VIDEO: Micron Waste Technologies Inc (CNSX:MWM) President talks deal with Aurora Cannabis Inc (TSE:ACB)
Micron Waste Technologies Inc (CNSX:MWM) (OTCMKTS:MICWF) (FRA:7FM2) President Alfred Wong discusses delivering their first cannabis waste digester to Aurora Cannabis Inc’s (TSE:ACB) (OTCMKTS:ACBFF) (FRA:21P) 55,200-square-foot production facility, Aurora Mountain. The digester is a patent-pending technology which manages food and plant waste on-site, and converts it into clean water. Alfred talks about the benefits and implications their waste digester provides to companies within the cannabis industry and their growing operations with Aurora Cannabis.
James West: Micron Waste is with me now. Alfred Wong, thanks for joining me.
Alfred Wong: It’s a pleasure to be here again.
James West: Alfred, we’ve talked about Micron Waste before, and you mentioned that you had done a deal with Aurora Cannabis and sold them a cannabis Micron Waste processor. Now, you’ve delivered it?
Alfred Wong: We’re actually about to deliver the first cannabis waste digester to Aurora Mountain, and that’s happening the end of June. And it’s essentially going to be the world’s first cannabis waste solution that not only takes care of the active pharmaceutical compounds within the waste streams, but also recycles the water back into their cultivation process, making it a complete closed-loop system.
James West: Okay. So the benefits, superficially, are somewhat obvious: less water consumption for the producer implies that there’ll be less of a resource hit on the water supply. In California, that’s obviously got tremendous implications. And then I guess, what are the other benefits? Like, why would a cannabis producer care about processing their waste through your device?
Alfred Wong: Well, you could kind of think of it from a corporate social responsibility angle. Many of the licensed producers out there are really focused on their branding, and to be able to think in the interests of public safety and environmental protection of how to mitigate the concerns of potential THC or CBD being discharged into the environment, or to neighbours, or to other facilities in the area.
James West: Okay. So then, besides we don’t want fish getting high as a result of being downstream from a marijuana plant, the savings in water: how significant is it?
Alfred Wong: Right now we don’t have the numbers yet. According to our calculations, we will have to know once we optimize and calibrate the system when we have it at Aurora Mountain. But coming from where our calculations have come into, we’re looking to save about at least a third of the water resources that’s used.
James West: Okay, so that could be substantial, especially, again, in California. So apart from cannabis, what other applications for this machine would there be?
Alfred Wong: Well, it’s interesting that you ask, because when we first started the company, our focus was on food waste. We took a slight detour because of the cannabis legalization; we saw it as an opportune time for us to grab onto it. The thing is, because cannabis cultivators, they’re well-kept lies, and there’s just been a tremendous amount of interest from LPs in Canada and south of the border to use our technology. And so we kind of saw it as a strategic move for us to use the revenues from the cannabis industry to help us with the massive scale-up required for industrial food waste processing. And we’re at the time where we now have a machine ready to go through Aurora Mountain, and to really establish that collaboration with Aurora to be able to help us with the scale-up.
James West: Okay. So in the food waste industry, like, I see, I go to the supermarket and I see them taking literally boxes and boxes of lettuce and vegetables off the shelf once they’ve reached a certain best-before date. So, what happens to that stuff currently?
Alfred Wong: Well, that stuff currently, depending on different jurisdictions, often it could end up in compost facilities, end up in biogas facilities, or worst of all, end up in landfills. What we’re trying to do is, we’re trying to establish a cost savings for our clients and an onsite processing system which will eliminate the cost of logistics, to be able to treat the organic waste onsite, and to have the effluent treated to a point where it can be safely discharged down the stream.
James West: How much does a machine cost?
Alfred Wong: Right now we don’t intend to sell the machine on a one-off basis; we intend to lease, or rent out, the machine so a client can immediately see cost savings. So at a current iteration, our product-protected cost is roughly around $100 per tonne of organic waste. It’s a good number; it’s not what we want to say as a ballpark number. Now, just to put that into perspective, a multinational hotel chain in Key West, Florida, has an organic waste processing costs around $1,300 per tonne. So even from that perspective, we already are able to establish significant cost savings for the customer.
Now, that’s not the same in all parts of North America. The same hotel chain in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, would be around $100 per tonne. So our goal with revenues from the cannabis industry to help us with the scale-up, is to essentially target our projected costs down to around $60 per tonne. And that would open us up significantly to industries not just in North America, but internationally as well.
James West: So that would give you a minimum average margin of 40 percent, then, I guess?
Alfred Wong: Correct.
James West: Interesting. Okay, so are there other applications for this machine and this process outside of organic materials?
Alfred Wong: We’ve actually had significant interest from other industries – lifestyle industry, agricultural industries, pharmaceutical industries for the issues of opiates in the water – and these are all things that, from a technical perspective, we can solve. Now, from a company perspective, the strategic opportunity available is really the cannabis industry, which is right now in the short term, everyone is kind of pounding on our doors to get our solution because we can take care of the active pharmaceutical compounds, as well as the food waste industry. There’s a significant food waste problem around the world.
The other industries, we probably hope to have partners in those industries so that we can leverage the expertise in those areas for us to move the technology forward.
James West: Hmm. What is the nature of the technological innovation, and what is sort of the IP profile around that?
Alfred Wong: Really, the key critical part is really the proprietary blend of microbes and enzymes that is used to target very specific portions of the organic waste. Every sort of organic waste profile is different, and it’s really taken a lot of effort to really look at what are the compounds and what are the characteristics of those to really develop that blend of enzymes and bacteria to target it.
Machinery-wise, there are machines are out there that can turn paddles, it has pumps and valves and all the things are great, and we put that all together in a nice package, in a container that’s ready to be shipped out to Aurora Mountain. But the key technological advantage is really on the proprietary blend of microbes and enzymes.
James West: Okay. Would these microbes and enzymes render the effluent – which I guess is more or less pure water coming out of this whole process?
Alfred Wong: Well, that’s what we’re working towards.
James West: Okay. So would the end result be considered an organic effluent in terms of, you know, having no chemical toxicity?
Alfred Wong: Well, there’s going to be two sort of waste streams that comes out of our system. One is clean gray water, which we discharge into a sewer or be recycled back into cultivation processes. The other part is the biosolids, and there we’ve been able to implement the same sort of the technical improvements that we’ve made in the cannabis space to use on the food waste, where the biosolids is now at a place where it can be used to make a better compost product or a better livestock feed supplement product.
James West: Okay, interesting. All right then, so do you have an expectation that Aurora is going to use a greater number of these machines, assuming, of course, they’re successful and do what they say they’re going to do, throughout their growing operations around the world?
Alfred Wong: That’s correct. So we’re working on the collaboration where once we prove our technology at Aurora Mountain, then we’re going to install more units at Aurora Sky and other facilities that Aurora has, and Aurora and its partners have.
James West: Wow. Okay, well, this is really interesting, and I see that we’re looking at the stock chart right now, that you’re starting to get uptake in the investor side. And so we’re certainly very interested in what you’ve accomplished so far, Alfred, so we wish you the best of luck, and we’re going to keep following you. We’ll have you back in due course. Thank you very much for joining me today.
Alfred Wong: Thank you. It’s a pleasure to be here.
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