Carbon Dioxide Delivery Technology Provides BlueOcean Market Advantage
BlueOcean NutraSciences Inc. (TSXV: BOC) (“BlueOcean”) announced that it is shifting focus toward carbon dioxide (CO2) grow-solutions gas infusion business to support industrial agricultural operations.
Its CO2 gas infusion technology dissolves CO2 into water to apply to plant leaves via foliar irrigation, sprays, mists and foggers. According to BlueOcean, applying dissolved CO2 enriched water to indoor plants can potentially save a greenhouse 50% of its CO2 gassing costs and further accelerate plant growth, with the potential to also increase outdoors grow as well.
In August 2017, the Company filed a provisional US Patent Trade Office CO2 foliar spray/irrigation patent which is fully owned by BlueOcean. The Company has tested and proven its technology with seven large CO2 gas infusers.
Plants absorb CO2 and sunlight to support photosynthesis. But CO2 absorption can be a rate limiting factor in industrial agriculture, especially in greenhouses where the current practice is to supplement atmospheric CO2 to support plant growth.
While this technology has potential to benefit all agricultural crops both indoors and outdoors, the cannabis market alone would benefit greatly because of its high level of intensity and the value of the crop. The global legal cannabis market by 2022 may reach $50B/y of which legal Canada and California grow markets may be $6B per annum each (Assume 3 million users with 1 gram per day at $10 per gram for each of Canada and California).
In October, BlueOcean announced the sale of it shrimp oil business to focus on its CO2 delivery technology. The rationale cited is that the shrimp oil market is difficult to penetrate while the agricultural market offers significant potential. Plunkett Research estimates the global retail food and agricultural market was $8 Trillion/y in 2016 of which $340 Billion/y is grown in greenhouses according to Agrilyst.
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The claims of BlueOcean’s patent filing are not public, and so, I can’t provide a thorough analysis of its workings but according to a BlueOcean press release of October 17, 2017 the technology delivers CO2 in water without bubbles, which is then administered as a spray to enter leaf stomata and support the photosynthetic pathway.
According to BlueOcean, and to my knowledge, there is no commercial competition dissolving CO2 into water without bubbles for indoor and outdoor irrigation. But this is a market with high potential because of the emergence precision agriculture and the need to further increase crop productivity.
According to Ontario Ministry of Agriculture Food & Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), greenhouses that gas CO2 to 1300 PPM levels will lose 60% of CO2 gassed before used by plants. Dissolved CO2 in water at 1300 PPM without bubbles stays in water. Obviously, it is not practical to supplement outdoor plants with CO2 as the gas would dissipate quickly. But BlueOcean is proposing to support CO2 delivery through irrigation.
Because the agricultural sector is highly competitive, growers are perpetually looking for new technologies to increase yield. I would anticipate that BlueOcean is targeting a business to business marketing approach. But the single most barrier to entry is to prove solid benefits to growers as the sector is immensely conservative in selecting technologies. We should anticipate hearing about pilot projects in various industries to prove the technology at that industrial scale. We should be looking for reduction in CO2 costs as well as increases in crop productivity.
Dr. Luc C. Duchesne is a Speaker and Author with a PhD in Biochemistry. With three decades of scientific and business experience, he has published ... <Read more about Dr. Luc Duchesne>