An Integrated Approach to Energy-Efficient Cannabis Cultivation
Controlled environment agriculture (CEA) is experiencing a surge of interest and investment in North America and around the world. Interest in urban agriculture has been spurred by a confluence of factors, most notably the demographic shift leading to two-thirds of the world’s population becoming urbanized by 2050 and concerns about how this burgeoning populace will be sustainably fed. The 2017 market value for the industry was estimated at $47 billion with a compound annual growth rate of 3.4% estimated for the 2018–2023 period. There are a variety of reasons for such growth such as (1) growing consumer interest in year-round access to a wider variety of locally sourced food; (2) concerns about food security and safety; and (3) expansion of legal markets for medical and recreational use of cannabis. Heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC), lighting, and dehumidification represent the largest end-uses in these facilities. Considering its high cost, the energy use of indoor agriculture may not be advisable without the use of renewable energy and stacked growing trays. Hence, this talk targets the use of renewable sources to support the energy uses in indoor farms and to step forward towards an integrated CEA.