Using photo-oxidation to fight
MMJ DAILY, NEWSLETTER, JUNE 2020
There are many characteristics that may be attributed to the cannabis industry: lots of potential, interesting market, passionate growers, and so on. However, there is one specific thing that sets apart the cannabis industry from other types of horticulture businesses. “When we got into cannabis, 5 years ago, we thought that powdery mildew was going to be the biggest issue,” Keith Jordan with Sanuvox explains. “2-3 years into the market, powdery mildew has indeed been a big issue, but a new participant joined the fray: odor. Especially in the US, many cities have started enacting odor laws, and started fining those growers who released such odor without any control onto that.”
Using carbon filters to control odor emissions
Keith further explains that odor-related issues quickly became a hot topic. “A substantial number of growers don’t have a system for different odor control options. So, they would go to the wholesaler, and they would get a carbon filter off the shelf without any regard to capacity, which is what has been mainly used in other industries to fight odors. The lack of a solution specific for the cannabis industry led said growers to resort to a solution that is anything but efficient, both from an operational and cost standpoint.”
“Using carbon is one excellent way to capture odor,” Keith points out. “However, it heavily dependent on the type and amount of odor being produced. As the carbon captures the odor, it becomes increasingly ineffective, and at one point, the carbon within the filter will need to be changed. On top of that, carbon filters generally require a lot of maintenance. Some growers tend to forget about that, and maintenance is not at the top of their priority list. Thus, these filters stay there for years, and long have stopped working years prior. Additionally, since there is so much maintenance to carry out, and since such filters need to be changed with a certain frequency, growers will find themselves with the problem of having to dispose of old and unusable filters. All of these are just added issues and nuisances to what growers should be mainly focused on: growing the plant, that is.”
Photo-oxidation to control odor
This is the reason why Sanuvox has decided to leverage its experience in the development of such solutions to provide the cannabis industry with something whose application is specifically meant for the fighting of odors coming out of cannabis cultivation facilities. “We have been doing odor oxidation for over 25 years,” Keith points out. “We have done that for garbage rooms, kitchen odors, and so on. Our PhD co-founder started looking into terpenes, and found out that our odor oxidation process successfully broke down the cannabis odor molecules.”
Thus, Sanuvox has developed a solution which applies photo-oxidation to cannabis growing. “We use two wavelengths of UV light,”
Keith explains. “UV-C, 254 nanometers, and UV-V, 187 nanometers. Both of these work in conjunction with each other to oxidize the odor molecule. Our systems are based on cubic feet per minute (CFM) and on exhaust duct dimension. The byproduct of the photo-oxidation process also includes ozone, which is dangerous to plants. That is why all the air from the facility is processed through our solution, and then is expelled outside in complete safety.” When the system is designed properly, Sanuvox has achieved a 99% reduction of exhausted odor at several large Canadian Cannabis cultivation facilities.
Another very interesting feature of the photo-oxidation solution by Sanuvox is that it is versatile , meaning the same Sanuvox system can treat biological contaminants or odor oxidation depending on the type of UV lamp used, Keith remarks.
It is quite clear that the issue with cannabis odor stems from the stigma that the plant has been carrying for quite a long time. This is why Keith believes that, as long as this stigma persists, cannabis companies will have to control the odor coming out of their operation. “Odor control is going to be at the forefront for a long time,” Keith says. “You can also see that the interest of growers regarding this solution is increasing because many large odor removal companies have finally started making products for large-scale cannabis operations as well.”