Design is complete and site preparation is underway for construction of a massive medical marijuana greenhouse facility on 30 acres of leased land at the Edmonton International Airport, a Canadian firm has announced.
Aurora Cannabis Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Aurora Cannabis Enterprises in southern Alberta, claims it will be “the largest, most advanced and most automated cannabis production facility in the world.” It will be capable of producing in excess of 100,000 kilograms of high-quality, low-cost cannabis annually, the firm notes. Construction cost was not disclosed.
“Our objectives are clear: to build the largest production capacity, with the highest production quality and lowest production cost,” says Aurora President Steve Dobler P. Eng. He says Aurora is confident it will establish itself as an innovator and world leader in the cannabis sector.
The facility, named “Aurora Sky,” will have a total footprint of 787,537 sq ft, says Collin Richards, senior planner for the Planning and Development Dept. for Leduc County, Nisku, Alberta.
“The project is in the final stage of approval, awaiting a stamped engineer drawing related to lot grade to assure the building sits properly,” Richards says, adding that limited site prep is underway, including topsoil stripping and grading.
Among other team members, Larssen Ltd., Ontario, is providing greenhouse engineering; the Dutch KUBO Group will build the greenhouse; Verkade, also Dutch, will provide climate-control engineering, and Ontario-based Priva will design climate-control and process management.
In a Dec. 15 statement, Aurora Cannabis said modular design will be used for rapid construction and to minimize the risk of delays. Construction of the pre-engineered structure has been underway in the Netherlands since October 2016, with completion targeted for October 2017.
Aurora—one of 38 medical marijuana producers licensed by the federal Health Canada department—has selected for the facility a closed-system, hybrid-greenhouse concept of Dutch design. The company says the system will give it precision control over all critical environmental variables to ensure quality of production.
Some specialized design features include a forced-air, bottom-fed, positive-pressure grow facility that, for cannabis health and yield, will provide supplemental sunlight through a specialized glass roof, Aurora states. The facility will use the latest in anti-reflective and diffusion glass technologies, as well as heating and cooling systems for climate uniformity, balancing temperature, airflow and humidity to avoid vapor pressure deficits.
Neil Belot, Aurora’s chief brand officer, says the location “brings clear competitive advantages,” which include access to abundant and reliable low-cost power, as well as proximity to infrastructure and essential services, such as gas, water, sewage and public transportation. It also provides opportunities for exports of the product and plant genetics to legally authorized jurisdictions around the world.
Aurora operates a 55,200-sq-ft cannabis production facility in Mountain View County, Calif., about 170 miles south. The firm says it plans to expand the facility significantly.
By Johanna Knapschaefer - Engineering News Record/Jan. 18, 2017
Photo: Larssen Ltd.
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