RavenQuest BioMed Inc (CNSX:RQB)(OTCMKTS:RVVQF) (FRA:1IT) CEO George Robinson will tell you when asked if the orbital garden is a gimmick, the short answer is – No. Our films team went to Edmonton where they are headquartered to see for ourselves and we came away with the same answer: It’s not a gimmick at all. Upon reflection, this shouldn’t really be a surprise as they are heavily invested and partnered with bio-science as illustrated with their partnership with McGill University. It becomes even more obvious listening to George and his attention to detail. There was simply too much to include in our video; for example that they use batteries in conjunction with their generators so as to never have fluctuations in the voltage going to their systems which he believes will give many of their components an extra 3-5 years of life. With all of that said, it was still a bit of a jolt to the system looking at the orbital garden which have a very science-fiction vibe to them. It took a while to get used to seeing only top buds slowing rotating in their golden cylinders.
By growing just the “top buds” Raven Quest believes they are saving effort and capital in the long run with their orbital garden. Why expend more energy to grow an entire plant where a lot of it isn’t even used? That is the driving theory behind why they chose to develop and refine their orbital gardens. They literally take a clone and let it root, then put it right to flower and skip an entire step in the traditional growing process. By doing this, along with other protocol, they are able to reduce their time-table to about 9.5 weeks all-in; from clipping to putting it in bags to ship out.
George Robinson: When you’ve been a consultant to the space, and then you start building your own facilities – there’s some unfair advantages that come into play. Because you have seen all the things that work and don’t work, and we can make sure that we do things differently.
Welcome to Orbital Gardening 2.0…all we grow is the top bud. Really what it comes down to is the complete building design and the climate control design. We only use 21 people in our facility to grow 7,000 kg and our gardens are proving what we said for the last 3 years…It will be the technology, the innovation to move forward.
James West: How many square feet George?
George Robinson: 35,500 square feet. We have this capacity out here to use another 4 and half acres of land to expand the facility. This is 1,200 tonnes of cooling in front of you. Normally what people will have is 1000s of square feet outside of all these big air conditioning units. We put everything inside because now, the only thing we’re actually dealing with is the temperature differential, so we have no losses in the system which has allowed us to turn down all the size of the components by 30%. So that whole climate control system, these are the only components that sit outside.
This is our air-handling area. We have the airflow coming out of the room and air flow going into the room. And now I can control that temperature and remove that humidity really quickly out of the room. We also use bi-polar ionization. We’re actually killing any air-born pathogen or anything that lies on the surface.
James West: Very cool.
George Robinson: We capture all our condensate, if we wanted to, take all that water that comes off of when we strip the moisture out of the room. We could re-take that water, purify it, and reuse it in the garden.
So most people would put in a 40 or 60 kw generator, but we put in a 350 kw’s, and that 350 kw can support almost 60% of the building load, to make sure even if utility goes down, we can still make sure the plants are protected.
James West: what’s your cost per kw/h here.
George Robinson: it sits in around 6.5 cents per kw/h.
We laid out the design and the specification for this whole building control system. We don’t have to have anyone sitting there – that system tells us when some parameter of the building is not exactly where we want it.
The artificial intelligence looks at this, and an hour before we actually turn on the grow lights its starts exercising a fast acting valves, it can grab that moisture, it can grab that heat right away.
Water room is the most secure room in the facility, because this is our single point of failure that could actually do damage to our plant material. That is an 18,000 litre tank. That is the source of water for every single garden in our facility. So as it refills, we actually have a heating and cooling element in it, so we can maintain it at exactly the temperature that we want.
You know, we don’t reverse osmosis our water – it cleans it so purely that if the water sits at any length of time – algae starts to grow. So for us to reduce all that risk exposure we deal with it through the nutrient mix that we use.
We have 6 different cultivars in here. So instead of having to use fertilizers and nutrients, we introduce a specific microbe that stresses the plant. The first result is a bigger root structure which gets more nutrients more quicker into the plant. The second thing it can do – a 100% kill rate on 10 of the biggest fugisides and pathogens that are presented to cannabis plants.
We call these rooted clippings, so they’re clipped here, we take ‘em over and we have these dutch doors – from the clipping room, into the propagation room. That will go into flower – right away.
And you can see they’re in these 3×3 cubes already – that means they’re ready to go into the garden.
James West: Whoa
George Robinson: Well James, welcome to orbital gardening 2.0
James West: Wow.
I’m just shocked.
George Robinson: Really what I want you to do is feel the density of this bud structure, as you can see there’s nothing to waste in this plant material.
James West: So, 8 and a half weeks from transplant from the clipping to in here, so it’s basically a direct flower –
George Robinson: Boom!
So we only feed it once a day. This is the whole nutrient requirement for a full grow cycle. That’s for 3 gardens, that’s 24 lbs. It’s turning at roughly at about 1 turn per hour.
What I think I should do right now is let Dr. Simerjeet Kaur really tell you what’s going on.
Simerjeet Kaur, PHD, Plant Breeder and Geneticist: You are seeing here 2 forces acting on the plants. Geotropism through the rotation, and phototropism from this light. The horomonal balance, instead of just being from the tip of the shoot or tip of the root, because of the geotropism, they are now collected all over the plant. And that’s why we are having so much cell-division happening in this area.
James West: So you mount them in the trays on that table in the propagation room, then you bring a row of trays in and …
George Robinson: we came up with our design to just slide it right in, lock it in place…make it super simple, super efficient for people.
So this is a compostable bag, in here you just throw it into your green bins and away it goes and it’ll compost, you don’t even have to worry about that.
James West: (laughs) holy smokes, some big buds.
George Robinson: James, welcome to the Harter Drying Solutions. As you can see in here this is a pharmaceutical-grade dryer. If you and I were to get locked up in here – 4 hours later we’d be nothing but skin and bones, we’d have no moisture left in us.
James West: We’d be raisins.
George Robinson: We do this in 30 hours, but here’s the catch, we only do it at 17 degrees. So that makes sure that we’re managing the vapor pressure-curve of the terpenes. We can pull out that moisture in 30 hours without any decline of the plant material. There’s a cap-ex hit to this which is a little bit more, but because you can turn the product quicker and get it to market quicker, we don’t have any issues in those particular areas. So the cap-ex is actually worth the spend.
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