Mattia Accorsi, PhD, Senior Biologist at C-LED

"Growing cannabis with the most performing technologies increases the profitability"

Since its inception, the cannabis industry has been characterized by the technologically advanced cultivation methodologies used to grow the best crop in the most profitable way. That’s why it does not come as a surprise that many companies are putting a lot of manhours into R&D, to find the most efficient solution. One of these companies is C-LED, an Italian firm specialized in horticultural LED solutions. “There is a lot of research going on about cannabis,” Mattia Accorsi, PhD, Senior Biologist with C-Led explains. “This is because the ROI is very high, with cannabis being probably one of the most valuable crops out there.”

An indoor-greenhouse facility, not only for R&D
C-LED R&D team, in collaboration with a facility (greenhouse and indoor farming) in Bologna, conducts different experiments in order to optimize the LED technology. “We are conducting studies on different plants such as microgreens, vegetables, and saffron on new vertical farming systems and greenhouse,” Mattia says. “One of the nicest things about this facility is the fact that clients can come here and see with their own eyes the results of using our LED lights.” This is because the facility in Bologna is not R&D only, but the plants grown there are going to be marketed eventually. “Same goes for the CBD cannabis that we illuminate in this greenhouse-indoor structure. I think this aspect is one of our major strengths, as we can rely on experienced and qualified employees who constantly tend to the plant. When clients come here, they would find themselves in an actual horticultural business, and better understand how LED lights work in such a complex situation.”

One of the most recent projects that C-LED is working on, includes lamps and spectra specific for an aeroponics application. This cultivation methodology is really cutting-edge, yet its adoption is not particularly widespread. “Generally speaking, when you grow using substrates, you might have an easier time or a sort of buffer zone,” Mattia remarks. “It allows you to make mistakes that ultimately do not compromise the yield. At the same time, the environmental impact and operational cost are very high in the long term.”

Growing in substrates vs aeroponics
Indeed, Mattia further explains that by growing in substrates, a grower needs to constantly purchase new ones and dispose of the old ones, and all of these come at a cost. “You can set up a system that can recycle waste. Yet, with aeroponics you completely take away from the equation any cost related to substrates but some essential factors of the system such as irrigation, nutrients supply and the light that governs the photosynthetic activity, must be perfectly balanced and timely adjusted.”

The keyword is sustainability. “When it comes to growing, sustainability is not only about the environment, but also about the economic sustainability of the operation. You need to reduce the electricity consumption, and a big part of this is given by lights. The other big part is given by the fertigation system, and it is totally possible to work more on this aspect. Since there is no medium that withholds the water, this gets absorbed by the roots faster and evaporates faster as well. It does allow you to use more light, as the metabolic activity is increased: plants grow faster, and lights need to be adjusted accordingly. Ultimately, you can have more cycles at the end of the year, as the plants would take only two months to get to the end of the cycle.”

Even though growing with LED technology and aeroponics might have a bigger cost upfront, the benefits in the long term are so many that such a cultivation methodology works out to be more sustainable, both economically and environmentally. “Cannabis is an extremely valuable crop, and being able to grow it with the most performing technologies might increase the profitability of a company,” Mattia observes. “There are still a few things to adjust when it comes to using this in a very large-scale setting. But the technology and the research is here, so the times are definitely ripe.”

For more information:
Via Gambellara, 34 – 40026 Imola (BO) – Italy
tel: +39 0542 654980
fax: +39 0542 654344 

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