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Cannabis sweeps the nation
As the Cannabis revolution swings across America, states going legal are raking in huge tax revenue, and citizens are finally getting access to medical and recreational benefits of Cannabis production. The momentum is slowing moving towards oil (concentrates) which provide easier access to deliver the benefits via vape pens, edibles, and concentrates for medical purposes (CBD’s). With the political aspects aside, this review will list the aspects of producing Cannabis oil for profit.
Supply versus demand
The mystique of the Cannabis industry has lots of people jumping into the mix, without knowledge of running a business, or the nuances of running a business to make money. A few are becoming millionaires, but most are breaking even, or losing money. Just look at the number of licenses issued in Colorado, and how supply has effected pricing. Business Insider reports that the price of wholesale marijuana has dropped by half in about a year.
Plan a startup strategy
What differentiates those making money, and those losing money ?
Those who make money set out with a plan, a budget, funding, and a team to deliver that plan. If you set out with detailed goals and a strategy, you’re already ahead of most of the groups in the industry. Failure to plan, is a plan for failure.
You need to have a startup plan, growth, and exit plan. If you plan and play your cards right, you’ll end up with a successful business.
Information is paramount to profit
In the planning stages, it’s critical to become informed. Read, research, inquire, and educate yourself about what you are getting into.
Read: Study online information.
Research: Online studies, scientific research papers, pricing models and consumer demand.
Inquire: Existing successful operations, and those that are not, and why they are not.
Educate: Sometimes the key to success is a very fine line, stack the deck in your favor.
Determine your business path to success
Select the part of the industry, that interests you the most, and makes the most money.
While this may be easier said than done, select a industry segment that you will enjoy working in, and develop it.
If you are vertically integrated, and have lots of funding, you can run an entire operation from cultivation to retail sales. The savvy types will focus on one targeted segment and make money with that segment, then grow by acquisition.
Start with oil extraction
Who makes the most money in the oil industry ? When compared to the hydrocarbon oil industry, it is the refiners.
In the Cannabis industry, the most value-added is extracting and refining the botanical oil.
Why is Cannabis oil extraction potentially the most profitable and least vulnerable to industry pitfalls ?
While supply and demand will ultimately determine overall industry income, as a Cannabis oil refinery lab (including post processing), you have the flexibility to determine downstream products. With a extraction system, you can make live resin, vape pens, concentrates, shatter, etc. And like other industries, you can tailor the output according to the market demand. Cultivators and retails do not have such flexibility. The ability to morph according to customer demand is an important factor to profitability.
What is the best method of cultivation of Cannabis to make a methodical profit ?
The best profit model would be a indoor grow, with staggered starting and harvest cycles, on a weekly basis. This will not only utilize your energy, personnel, and extraction lab more efficiently, but also allows you to tailor downstream product offerings to consumer demand, while providing a fresh product at all times. While outdoor grows are great, they are only once a year. The stress at harvest season is tremendous, and all that supply drives prices down, at that time of year.
FogPonics is the best kept secret in the Cannabis industry
Developed by a LA entrepreneur, the vertical grow tower system provides a weekly harvest, optimizing energy, personnel, and production specifically targeting oil production. On a five week grow out cycle, FogPonics is designed for oil production with fast growth varieties like Cinderella.
Oil extraction and post production
As oil is extracted from botanicals, the end product is a substance commonly referred to as crude oil. While this material can be used for dabs, it is more likely to go into post processing for refining downstream into concentrates or other products. It is typical for a extraction system to have a complimentary post processing lab, to refine and separate the oil for consumer products.
Strategy for success
Determining your actual business model will depend on your goals and the market in your area, but we recommend the following:
1. Start a extraction facility with post-processing lab.
2. If supply is an issue, vertically integrate with a FogPonics vertical grow facility.
3. Tailor your output products to demand.
4. Start or acquire your own vape pen brand, or develop products with your concentrates.
Distributorships Available For CO2 Extraction Systems for Cannabis and Hemp Industry
If you are considering entering the equipment side of the botanicals cannabis or hemp industry, we are now making available a distributor opportunity. This allows you to license a territory for a prepaid distributor fee (on a yearly basis).
Yearly State and Territory Distributor Fees Paid in Advance:
Infinity Supercritical is now offering the Build Your Own Brand licensing opportunity.
If you have a machine shop, or would like to brand your own Supercritical CO2 Fluid Extraction System for botanicals, Infinity is offering the following:
With the Build Your Own Brand licensing opportunity, you can customize the frame design and colors. The Infinity frame is completely modular and bolt-together for rapid reconfiguration.
Modular Frame: Our Caster Beam frame allows you to configure your extraction equipment in many ways.
Machining Parts: We can provide you with all the parts, or custom make parts for your system with our Vertical Milling Machine or our Omax Waterjet. We’ve already made the huge investment in the machines, now you have the opportunity to use them for your business.
Quality Extracts: The Infinity Supercritical extraction system can provide extractions from any botanicals and provides a superior product.
Web Page Design and SEO Optimization: You can buy a page on our website, or build your own website to advertising your product. We also have a page optimizing SEO algorithm using Filemaker Database which can point tens of thousands of page links to your site.
Cannabis Search Engine Series Starting a Cannabis Business
PDF Publications Search Engine This real-time PDF document search/retrieve search engine forms dynamic search engine lists and results using Filemaker. Search engine displays results with both text and a image field of the .pdf page.
Search Complete. Starting a Cannabis Business search was updated in real-time via Filemaker on:
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Title: Sustainable Production of Cannabinoids with Supercritical Carbon Dioxide Technologies
The goal of this thesis was to develop an alternative extraction method of natural compounds of interest from plant material. In specific, the goal was to avoid using organic solvents as much as possible due to residual solvents problems, low selectivity, high energy consumption, and environmental worries.
The alternative method consists of using supercritical fluid CO2 to extract compounds from plant material. There are numerous advantages to doing SFE with CO2, including CO2 being nonflammable, relatively inert, inexpensive, the ease of removal of the solvent, the plant material being non- hazardous afterwards, the different solubility of compounds depending on the temperature and pressure of the fluid, and low critical temperature allowing for extraction of heat- sensitive materials without damage.
The downsides to using CO2 include it not being a great solvent for larger polar molecules and requiring the stream to always be under high pressure which lead to higher initial investment costs. The higher initial investment costs can be outweighed though by how cheap CO2 is and the fewer steps needed for purification. The focus of the thesis is on the separation of phytocannabinoids (or cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant) from the plant material. There are over 60 different phytocannabinoids with the most commons ones being (-)-D9- tetrahydrocannabinol (D9- THC), cannabidiol (CBD), cannabinol (CBN), cannabichromene CBC), cannabigerol (CBG) and tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV). This study will focus on D9-THC, CBN, CBD, and CBG. Each of these compounds have their own medicinal effects, from pain relief and nausea relief with D9- THC, a sedative effect with CBN, convulsion, anxiety, and inflammation relief with CBD, and analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects with CBG.
The isolation of these compounds from the plant material is of high interest due to the drawbacks of smoking cannabis and different medicinal effects of each compound.
The production method proposed for cannabinoids with purities higher than 95% involves a pre- treatment step, where the acid forms of the cannabinoids are changed to the neutral ones due to better solubility, extraction using SFE with CO2, winterization of the extract to remove waxes, and then purification through centrifugal partition chromatography (CPC).
The cannabis plant strain used in this thesis is Bedrocan which contains around 18% D9- THC and less than 1% of other cannabinoids, thus the main focus will be on extraction of the D9-THC. CBN can be obtained through specific storage conditions to degrade the D9-THC into CBN. CBD and CBG can be obtained using the same process on different cannabis strains with higher concentrations of other cannabinoids.
CO2 becomes a supercritical fluid at temperatures higher than 31.1 degrees C and pressures higher than 1070 psi. This means that the CO2 can only be described as a fluid as it is indistinguishable between a gas or liquid. This is important because it allows for the tuning of the solvent. By changing the pressure or temperature supercritical CO2 can become more or less liquid-like with increasing or decreasing solvency power. CPC is similar to other chromatography techniques. It uses two immiscible liquid phases and uses a centrifugal field to force the mobile phase through the stationary phase.
Each compound has different interactions with these liquids and thus migrate through the phases at different speeds. Thus, they can be collected at the end of the column in relatively pure amounts. Decarboxylation of D -9-THC is necessary due to the acidic form found in the cannabis plant. Usually this occurs during combustion when smoking the plant, but when it comes to medicinal products it will likely need to be transformed without this step. The usual method for large scale decarboxylation involves organic solvents, basic aqueous solutions, and lots of energy, thus alternatives are preferred. One alternative is to pre-treat the cannabis plant before extraction.
When heating the plant material between 90 and 140 degrees C, the decarboxylation reaction from D9- THCA to its neutral form happens at near 100% selectivity. Since the process happens in a solid-state reaction, which leads to a catalytic process, the process could be estimated with a pseudo first order process. This reaction tends to happen at a lower activation energy than normally assumed possibly due to aliphatic and aromatic acids present as other plant constituents in cannabis. While adding strong acids seem to encourage this reaction and could decrease the activation energy, it causes toxic waste from the process which may be bad for other compounds of interest.
The solubility of D9-THC in supercritical CO2 was found for different temperatures and pressures. Below 1914 psi and 40 degrees C, the solubility could not accurately be recorded due to low solubility. In general, the solubility increases with pressure at all temperatures. At about 2175 psi, the solubility is found to decrease with increasing temperature, and above that pressure the solubility is found to increase with increasing temperature.
Some experimental values for D9-THC in supercritical CO2 from the data collected. At 42 degrees C, changing the pressure from 1914 psi to 3640 psi increased the solubility from by 4 times (0.20 to 0.83). At 54 degrees C, changing the pressure from 2030 psi to 3408 psi increased the solubility by around 6 times (0.33 to 1.99). At 61 degrees C, changing the pressure from 1987 psi to 3190 psi increased the solubility increased the solubility by about 7.3 times (0.32 to 2.33). At 72 degrees C, changing the pressure from 2117 psi to 3190 psi increased the solubility about 3 times (0.98 to 2.95).
At most of the temperatures and pressures evaluated in this study the constants created a good predictability for the solubility. The exception being at above 72 degrees C and low pressures.
The solubility of CBN in supercritical CO2 was found for different temperatures and pressures. In general, the solubility increases with pressure at all temperatures, but not as much as with D9-THC. Interestingly, the highest solubility was found at 53 degrees C.
The article concludes that CBN solubility in supercritical CO2 is different enough from D -9-THC that they could be extracted separately to isolate both compounds. This would include a two step extraction, there the plant material is first extracted at 53 degrees C and 1885 psi for CBN and then 2900 psi at the same temperature for D-9-THC.
The solubility of CBG in supercritical CO2 was found for different temperatures and pressures. In general, the solubility increases with pressure at all temperatures, but by a much less magnitude than the D9-THC. Also, the highest solubility was found at the highest temperature.
The article concludes that the solubility trends for CBG are similar to D9-THC, but the actual values are different enough between the two to extract them separately or through fractionation.
The solubility of CBD in supercritical CO2 was found for different temperatures and pressures. In general, the solubility increases with pressure at all temperatures. The difference in solubility between pressures is similar to CBN. Interestingly, the highest solubility occurs at 53 degrees C, like CBN.
The article concludes that CBD’s solubility trends are more similar to CBN and that they are different enough to D9-THC to be extracted separately.
When comparing all four cannabinoids, the difference in solubility can come from a couple things. This includes their melting point (with solid cannabinoids showing better solubility than liquid ones) and their chemical structures (due to CO2 having a higher affinity for non-polar compounds). Overall, CBN has the highest solubility in supercritical CO2. All of the solubility of the different cannabinoids in supercritical CO2 is on the order of 1-2g per kg of CO2 which place them at high enough for SFE.
An example is described to show how one could extract the majority of D-9-THC without other cannabinoids. In a cannabis plant containing 5% D9-THC and 6% CBD (Bediol strain), a first step extraction at ~1885 psi and 42 degrees C would extract 26 percentage of the THC and all of the CBD.
While the CBD would need to be purified, a large amount of the THC could be collected at very pure amounts using this step extraction method.
It was determined that particle size distribution of the plant material had little influence on extraction yields, and thus weren’t investigated.
The highest total yield (extract weight divided by starting weight) was 23.3 percentage and was found at the highest pressure and lowest temperature, 3335 psi and 40 degrees C respectively. This didn’t vary much from the differences in pressure, with 21 percentage being achieved as low as 2175 psi and is believed to be because the extraction was already being ran to completion. This was at flow rates of CO2 of 6 kg per hour for 3 hours. In terms of THC yield, the best yield was found at lower temperatures (40 degrees C).
In terms of time for extraction (at 2610 psi and 6 kg per hour of CO2), the maximum D9- THC yield was found at around 3.75 hours at 40 degrees C. This yield was 98 percentage. Compared to at 50 degrees C, where the maximum yield was reached at about 1.5 hours, however a maximum yield of 74 percentage is reached. During the extraction time, the D9-THC yield increases linearly in time at the same rate between the two temperatures. In comparison to hexane extraction, the D9-THC yields are about the same (85.3 percentage for CO2 and 85.9 percentage for hexane). The other cannabinoid yields were slightly higher with CO2.
The other cannabinoids were found to have the highest yields at 40 degrees C when varying temperature at 2610 psi. All three other cannabinoid yields decrease with increasing pressure at 40 degrees C, while D9-THC’s yield was stable over pressure ranges. This implies that the two step extraction method at 40 degrees C (first at 2175 psi and then at 2900 psi) could first extract the other cannabinoids and then extract the D9-THC, allowing for a more pure extract of D9-THC. This is consistent with what was stated before.
A winterization step could be avoided to remove waxes by having a two stage separator, where the CO2 to decompressed to a medium pressure to precipitate the waxes, followed by another decompression step to recover the cannabinoids. The exact temperatures and pressures would have to be tuned to the solubility of the cannabinoids in the CO2, but should be feasible. In this thesis, a winterization step was included with hexane. This involves dissolving the extract in hexane and freezing it to precipitate out the waxes.
The extraction curves found in this paper determined that the solvent to feed ratio required for extraction of D9-THC is about 0.7g of D9-THC extract per kg of CO2. This is the same for both 40 and 50 degrees C.
It was found that using CO2 as the stationary phase and a water/ethanol mixture as the mobile phase, that no adequate separation could be achieved. Same with CO2 as the stationary phase and a water/methanol mixture as the mobile phase. There are hopes to use supercritical CO2 as the stationary phase, but no commercial CPC machine can handle the pressures required for such a machine.
With the CO2 SFE process outlined, around 80 percentage of the organic solvents can be recycled and 96 percentage of the CO2 can be recycled. Also, the plant matrix after extraction is clean of organic solvent and can be disposed of much easier than with the hydrocarbon extraction. This favors the CO2 SFE process in relation to the environmental impact of the process.
In conclusion CO2 SFE can be used to extract cannabinoids from cannabis plant material. It is heavily favored economically, environmentally, and regulation wise compared to hydrocarbon extraction. The total amount of process steps is also lower than hydrocarbon extraction. It can produce 85 percentage D9-THC extract after a winterization step, which can be further purified. One method of this is CPC which can produce +99 percentage D9-THC. The cost can be largely reduced by having a lower initial cost of cannabis.
Read the PDF: 20170608-infinity-supercritical-california-cannabis
The California recreational sales has begun. The current strategy is to put up cultivation, and then start extraction after harvest. While this may seem intuitively correct, it is the worst strategy for cash-flow.
Start-up Cultivation Means Delayed Cash-flow
If you start with cultivation, you’re looking at 9 -12 months to begin getting cash-flow (in the process from building the grow-house to mature harvest). The time might be a bit better for pure indoor grow, but still a long time regardless. This means you will need a large amount of initial capital outlay, to build facilities, and during the grow. This is valuable time that can be better utilized.
Start with Extraction of Oil for Cash-flow
The profit-makers out in the Cannabis industry have realized that while you can make money cultivating (which everybody is doing), faster access to cash-flow is from the value-added sector, of running extraction machines to produce live resin, shatter, crumb, concentrates for edibles, and vape- pen oil.
Don’t have your own Cannabis product ? Then check with your state regulations and purchase trim or other products from producers who do not have extraction facilities, and then work the value-added space. $50 a pound trim has the potential to get you more than $200 of oil extract. That’s a minimum of four times the value of the trim, and great cash-flow. Of course you will still need to look into the extraction license and other regulations, but this gets you started faster, and with less capital outlay.
Equity Versus Cash-flow
This type strategy gets you faster cash-flow and the all-important sales. This builds equity faster, and requires less initial capital. Starting with just a licensed extraction facility can provide you with a springboard of capital which you can leverage into your own indoor grow, or expanding extraction machinery and capabilities.
Infinity is now developing a modular winterizing system. The continuous flow system will take input fluid (ethanol and botanical oil) will provide a process to solidify the wax, and then remove the wax from the fluid. The system will initially be designed for 1-5 L per hour flow, and will be modular. The system will give botanical oil processors (CO2, BHO, Ethanol, and other extraction methods) a system to quickly winterize oil. The time savings are huge. Traditional winterizing methods require putting fluid into a freezer for 24-48 hours. This process will reduce that to an hour or less.
Ever wonder who is making any money in the cannabis industry ? Here are some easy steps to follow, to lose money quickly.
1. Have a Outdoor Grow:
Produce one crop per year, susceptible to pests, theft, Mother Nature, drought, and seasonal price drops at harvest time due to over supply, this is the number one way to lose money. Currently, the market is saturated with too much supply, which drives prices even lower. Consider alternatives like a indoor grow, and with a variety that allows multiple harvests every 6 weeks. Focus on a plant strain that has a short maturity and produces good quality oil extracts. Let the outdoor cultivators sell the flower, and lose money. Buy the trim, and process into oil. Lab test to be sure it’s pesticide free.
2. Do What Everybody Else is Doing:
Run with the herd, and they’ll steer you into oblivion. The best way to lose money, in a market saturated with product which drives prices lower, is to do the same thing everybody else is. Complementary, don’t combine resources with your local producers, since you may get a comparative advantage by combining forces to get better discounts for supplies, or combining funds to purchase a extractor. Just selling the flower won’t make you money. Buy the trim, and process into oil extract for up to a 4-to-1 value added.
3. Make BHO Extractions:
BHO is dangerous to process with, since the solvent is typically butane or propane (which is very explosive). Closed loop hydrocarbons produce huge amounts of static electricity, and the resulting corona discharge will make an explosion. Some of the solvent will make it into the product, which does not have desirable medical effects for the buyer (nose burn and heart pains). Even worse, it does not have a good shelf-life. You need to sell and use the extract within a few weeks, or it goes bad. It’s cheap to produce, and is very typical of the low-end junk extract you’ll find in the market.
4. Buy an Expensive Supercritical CO2 Extraction Machine:
Like a Waters or Apeks. They run great, but you’ll spend so much time paying them off, the ROI in a saturated market will unpleasantly surprise you. Plus, since they’re automated, expect a release of CO2 anytime there’s a software issue. Great machines, at a huge price. Opt for other fantastic alternatives in the CO2 space like Infinity Supercritical. Don’t buy on promised yield, buy on the ability to extract. If you only have a 2 percent oil in your trim, how can you get a 17 percent yield ? Don’t buy claims, buy results.
5. Don’t Buy a Industrial Supercritical CO2 Extraction Machine at a Reasonable Price:
There are plenty of great machines, at a price that is affordable, with great payback, and produce a superior product. Instead of a automated machine, opt for a semi- automated machine which gives you more control over your processing extract, like Infinity Supercritical. Buy a machine with a proven lab and testing development program, and one that can process fast, using technology instead of increasing flow. Buy a machine that has a good collection efficiency, or you’ll be cleaning the pump every day.
6. Don’t Produce a Custom Extract:
The best way to lose money is to just sell crude oil from your extractor. If you want to leave the herd behind, develop your own custom extract recipe and product. Develop a brand, and provide free samples to dispensaries. Build that reputation for quality and taste. Be sure to lab certify and test all incoming botanicals, especially trim. Test for pesticides (you want pesticide free) and oil content. Base your buying price on those two factors. Low oil content = low price. Target trim around $50 a pound for 8 percent oil content.
7. Don’t Put in a FogPonics Indoor Grow System:
Other than growing outdoors, to lose the most amount of money, start a indoor grow which doesn’t use aeroponics, and uses lots of HID lights, not optimized for plant per square foot. The relatively new kid on the block is FogPonics. This highly efficient grow system is based on optimizing grow conditions for healthy roots and canopy, while minimizing worker interaction, light power, HVAC power, and nutrient costs. It has the best wattage per gram output anywhere. Using a fast growing strain like Cinderella, increases production to a 5-6 week rotation to maximize oil output.
9. Don’t Process Extract From Trim:
Just sell the raw trim, to lose the most amount of money. If you process trim for vape pen or concentrate extract with Supercritical CO2 (which has a long shelf life), you may be able to make 4 times return on the purchase of the trim per pound. In some areas, the comparative advantage is even higher than 400 percent. Again, be sure to lab test for pesticides and available oil. Base your buy price on the available oil.
10. Don’t Research, Educate, and Make Yourself More Knowledgeable:
The best way to lose more money is to be uninformed. Don’t ask questions. Don’t ask dumb questions. Don’t seek better and more efficient ways to make money, while spending less time doing it. Don’t have a plan or strategy. Don’t have a backup plan when something doesn’t work. Don’t have a methodology. Try not to innovate and try not be creative. When you’re following the herd, all you have to do is follow, it’s simple. On the flip-side, you have nothing to lose by educating yourself. And everything to gain.
11. Listen to Media and your Competitors who Provide False Information:
Listen to the media who receives misinformation from the source, and all of the other misinformation that the herd puts out there. The surest way to kill competition, is to lead them down the path of losing money. Keep in mind there is no regulation to bad data, poor sources, and false information, and lies in the industry. Be keenly aware of Social Media Trolls, which many manufacturers use to boost false-positive reviews of equipment.
The best way to lose money in the Hemp and Cannabis industry is to do what everyone else is doing. The herd isn’t making any money, why should you ?If you don’t have a niche market, find one. If you don’t have a niche product, make one. If you don’t have a niche method, create one. If not, you’re guaranteed to lose money.
The Legacy Factory System: The invention of the steam engine and era of steam power made the cottage industry virtually extinct. Factories drew a programmed workforce out of the hinterlands to produce assembly line products. Fast forward a few hundred years and we now have the mega-factory. Focus on one product, and do it well, over and over again.
In our rush to optimize labor, streamline production, and discipline efficiency, we have made the modern factory a one-trick pony. Similar to the demise of a one variety banana plant, we’ve completely eroded flexibility and the ability to change by evolution. It’s this anti-evolutionary process that trades variety for efficiency in doing one thing perfectly well. For a dimensionally stable market and product, this may be a profitable model. But for a changing market, the huge infrastructure costs can prohibit a profit for a long time as investment is recouped. And if the product changes, even more investment is needed to accommodate it.
From a labor standpoint, it’s like fulfilling boxes at Amazon, or building iPhones in China. It’s miserable and boring for workers. While robots can do much of the repetitive work to replace humans, they are capital intensive and require power. What if there was a system that blended interesting work, with efficiency, economy of scale, and the chameleon-like responsiveness to a ever changing market ?
The Micro Factory:
The concept of a micro factory is to have a continuous production machine, that is operated by one or two people, that can efficiently build a market driven product. It a pure distributed build model, multiple geographically centric micro factories can produce one cohesive product. This is done to some effect on a large scale with Boeing and Airbus, where they have parts produced around the world to build a airliner, but they’re so geographically disjointed, it doesn’t make sense.
For our micro factory, we’ll look at the Spinning Disc Reactor (SDR). The unique process capabilities of the SDR make it a great candidate for our needs. It is a one-stop shop that can extract, blend, mix, heat, cool, purify, process, and mold materials together. For the operator, it removes the repetitiveness and boredom out of assembly line mentality, and instills the unique problem solving and multitasking functions into a build process.
The SDR can be used as a botanical oil extraction machine one week, producing silver nano particles the next, and even switch to making Graphene after that. Because it uses water as a carrier, it is continuous feed and flow.
The next production revolution will be the Spinning Disc Reactor. Responsive to market demand and profit potential.
Summary: In our one-size-fits all mega factory business model, there is a niche for a market and profit responsive method for production called the micro factory. The micro factory uses a Spinning Disc Reactor which requires minimal human capital (both labor and infrastructure) to build a continuously produced product, that is responsive to market needs. As a market-centric production machine, the micro factory cohesively blends human nature with machines, while still making money. In the era of high-technology, low cost renewable raw materials such as activated carbon, hemp, and bamboo can produce profitable production such as Quantum Dots, silver nano-particles, and graphene.