UbiQD: UbiGro luminescent film improving cannabis yield through spectral modification
“UbiGro® is well proven in cannabis production, so now it’s time to sell the product and get it into more greenhouses,”
says Eric Moody, Director of Sales at UbiQD. UbiQD is a nanotechnology company using quantum dots to produce luminescent films, with its UbiGro film developed specifically for greenhouse applications.
UbiGro is a luminescent greenhouse film that creates a layer of light in the greenhouse by converting blue and ultraviolet photons into longer wavelengths, namely red and orange. In doing so, UbiGro modifies the natural spectrum to resemble that of HPS lighting, which has proven superior in cannabis production. While UbiGro, orange in appearance, has an emission peak around 600 nm, the film emission includes a shoulder reaching 750 nm, thus including some far red.
According to Damon Hebert, Director of Agriculture Research at UbiQD, “UbiQD has more than 30 patents on our technology. While others could make a different luminescent film, we have patented our chemical processes for agricultural use and to use non-toxic materials. Other quantum dot systems are typically based on cadmium and lead, which are toxic.”
UbiGro demonstrates consistently positive results for cannabis production
Since agricultural research is the cornerstone of UbiQD’s development process, UbiQD works closely with growers to design trials and evaluate the impacts of UbiGro on crop production. In July 2020, UbiQD partnered with the Sacred Garden medical cannabis facility in Santa Fe, New Mexico, to install UbiGro films over 3,000 square feet. The trial area included 182 plants among four varieties. Throughout the ten-week trial, cannabis plants grown under UbiGro showed enhanced growth rates and an overall yield increase of 8%. Similarly, Little Hill Cultivators in Trinity Co., California, tested UbiGro over a 2,160-square foot area with 248 plants and two strains. The growers reported enhanced vegetative growth and a 16% increase in total dry yield after 10 weeks. As a final example, Frontier Farms in Hood River, Oregon, installed UbiGro in one of its 40 greenhouses and reported a 7.7% increase in wet yield.
Further details about case studies can be found on the UbiGro website.
UbiQD working to develop crop-, cultivar-specific films
According to Damon, UbiQD is experimenting with its technology to eventually provide growers with a range of options differing in color, quantum dot concentration, and form factor to develop crop- and cultivar-specific luminescent films.
“The goal is to balance the luminescent effect with the transmission of PAR light through the film. Our commercially available orange film is 85% transmissive to PAR photons, but when we double the quantum dot concentration, the transmission decreases to around 78%. We don’t want to lose too many PAR photons; we just want to convert blue and UV into red wavelengths,” explains Damon.
In 2021, UbiQD added a sales department to the company to drive UbiGro sales and installation throughout the greenhouse industry, both for cannabis and non-cannabis crops alike.