First purpose-built greenhouse to rise in Alberta

Friday, August 26, 2016

Aurora Cannabis Inc. has completed the design, engineering and tender process for phase one of a 600,000-square-foot, fully automated greenhouse, set for construction in Alberta.

Aurora has appointed Thomas Larssen Greenhouse Engineers, a veteran project developer, and has finalized several contracts with global leaders in greenhouse technologies. It has also enlisted renowned Dutch greenhouse builder KUBO and system and component providers Verkade, PDI, PB Tech, Codema and PRIVA.

The expansion project, which will span over 10 times the size of a CFL football field, consists of three phases that will each measure 200,000 square feet. The facility is believed to be the world’s largest and only purpose-built greenhouse, which is being designed specifically for the cultivation of medical-grade cannabis. Following completion of all three phases, the facility is estimated to produce over 70,000 kg of cannabis annually.

The new facility is slated to be operational by the summer of 2017 and fully completed and in production by the summer of 2018. This expansion project demonstrates the peak of Dutch greenhouse technology and design philosophy and is set to deliver more combined automation, efficiency, good manufacturing practices and sustainability features in one place than any other currently operational greenhouse in the world.

The design includes advanced double anti-reflective self-cleaning glass with snow melting systems, condensate recovery, diffusion technologies for increased light penetration and shadow elimination for superior whole plant health and yield, forced-air, over-pressurized and fully-sealed structure to minimize disease pressures and provide precision climate control. The post-processing facilities allow minimal handling of flowers and specialized environments that optimize the drying and curing process.

The facility is automated where possible during the production cycle, including conveyors and robotically controlled grow benches and plant spacing; a component-based irrigation system designed to provide highly optimized cultivar-specific nutrient recipes; remote plant monitoring from vegetative growth through to harvest; trimming, curing, extraction, packaging and labeling systems designed for maximum production efficiency and quality control.

“We are excited to be part of the team delivering Aurora’s newest world-class cannabis production facility,” said Thomas Larssen, president of Larssen Engineering, in a press release. “The facility will truly be state-of-the-art. When finished, this facility will set the standard for what is possible by implementing the latest and most advanced growing technologies, as every phase of the cultivation process has been studied with respect to what technologies are available.”

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