Two student engineers have developed a new way to cultivate cannabis efficiently
The burgeoning cannabis industry may begin to take a new turn following the arrival of new technology for growing the product. As a sign of this, two students have taken on the task of creating a startup called AgriSmart Engineering (Pty) Ltd during the close of COVID-19 last year. The idea of the AgriSmart team is to be able to implement automated smart farming systems through a closed-loop hydroponics and aquaponics approach, which is more efficient and requires fewer resources. While the solution was initially developed for the arid climates of Africa, it has possibilities for implementation almost anywhere.
Constant Beckerling and Anlo van Wyk are looking to make good use of their experience with cannabis cultivation to create an innovative approach that will greatly help the cultivation of the plant. “There is a matrix of factors for cannabis cultivation that we consider. As an engineering startup, we are developing cultivation technologies for the African climate,” explains Beckerling. “For cannabis cultivation, South Africa faces shortcomings such as water stress and irregular electricity supply at a high cost. But the country also has strengths such as superior solar radiation and being one of the first countries that are in the process of commercializing cannabis.”
In order to implement this technology properly and achieve the desired results, two main components were provided. The first is a patented organic hydroponic nutrient, which greatly aids the hormonal growth cycle of the plants. Secondly, the implementation of LED grow lights by means of an automated environment that adapts to the photobiology of the plants.
The main idea is that the LED lighting devices should be dimmable so that it is easier to “implement an artificial intelligence algorithm that takes environmental inputs and, based on those inputs, controls what the lighting output should be at that specific time,” according to Van Wyk. There is no doubt that this technology can bring many benefits to the cultivation of cannabis, and, in times where the industry has achieved growth, its implementation can be very favorable.