© Grow-tec

High tech for medical cannabis

The market for medi­c­inal cannabis is booming world­wide. Israeli company Grow-tec offers the tech­nology that enables cannabis growers to reap a rich harvest from indoor plan­ta­tions. Venti­lation systems from Klimallco SA, a Greek air condi­tioner manu­fac­turer, play a key role in this.

Cannabis is consid­ered a true miracle cure. Over 500 substances are contained in the plant, and its healing prop­er­ties have been known since ancient times. The active ingre­di­ents in the flowers have a pain-relieving and muscle-relaxing effect and stim­u­late the appetite. For a long time, the use of cannabis was illegal in most coun­tries, but more and more govern­ments have relaxed their laws in recent years and allowed its use for medi­c­inal purposes. Since then, the industry has been booming, recording double-digit growth rates world­wide every year. And as demand increases, compa­nies special­izing in culti­va­tion are investing in new indoor plan­ta­tions to meet this need.

Although the cannabis plant is quite unde­manding, the fact that the weather usually does what it wants means that indoor culti­va­tion is much more reli­able, and is also possible regard­less of the season or climate zone. The quality and growth of the plants is also easier to control and manage. Another advan­tage of indoor culti­va­tion is that this valu­able produce is better secured in a lock­able building. This is good news for Grow-tec from Israel.

Did you know?

Israel is a pioneer in cannabis research and is consid­ered a world leader in this field. In 1964, Israeli scien­tist Raphael Mechoulam from the Hebrew Univer­sity of Jerusalem managed to isolate an active ingre­dient in the cannabis plant called tetrahy­dro­cannabinol (THC) for the first time.

He is there­fore regarded as one of the founders of medi­c­inal cannabis research. Medi­c­inal use was legal­ized in Israel at the begin­ning of the 1990s. In Germany, legal­iza­tion did not occur unti 2017.

Pioneer for the culti­va­tion of medi­c­inal cannabis

The company, located between the city of Nazareth and the Sea of Galilee, special­izes in indoor facil­i­ties and offers high-tech turnkey systems that enable the culti­va­tion of cucum­bers, toma­toes, and even medi­c­inal cannabis indoors with ultra-high yields and quality that could not other­wise be achieved.

Grow-tec designs finely balanced systems for HVAC, irri­ga­tion, and climate control. Thanks to Grow-tec’s exper­tise, these systems create the optimum climate for the plants, while taking all the envi­ron­mental condi­tions – light, CO₂ concen­tra­tion, and, most impor­tantly, air circu­la­tion – into account. To achieve this, the special­ists at Grow-tec needed high-perfor­mance air handling units (AHUs) so that the temper­a­ture and humidity in the build­ings, some of which are several thou­sand square meters in size, remain stable.

For the culti­va­tion of medical cannabis, Grow-tec requires high-perfor­mance air condi­tioning systems to keep the temper­a­ture and humidity stable. (Foto | ebm-papst)

This is because exces­sive humidity damages the plants. In addi­tion to air perfor­mance, energy consump­tion is also an impor­tant crite­rion, from both an envi­ron­mental and a finan­cial perspec­tive. And Grow-Tec also had a special wish: that the AHUs be painted green. With this list of require­ments, the Israeli experts set out to find a suit­able manu­fac­turer. They found what they were looking for in Klimallco, an air condi­tioner manu­fac­turer from Greece, just 30 kilo­me­ters east of the capital Athens.

A breath of fresh air from Greece

Klimallco was founded 25 years ago and exports its climate control solu­tions to 14 coun­tries world­wide. Jim Borsis, Managing Director at Klimallco says: “Our customers are mainly compa­nies that require turnkey solu­tions for various sectors such as hospi­tals, logis­tics centers, or schools.” Effi­cient and envi­ron­men­tally friendly devices are a trade­mark of the Greek manu­fac­turer. “This is why we have been working with ebm-papst since we were founded. And this project in Israel is no excep­tion,” explains Borsis.

Effi­cient and envi­ron­men­tally friendly devices are our trade­mark. This is why we have been working with ebm-papst since we were founded.

Jim Borsis, Managing Director at Klimallco SA

Klimallco uses RadiPac fans from ebm-­papst for the AHUs required by Grow-tec – 26 fans in total. The RadiPac product range was specially devel­oped for AHUs. Thanks to the EC motor, the Radi­Pacs can be regu­lated as required, which makes them very energy effi­cient. The geom­etry of the impeller has also been opti­mized so that partic­u­larly high air perfor­mance and a high pres­sure increase are possible at the same time.

The future of agri­cul­ture

Indoor farming is seen as a promising alter­na­tive to conven­tional culti­va­tion methods. Indoor plan­ta­tions and what is known as vertical farming, in which lettuce, for example, is grown on several levels, can achieve higher yields with the help of cutting-edge tech­nology. In prin­ciple, this can be done anywhere in the world, even in the Arctic or in desert regions where no plants would normally grow. Thanks to controlled irri­ga­tion and preci­sion fertil­iza­tion, this form of agri­cul­ture requires less water and less fertil­izer than in the open coun­try­side. And it also uses less space. However, culti­vating crops in this way requires more elec­tricity – which is why effi­cient venti­lation solu­tions for instance are crucial.

How ebm-papst prod­ucts enable effi­cient vertical farming.

As Borsis explains: “The fan offers a bril­liant combi­na­tion of effi­cient perfor­mance and compact­ness thanks to its small external dimen­sions and air flow capacity.” Klimallco’s solu­tion proved a winner and Grow-tec now offers its customers effi­cient and powerful systems for cannabis produc­tion. And thanks to the special green paint­work, the AHUs blend in well among the thou­sands of cannabis plants gently swaying in the arti­fi­cial wind. 

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