CO2 GRO has been working with greenhouse growers and growers in other covered crop facilities directly for the past couple of years. Where trials have been set up, the results of these have often been shared publicly via our press releases.
Thus far, the success we deliver to customers has been well documented; Growers often see yields go up by almost 30% depending on their crop and region, and as a result, see profits rise by up to 100%.
We’ll talk a little bit more about the economics of how it all works for growers – but this year at Cultivate ‘22 in Ohio, Columbus, our team realized that CO2 GRO’s technology is of interest to those building greenhouses for growers as much as, if not more, as it is to growers themselves.
Our Corporate Development Manager Dil Vashi met with almost a dozen greenhouse builders, high-tech greenhouse architects, poly-greenhouse manufacturers, hoop house makers, and so on. They were all interested in learning more about CO2 GRO and were keen to incorporate our technology into new builds to help growers accelerate their payback period.
“Crops don’t need much heat – but they love CO2. A greenhouse of any kind is essentially a ‘covered grow facility’ and needs to ventilate to ensure heat can escape quickly without damaging the crop in any way. However, the need to ventilate makes it difficult to deliver much needed CO2 to the crops via gassing,” explained Dil.
Gassing has, thus far, been the only option for most growers who want to deliver more than atmospheric CO2 to their crops. It’s an inefficient method because when venting, much of the CO2 gas escapes into the atmosphere, making it difficult to get the results growers expect. With the cost of CO2 rising, growers are looking for new solutions.
CO2 GRO’s solution – which uses an aqueous CO2 solution to create a microfilm on crops to deliver the right amount of CO2 to them – is perfect. It also uses up to 95% less CO2 and very little energy, both of which keep the cost of deploying and operating CO2 GRO’s technology low.
Here’s a snapshot to help visualize the “typical protected grow economics”:
Current production (low-end): 10 kg/m²
Selling price: $1.50/kg
1 hectare annual production: 100,000 kg
1 hectare annual revenue: $150,000
1 hectare annual profit: $30,000
Increase revenue with CO2 GRO: $45,000 (+30%)
CO2 GRO annual operating cost: $15,000
Increase in profit with CO2 GRO: $30,000 (doubling profit)
For greenhouse builders, the numbers above are incredibly attractive. For them, the typical cost of building a covered crop facility is between $10 per square feet to $100 per square feet depending on the technologies being deployed and the complexity of the build. For most customers, the typical payback period for these facilities is between 5 to 10 years.
Adding our technology, they realize, adds at most $2 per square foot to the building cost for their customers – but the fact that we can potentially double their customer’s profits means the payback period can be cut in half.
This means their offering immediately becomes more attractive to prospective customers, and their estimates/forecasts can be reasonably backed by the data we’ve collected from trials we’ve been running over the past couple of years.
Based on our conversations at Cultivate ‘22, we see exciting partnerships on the horizon – helping us achieve our mission to reach more of the 600-billion sq. ft. of protected fruit & vegetable grow facilities quickly so they can increase yield by 30% and feed half a billion more people around the world.