NSERC PROJECT ON USE OF EXCESS PLANT BIOMASS

Intravision Group was in 2018 awarded a NSERC grant to research plants in cooperation with CESRF University of Guelph. The grant includes one PhD candidate and two MsC candidates. The candidates are presenting their own work on this and similar pages, and updates will follow. 

Presentation by: Connor Kiselchuk, Master Student, Controlled Environment Systems Research Facility

While a large effort is made to answer the questions that surround indoor plant production, an equally as important yet not as widely asked question remains after the harvest; “what to do with the parts of the plant that can’t be eaten?”. Historically, the “inedible organic biomass” has been discarded into a landfill or composted where it will degrade and release methane as a by-product into the atmosphere. The unmarketable/inedible stems, leaves and roots contain valuable elements such as nitrogen, phosphorus and carbon that we wish to recapture and utilize in the form of a marketable feedstock or as a supplementary product to a hydroponic solution. 

Within the Controlled Environment Systems Research Facility (CESRF), I look to answer this question in three parts: 

  1. I will collect “inedible biomass” from the Gravity Flow system and use that data to model waste streams under a much larger production regime ( i.e New Jersey or Welland Facility)

  2. I will explore dewatering requirements for the organic waste streams and try to better understand how the products could be reused and resold 

  3. I will assemble a prototype benchtop anaerobic digestor that will allow for carbon recapture in both solid and gas form and explore how to best utilise the treated substrate as a marketable feedstock, or for continuous rounds of crop production as a supplementary ingredient in a hydroponic solution.

The overall goal is to reduce the amount of carbon that leaves the system in the form of waste streams and to recommend practices that will ultimately reduce the number of consumables needed for dense plant production; that in-turn reduce operating costs.

Categories

R&D on Plants

Timeline

2018- 2020

Status

ongoing 

Location

University og

Guelph, Ontario

Canada

Partners

CERF University

of Guelph, and

TCA Technologies

© Intravision Group AS 2020