BioLargo, Inc. announced its recent entry into the lucrative cannabis industry with a five-year white label distribution agreement to supply odor and VOC control products to Cannabusters Inc., a sister company of the Mabre Corporation (Mabre Air Systems), with over 40 years’ experience delivering air quality control systems to industry world-wide. Cannabis growing and production facilities are facing increased scrutiny by regulators to better control hazardous air pollutants and odors (from ”terpenes”). These pungent aromas irk neighbors, city officials, and regulators, even as industry seeks to maintain good community relations and avoid legal entanglements and lawsuits over nuisance odors.
Planning and Permitting
Odor mitigation procedures are now a large part of the permitting process for companies considering entering the cannabis industry. With an industry growth rate of 34.6% annually, presenting a thorough and compelling initial application for a grow operation is more important than ever.
There have been a number of high-profile complaints and even fines for several large cultivation facilities. One of the largest cannabis facilities in the world has been the target of complaints from travelers at the nearby Edmonton International Airport and now performs daily aroma audits at its 800,000 square foot facility in a bid to keep the local peace. Two cultivation facilities in Colorado have been fined $2,000 and $14,000 respectively for their failures to remedy odor violations. Another facility on the central coast of California even had its permitted revoked, resulting in 75 jobs being lost. Stories like these highlight the pressing need for a reliable odor control solution in the industry.
BioLargo has a proven track record in eliminating VOCs and related odors in the waste handling industry, and these capabilities translate perfectly to the cannabis odor control industry. From their most recent annual report, ”a number of experts in the cannabis industry tell us that our products could become part of the ‘best practices’ operating procedures for this industry and are working toward that goal.” With the global legal cannabis market expected to grow to $146.4B by 2025, and with an estimated 15,000 companies operating in California alone, BioLargo states ”(we) believe the opportunity for our product is significant. To that end, we are organizing a series of strategic relationships within the Cannabis industry to capture the opportunity quickly. We are working to finalize agreements with equipment manufacturers, regulatory consultants, key opinion leaders, and marketing partners. Our value proposition is unmatched for odor and VOC control and this is another great example how our platform continues to expand in high value markets.” Very encouraging words.
Air Quality & the EPA
Odor is not the only issue. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted by plants can contribute to smog, a serious issue in places like California and Denver, two cannabis growing hotspots. VOCs, when mixed with nitrogen oxides emitted by automobiles and industrial sources, produce tropospheric ozone, a bluish, irritating and pungent gas that is a major form of smog in the lower atmosphere. Past studies have shown that cannabis plants are a rich source of potent VOCs called ”terpenes”, which give cannabis its distinct odor.
As more legal cannabis growing facilities crop up, the concern over air quality is steadily growing. It has been suggested that the 50,000+ plants being grown in Denver could potentially double the amount of smog-forming VOC’s in the area. In fact, Colorado officials recently launched one of the largest studies to date of cannabis farm emissions, concerned that Denver’s more than 600 indoor cannabis farms are worsening the city’s air pollution, which is already perilously close to and sometimes violates federal limits. Because the EPA doesn’t officially recognize the cannabis industry, it doesn’t provide the same guidance it does for other industrial emissions. To pick up that slack, researchers aim to use their findings and computer simulations to better understand cannabis related air pollution.
BioLargo’s Solution to the Cannabis and Hemp Odor Problem
Carbon filters, which have been the industry’s answer to odor control thus far, simply are not doing the job effectively enough, leading to lawsuits and potential headwinds for the cannabis industry as a whole. This is a major problem that needs to be addressed immediately, and one in which BioLargo’s state-of-the-art odor and VOC control solution for the waste handling industry may provide a real answer.
BioLargo’s solution works by spraying a fine mist of their patented, environmentally safe product onto the stream of air leaving the facility, eliminating odors and VOCs along the way. The efficacy of the product has already been proven, with the four largest waste handling companies in the U.S. using it to control odors and VOCs at their transfer stations, landfills, and other odorous facilities. The product is also supported by BioLargo’s in-house engineering services team that includes a host of valuable services to support the grower. The cannabis industry is only the tip of the potential revenue iceberg, as many other industries emit VOCs for which regulators mandate mitigation.
BioLargo’s CupriDyne Clean is being positioned currently to be the best and most cost-efficient solution to the cannabis industry’s odor and VOC problem. CupriDyne Clean offers a patented, environmentally friendly product platform with applications across multiple industries that deal with odors and VOCs, collectively representing a multi-billion-dollar odor and VOC control market. Having already been proven effective in combating the difficult odors of the solid waste handling industry, where the product is being adopted by several of the largest waste handling companies in the United States, BioLargo through its subsidiary Odor No More, Inc. can apply its award winning technology to the blossoming cannabis industry through their newly minted white label distribution agreement with Cannabusters, Inc.
Given the size and growth rate of the cannabis industry, establishing its CupriDyne Clean as a ‘best practices’ solution to odor control and its ability to offer critical operations support through its engineering services group has the potential for huge upside with very limited capital requirements.