Increasing profits by enhancing plant growth and quality while combatting climate change
By Kevin Silva
• Increased levels of atmospheric CO2 gas enhance plant development
• Successful testing and Commercial Agreements demonstrate profound yield enhancements using CO2 GRO’s Foliar Spray that dissolves CO2 gas without bubbles
• CO2 Foliar Spray technology is attracting a wide range of agri-industry partnerships
Rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) caused by humans are often cast as the main culprit of climate change. However, CO2 has provided significant greening for up to half of Earth’s vegetated lands over the last 35 years, according to a recent report published in Nature Climate Change.
The study carried out by a team of 32 authors from 24 institutions across eight countries, utilized NASA surveillance and satellite technology to conclude that the greening represents an increase in leaves on plants and trees equivalent in area that is two times the continental United States.
“Results showed that increased CO2 levels explains 70 per cent of the greening effect,” said study co-author Ranga Myneni, a professor in the Department of Earth and Environment at Boston University.
For John Archibald and his son Aaron, who helm CO2 GRO Inc. (TSX.V: GROW, OTC:BLONF), the report underlines their entrepreneurial vision of turning CO2 pollutants into profit.
“CO2 GRO is all about revolutionizing plant growth using advanced CO2 technologies,” said John Archibald, the company’s CEO.
Translated, that means bigger and healthier plants grown faster proven to increase yields, profits, provide for better food security and counter the negative impacts of climate change, said Archibald.
If that sounds like making money out of thin air pollutants, it is.
“Our proven CO2 Foliar Spray system sharply enhances plant growth and value naturally. Its use can also lead to reduced use of some chemical pesticides, insecticides and fungicides based on recent scientific plant studies.” – Aaron Archibald, Vice President of Operations, CO2 GRO Inc.
Leaves create glucose energy from absorbed CO2 gas in their chloroplast cells when light photons trigger photosynthesis. This natural process converts CO2 drawn into plant leaf stomata from the air with water and nutrients tapped from the ground. Plant glucose is a six carbon (C6) sugar. It is the primary source of plant food, fiber and fuel for human life on Earth.
Numerous greenhouse studies have shown higher CO2 levels lead to an average of 33 per cent higher plant yields. Under 150 PPM of CO2 in greenhouses, plants die. A sealed greenhouse must therefore keep adding CO2 gas into greenhouses as plants consume it.
The 100-year challenge has been how to deliver more targeted levels of CO2 indoors safely and economically while minimizing the amount of CO2 escaping from porous greenhouses back into the atmosphere, said Archibald.
That’s the genesis of GRO’s patent-protected CO2 Foliar Spray technology. It is attracting a broad spectrum of agri-industry players growing everything from cannabis, hemp, lettuce, micro-greens, peppers, tomatoes, grapes and medical tobacco, ironically, for the protein extraction of human cancer and vaccine drugs.
GRO’s CO2 technologies are commercially proven, scalable and easily adaptable into existing irrigation systems, said Archibald.
“Our CO2 technologies work by transferring CO2 gas into water without bubbles and foliar spraying that non-bubble carbonated water across the entire plant leaf surface. The concentrated dissolved CO2 can then penetrate an entire leaf’s surface area naturally like nicotine dissolves through human skin naturally from a soluble nicotine patch,” he said.
Foliar spraying of water after it is mixed with nutrients and chemicals on plant leaves has been used for over 60 years by indoor and outdoor growers globally. However, until now, outdoor growers have not had any way to enhance plant CO2 gas uptake for bigger, faster and healthier plant growth.
As for indoor cultivation, the practice of CO2 gassing – pumping entire greenhouses with CO2 to reach about 1300 PPM — also leads to an average 60 per cent CO2 gas loss through ventilation and porosity (OMAFRA Greenhouse Study). Delivered compressed CO2 and hydrocarbon burned CO2 gas is not free.
These greenhouse CO2 gassing levels are also not ideal for worker health and safety. John Archibald said safer targeted CO2 Foliar Spray use indoors and outdoors has minimal dissolved CO2 gas loss once applied on leaf surfaces. The Foliar Spray system supercharges plant leaves by allowing dissolved CO2 to pass into chloroplast cells via direct leaf absorption within 90 seconds of application – the time it takes to fill a gas tank.
Archibald said using CO2 Foliar Spray has also shown dramatic plant resistance against E. coli, Fusarium wilt (common pathogens) and a significant reduction in aphid counts in the one trial for them.
“These results are consistent with the hypothesis that CO2 Foliar Spray use inhibits the growth of E. Coli, fungus and Powdery Mildew, as well as retards certain insect grazers,” said Dr. Matt Julius, GRO’s scientific advisor. He has conducted six individual experiments for CO2 GRO at St. Cloud State University for pathogen and pest resistance. He has also repeated the pathogen experiments at two separate commercial US cannabis greenhouses with similar results.
Our proven CO2 Foliar Spray system sharply enhancing plant growth and value naturally, can now lead to the reduction of some chemical pesticides, insecticides and fungicides for optimal plant growth with CO2 Foliar Spray use,” said Archibald.
Currently, the company’s CO2 cannabis growth trials are providing the equivalent value of one extra crop per year from larger bud weight and bud volume per plant. Outdoor cannabis grow-ops that produce just one crop per year should see an additional 25 per cent of bud weight.
Aaron Archibald, GRO’s Vice President of Operations, said the company spent much of 2018 conducting scientific and commercial grow trials indoors using CO2 Foliar Spray on high-value plants including cannabis, flowers, lettuce, micro greens and peppers.
“All trials led to major value improvements in plant size, quality and growth speed,” he said, adding the positive data was sufficient for GRO’s first two customers to sign long term commercial agreements without grow trials.
GRO’s 2019 pipeline of prospects includes U.S. hemp growers focused on CBD strains. They can now grow unlimited acres as the U.S. decriminalized hemp growth as of January 2019. From a sub-$1B market in 2018, retail CBD demand is forecast to reach $22B by 2022 (the Brightfield Group). 2022 legal retail cannabis markets are forecast to reach $50B-100B per year.
Other lower value global targets are the retail food market at $8 trillion per year and the retail non-food market at an estimated $1.2 trillion per year of which retail tobacco is at $760 billion and projections of floriculture at $100 billion by 2022.
As natives of the Niagara wine producing region in Ontario, the father and son duo also have some ‘grape expectations’ in 2019. “We are looking at how our CO2 Foliar Spray can improve vine yields and growth to maturity rates, as well as the taste of grape varieties,” said Aaron.
Investment analysts say GRO’s proven crop yield enhancements and revenue models are compelling for both growers and agri-industrial partners.
For the Archibalds, that’s only part of the story. The rest is about socially responsible investments to tackle climate change by reusing CO2 gas and enhancing natural plant based human health products and food security.