CFN Media Sits Down with Hero’s Blackbox CEO Marc Kasabasic to Discuss the Company’s Unique Technology
April 1st, 2022
App, Exclusive, News, Top Story
Hero Technologies Inc. (OTC: HENC) is focused on building a vertically integrated cannabis operation in Michigan that will expand to become a multi-state operation. The company is currently in the midst of the licensing process in Michigan. In anticipation of receiving the appropriate licenses, Hero has been laying the groundwork for construction of a large cultivation facility on a 120 acre site in Pulaski, Michigan.
The operation is based on cutting edge technologies aimed at maximizing crop yield and quality while minimizing cost and waste. Hero’s majority-owned subsidiary, Blackbox Systems and Technologies, is leading the effort in Michigan and the Blackbox aeroponic cultivation system lies at the heart of the company’s strategy.
CFN sat down with Blackbox CEO and Founder Marc Kasabasic to discuss the company’s technology, the sustainable and efficient design of the facility, and Hero’s strategy to start in Michigan and branch out from there.
- What is your background and what inspired you to create Blackbox?
My background is in Engineering and Architecture, specializing in large-scale structural infrastructure testing. I have a BSCE in Civil Engineering and a BSARCH in Architecture. I then got my MSCE in Structural Engineering at Lawrence Technological University (LTU) in Southfield MI. I am currently a research project engineer at LTU in the Center for Innovation Material Research (CIMR) specializing in large-scale testing. I am responsible for 22,000 square feet of high-tech testing facilities. I have a strong background in environmental and industrial control systems. I was a carpenter for years during high-school and college years, so not only do I like to test things, I like to build them as well.
In 2010, Michigan opened up for medial cannabis and my partner Hank Pielack and I co-founded the Blackbox Project. We started this as a hobby, but quickly grew into a high-tech research project to solve some industry problems. We wanted a system that was the most precise delivery system for plants. This system needed to solve the structural component issue with aeroponic systems to allow large-growing plants to thrive in an artificial environment.
We recognized a number of industry problems, including excess waste, use of pesticides, and an excessive amount of labor force required to perform simple daily tasks. The aeroponic system reduces the amount of labor needed to operate the system, thus reducing the labor staff.
Hank and I personally use the cannabis plant and would promote our clean, sustainable, and earth friendly product over any other system on the market.
- Please explain to our audience what the Blackbox aeroponics growing method is, what makes it unique, and how it is a benefit to the overall operation.
Our Blackbox system has really evolved over the past 12 years of tinkering with and improving the design. We’ve been honing the system to provide the most precise and beneficial mix of nutrients, air, and water simultaneously. In general, aeroponics technologies have come a long way, and we have customized what’s available to fit our own concepts.
The Blackbox system allows the plants to grow in air, using zero media. This in turn results in sustainable, efficient, and economic practices by eliminating a raw material. Also, by not using a media, pesticides are also eliminated due to the sterile growing environment. The system is a closed-loop system, meaning the water used is recaptured, reconditioned and sent back to the plants. BlackBox is modular for any scaled project, from acres of plants down to homegrown setups.
- What is a sun chamber, and how does it differ from a greenhouse? What are the benefits?
The Ceres SunChamber™ is more than a greenhouse. It is a holistic system – a completely sealed grow environment characterized by its light and warmth harvesting and climate control capabilities. It is an all inclusive design of the perfect growing environment for all components needed A-Z.
The combination of a glass ceiling that allows high light-transmittance with insulated metal walls ensure energy efficiency and maximum climate control over the growing environment. Sealed cannabis greenhouses also increase biosecurity and do not allow odors to escape or leak out. SunChambers are high-performance sealed greenhouse systems that maintain the Vapor Pressure Deficit (VPD) required to cultivate superior cannabis plants.
Cooling and heating a cannabis greenhouse can often be expensive. Blackbox leverages the technology of the Ceres EcoLoop™ geothermal HVAC system, a renewable energy source that utilizes the earth’s steady temperature to create precise, desired climates in each of the SunChambers.
The SunChambers also allow smaller batches of up to 500 plants at a time. Biosecurity is maintained by isolation of each SunChamber if any problems were to happen in the facility. Large open greenhouses are susceptible to infestation, wiping out the entire crop if left un-checked.
- How does your grow technology support sustainability?
Ceres SunChambers are 7 times more efficient than an indoor cultivation operation, and 3.5 times more efficient than standard greenhouses. So energy use is greatly decreased. Then the Blackbox aeroponics systems adds another layer of sustainability. Zero media waste, zero pesticides, ultra-low precise water usage… it all adds up to the most sustainable, lowest impact, most efficient design we can implement.
- Why did you choose to begin your multi-state strategy in Michigan, and what is the status of your license application there?
Michigan is the home of both of the Blackbox founders. Hank and I grew up in Dunham Hills in Hartland, Michigan. We have deep-rooted family and business ties in the construction trades throughout the region. We love it here, so why wouldn’t we start our business here?
But Michigan has a number of other things going for it as well. It is one of the largest and fastest growing legal cannabis markets in the country. The regulatory environment is very friendly to a business like ours. The Michigan Regulatory Agency (MRA) does a great job shepherding the industry in the state. And centrally-located Michigan would be an ideal spot for a national distribution operation should the US government make cannabis federally legal.
Blackbox and Hero Technologies have completed and been approved by MRA through step 1 (of a 2-step process) for both recreational and medial cannabis operations. We have also completed application and been approved by the local Pulaski Township Board for 3 Class-C Medical cannabis cultivation licenses.
- Why is Pulaski a good location for your operations?
Pulaski is located in south/central Michigan and can service the entire state of Michigan with ease. Also, Pulaski Township has placed a cap on any new medical cannabis licenses which limits local competition. Add in the ideal location for a national distribution center and we really like where we are.
- Is there anything else you would like to share with potential investors?
Stick with us if you know our story, and join in if you are finding out about us for the first time! We are very excited to get the project off the ground and realize the fruits of our 12 years of research and development.
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This article was published by CFN Enterprises Inc. (OTCQB: CNFN), owner and operator of CFN Media, the industry’s leading agency and digital financial media network dedicated to the burgeoning CBD and legal cannabis industries. Call +1 (833) 420-CNFN for more information.
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