Winning the Battle Against Mold: Cannabis Grower Sees Dramatically Healthier Plants and Cleaner Runoff
As a company that’s both cost conscious and socially conscious, Soulshine Cannabis had a plan for saving money while reducing its carbon footprint: recycling the condensate runoff. “If you collect all the moisture that comes off the plants through your HVAC system, you should be able to reuse 60% to 70% of it. A lot of growers just let that go down the drain,” says Soulshine’s lead grower, Frank Lane.
There was just one problem with Soulshine’s plan: the HVAC units were showing significant mold growth.“You opened them up and they were just covered with a nasty, moldy growth,” recalls Lane, whose company is based in Renton, Washington. “The coils were collecting pink, furry stuff.”
Soulshine had to have the air handlers professionally cleaned every six months, to the tune of $3,000 per cleaning. The company tried to combat the problem by installing needlepoint-based air purification units. “But they did absolutely zero,” Lane says. “The mold came right back after the cleanings.”
Now Soulshine has solved its mold problem — with Plasma Air’s technology. Wary of investing in another overhyped technology, the company began with a modest experiment, installing Plasma Air units in just two grow rooms. At three points over the course of a grow cycle, the company monitored plant samples from that room as well as samples in a room without the air purification units.
They tested plant samples from three locations within the grow rooms and the top, middle and bottom of the plants. They also compared mold growth in the air handlers. The results were dramatic. What the growers found in the experimental room:
Lane says he didn’t have to inspect the plants or the air handlers to know the Plasma Air units had made a huge difference. “When you opened the door to the Plasma Air room, it definitely had a fresher smell, compared to the stale, musty smell that the other rooms had.” When he did examine the plants, what he saw was “a healthier plant — a prettier flower all around.”
But the most dramatic difference was in the “substantially cleaner” runoff. “These units give us 200 gallons a day that we’re able to reuse and water the plants with, after it’s filtered to remove any metals,” Lane says. Soulshine is about to implement Plasma Air into the rest of its facility.
What’s more, the units will save the company significantly on maintenance costs because the HVAC units don’t need to be cleaned as often. As any cannabis grower knows, the margins in the business are slim. “In this industry, it all comes down to efficiency,” notes Lane. “You have to get your cost per gram as low as possible, and every little detail counts.”
Thanks to their Plasma Air units, Soulshine has been able to take its efficiency and product quality to a new level. Says Lane: “I would recommend Plasma Air to any indoor grower.”