port are included with an order of the BH-90A). The BH-90A has low and high alarms set at 5 ppm and 10 ppm, but these alarms are also customizable.

Main Features

-Adjustable low and high alarms

-Low battery indication

-Password management

-Water and Dust resistant housing

Ease of Use

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For more information, as well as purchasing options for the BH-90A, Please Click Here!

The manual for the BH-90A can be found here.

Product Spotlight: BOSEAN BH-90 Portable Ozone Detector

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Overview

At only $280, the BH-90 is an incredibly economic option when it comes to portable ozone detection for industrial applications, or for personal safety. This sensor is available in either 0-10 ppm, or 0-1 ppm, and with a resolution of 0.1 ppm, it is great for many different settings. The simplified design with an easy-to-read screen and 4-button layout maximizes the usability of the BH-90 without giving up performance. The anti-slip rubber greatly improves the sensors durability and makes the BH-90 both dust and water resistant.

Main Features

-Adjustable low and high alarm levels

-Low battery indication

-Visual and audible alarm with vibration

-2 year sensor life

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For more information, as well as purchasing options for the BH-90 Portable Ozone Detector, Please Click Here!

The manual for the BH-90 can be found here.

Overview: Ozone Application in Recirculating Aquaculture System

Aquaculture System

Abstract

In recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS), particulates (including feces, uneaten feed, bacteria, and algae) can cause several problems, in that they may harbor pathogens, can physically irritate the fish, and upon decomposition, release ammonia and consume oxygen. Mechanical filters, foam fractionators, and other engineered devices are used to remove particles quickly from aquaculture systems, in order to improve fish health and decrease the load on biofilters and oxygenators. Ozone is used in RAS as a disinfectant, to remove organic carbon, and also to remove turbidity, algae, color, odor and taste. Ozone can effectively inactivate a range of bacterial, viral, fungal and protozoan fish pathogens. But the effectiveness of ozone treatment depends on ozone concentration, length of ozone exposure (contact time), pathogen loads and levels of organic matter. In spite of ozone is a very effective oxidizing agent, higher ozone concentrations are a risk to cultured fish stocks causing gross tissue damage and stock mortalities, and also are a risk to bacterial films on the biofilter.

To see Oxidation Technologies information on Aquaculture Systems, Please Click Here!

To Read the Full Article, Please Click Here