Advantages of a Pod-style Grow

by | Mar 9, 2018

Written by Kristina Etter

Kristina is a digital content creator and designer. She has a talent for creating engaging and informative content that resonates with our professional audience. Kristina’s passion for the cannabis industry stems from her belief that it has the potential to revolutionize the world in many ways, and has a personal testimony of cannabis success.

The pursuit of the perfect growing facility is pushing innovation in agriculture. Cannabis presents unique challenges in the field of indoor growing, as the grow conditions required by each strain are as diverse as the strains themselves.

Keeping the ideal conditions for each strain plus meeting the segregation requirements of compliance can be cumbersome and require excessive real estate and equipment. Typical brick-and-mortar buildings may be difficult to scale once the business grows. In addition, the equipment required to run a large indoor grow will certainly have a major failure at some point which could ultimately result in a massive loss of production.

This week, Rob Neely with CannabisTech had the opportunity to speak with George Natzig, CEO of Microlab Farms, who may have the solution to resolve many of these issues through contained, stackable microcosm grows, or Micro Lab Containers. Using state-of-the-art technology to provide growers optimal growing conditions in a scalable all-in-one system, Microlab Farms offers an easy, “Plug-N-Grow” solution to help simplify finding and maintaining perfect grow rooms.

All Encompassing Grow Solution

Micro Lab Containers allow growers to operate every aspect of their grow room from one central control system. The environment is completely created and contained within the insulated, stainless steel container including CO2 control, light timers, temperature control, and humidity levels. The container even includes recycle timers, vent fans, and advanced HVAC systems.

Natzig describes, “[The containers] can virtually be placed in any environment, this is a global solution which completely eliminates environmental fluctuations, providing the ability to grow in any climate, 365 days a year, regardless of temperature. The atmosphere is completely contained within the pod.”

Through a control system on every pod, the conditions inside the pod are fully controlled 24 hours a day. Growers can set up alerts if the pods need attention or the system can be accessed remotely from anywhere, allowing constant monitoring of their crops.

Land, Power, Water… GO!

Since the containers are a “plug and play” solution, all the client needs to provide is the land to put the container on with adequate power and water. In fact, Natzig stated, “We can drop a pod on location, and with adequate power and water, you can start operating the same day.” Naturally, the growers need to learn how to manage and control the technology, which is also offered by Micro Lab Farms, but with training customers can be producing very quickly.

As the business grows, Micro Labs makes it easy for the cultivation facility to grow with it. Each container is stackable, allowing for vertical growth potential and reducing the need for massive real estate investments. Making the unit even more environmentally-friendly, Natzig stated the company also offers an “off-grid” solution utilizing solar power and Tesla’s Powerwall.

Advantages of a Pod-style Grow

Besides being fast to setup, environmentally sound, and easy to scale, a pod-style growing environment offers other less obvious benefits.

  • Mitigates Failure Risk: With Micro Lab Containers growers have a smaller window of break-down. When there is a failure, only one pod is affected. Whereas, if a large grow sustains a major failure it could be disastrous.
  • Mitigates Cross Contamination: What happens in one pod does not happen in others. Each pod provides a secure, enclosed environment which allows a higher level of consistency, while providing necessary segregation for medical grade cannabis.

Northern California Recovery Efforts

Since the fires in Northern California, Natzig stated there’s been a paradigm shift in how those farmers grow their crops causing many to move from outdoor or greenhouse facilities to indoor, contained technology.

“We are clearing land, dropping pods, and putting larger complexes in place, which I think we’ll see this become common in Northern California based on projects we’re involved in,” Natzig said.

The environment in that area creates several challenges from susceptibility to fire, issues with pests, and pollution of the natural water ways. Pod technology creates an immediate improvement across the board, as the system includes the capability of capturing waste water, reclaiming it, and repurposing it.

“This is completely enclosed and totally sustainable,” Natzig commented, “a whole new way at looking at growing… at the end of the day, we are looking at making the world a better place.”

Clearly, pod technology for growers provides the benefits of scalability, control, and ultimately more yield. However, Natzig stated Micro Lab Farms is in a continuous state of evolution in technology. In the future, they hope to improve growing methods to improve yields and other create other efficiencies. Whether through more efficient lighting or HVAC systems, they are always looking for ways to reduce power consumption and make a more sustainable, higher-producing solution.

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