co2 control technology

Skytree: Sustainable CO2 Control Technology for Cannabis Growers

by | Feb 27, 2024

co2 control technology

Written by Christine Tullio

As Co-Founder of Cannabis Tech, Christine passionately immerses herself in the cannabis industry. As an early adopter of this thriving market, she stays at the forefront of emerging technologies, bringing groundbreaking innovations to light and empowering her readers with valuable insights and inspiration.

In the bustling intersection of climate technology and sustainable agriculture, a new player has emerged with a promising solution that feels like science fiction turned reality. It’s Skytree, a dynamic startup already carving its name as a game-changer in the direct air capture (DDAC) landscape, offering innovative CO2 control technology. With a backstory that begins in the vastness of space – quite literally within the confines of the European Space Agency – Skytree brings a technology to Earth that may revolutionize how indoor and greenhouse growers, including cannabis companies, produce their crops.

From the Stars to Greenhouses

Skytree’s CEO, Rob van Straten, explains that the company’s roots are as nuanced as its technology is innovative. The current Skytree has reached commercialization for only a few months, but its quest began eight years prior as a research team sponsored by the European Space Agency. Their mission? Create a mechanism to scrub carbon dioxide (CO2) from the International Space Station’s environment, ensuring astronauts wouldn’t suffocate.

Fast forward to two years ago, under van Straten’s strategic leadership, Skytree transitioned from a research venture to a purpose-driven company with machines “generating CO2 from ambient air where it’s needed.” Funding and a growing team of 65 experts propelled the company’s ambitious goal to parlay its technology commercially.

Co2 Control Technology

Above image is the Skytree Cumulus unit currently located at the Wageningen University & Research Centre for Greenhouses

CO2 Control Technology for Growth

Carbon dioxide isn’t just a greenhouse gas; for plant cultivators, it’s a lifeline, a crucial component in photosynthesis that drives growth and yield. Traditional CO2 sources for indoor growers come fraught with complications—be it long-term contracts, delivery inconsistencies, or escalating prices. Skytree’s DDAC units present an elegant solution.  

Van Straten explains, “What we do is we suck outside air into our machines with ventilators. Then, it goes through our filters, which is where our IP is. Then there’s a material in the filter, where the CO2 molecules connect with. But there’s only, let’s say, 420 of a million air molecules are CO2. So we need to move a lot of air to catch those 420 in a million.”

While the growth of the cannabis market has spotlighted the need for sustainable practices in indoor growing, Skytree’s application is far-reaching—all indoor agriculture stands to gain. Yet, Skytree’s vision extends beyond closed environment agriculture; its technology promises a broader ecological impact.

Permanent CO2 storage

Permanent CO2 storage within building materials is another CO2 control technology avenue that Skytree is exploring with partners. A mineralization process uses the collected CO2 to create a building block that not only locks away the greenhouse gas but also yields enhanced materials. This facet of Skytree’s ambition is about a comprehensive sustainability commitment within the carbon ecosystem.

Skytree’s progressive integration of climate tech within agriculture, coupled with potential pathways for carbon neutrality via credits, symbolizes a hopeful synergy between technology, ecology, and commerce. For cannabis growers and all who cherish innovative, climate-conscious solutions, Skytree shines as a beacon—a promising glimpse of a greener future, one breath at a time.

Can the industry pivot to a more sustainable model that benefits consumers, companies, and the climate alike? The story of Skytree suggests an affirmative, inviting us to envision a future where clean air and clean growth are not mutually exclusive but mutually enriching. Skytree’s tale is one of transformation—from a space technology securing astronaut safety to an earthbound enterprise poised to support the greening of industries. Rob van Staten and his team have spun the legacy of Skytree 1.0 into a fresh narrative that speaks to innovators, eco-advocates, and anyone who sees the undeniable power of plants in reversing our climate plight.