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You’ve heard of paint by numbers? Get ready for feed-the-world by numbers. Dutch agricultural company PlantLab wants to change almost everything you know about growing plants. Instead of outdoors, they want farms to be in skyscrapers, warehouses, or underground using hydroponics or other forms of controlled environments. Instead of sunlight they use red and blue LEDs. Water? They need just 10% of the traditional requirements. At every stage of their high tech process, PlantLab monitors thousands of details (163,830 reports per second!) with advanced sensors to create the perfect environment for each individual type of crop. In short, they create a high tech ‘plant paradise’.
Why use white light? Plants don’t want the green spectrum, and many of the wavelengths just heat the leaves and evaporate water. Instead PlantLab gives their plants light from red and blue LEDs, changing the spectrum for each different plant!
When grown outdoors plant photosynthesis is only about 9% efficient. With the correct balance of colored LED light, PlantLab has increased that efficiency to 12 or 15%, aiming for 18%. Double the efficiency means increased yield (or more likely equal yield with less energy). By keeping the plants in a contained system, PlantLab can also recycle evaporated water, which helps them grow crops using just one tenth the water as with traditional greenhouses.
Triple the production of traditional plants on just 10% of the water is amazing. Customized environments to maximize (or tailor) yield controlled by complex operating software? Also amazing. The reduction (or absence) of pesticides and the ability to place these agricultural facilities almost anywhere is amazing.
Originally posted by HenryTwoTimes
I got some friends in California, I wonder if this would work on what they grow.
Originally posted by metaldemon2000
Must be hot and humid in those facilities. Wonder if they will call it a dutch oven???
But in seriousness. Good find s&f
LED grow lights have much higher amount of USE-ABLE light per watt than HPS or MH indoor grow lights and they last longer - up to 10 years in fact. Now I am not saying that a 90W LED grow light can ever match the lumen output of a 400W HID bulb, however, they are equal when it comes to the amount of absorb-able light they emit. (See this article to learn why lumens don't matter). In addition, they produce a fraction of the heat of HID setups and therefore do not require cooling fans. The lights only use 20 to 30 percent of the electricity that HID lights use. Above all, LED grow lights do not require other equipment such as ballasts and reflectors like most grow lights do.
By definition, a lumen is a measurement of how bright (the power) a light is perceived by the human eye. The term lux is very similar to lumen in that it measures the intensity of light, however, it also takes into account the total area covered by a given number of lumens. For now, don't get bogged down by the technical side, just know that lux and lumen both measure the intensity of light to the human eye.
Unless the plants under your grow lights have eyes, lumens & lux make zero difference in how well your plants grow. Plants respond most efficiently to light that is beyond what humans can perceive so it does not necessarily matter how bright your light is. As a matter of fact, 80% or more of the light emitted by either the sun or from HID lights, goes unused by plants for photosynthesis. It is that portion of light that we humans see with our eyes and can register as being bright.
By the year 2050, nearly 80% of the earth's population will reside in urban centers. Applying the most conservative estimates to current demographic trends, the human population will increase by about 3 billion people during the interim. An estimated 109 hectares of new land (about 20% more land than is represented by the country of Brazil) will be needed to grow enough food to feed them, if traditional farming practices continue as they are practiced today. At present, throughout the world, over 80% of the land that is suitable for raising crops is in use (sources: FAO and NASA). Historically, some 15% of that has been laid waste by poor management practices. What can be done to avoid this impending disaster?
That's probably true, but when something is presenting as "revolutionizing farming" I do think about indoors farming, that is an extremely small percentage of the farming in the whole word.
Originally posted by speculativeoptimist
Still, the reduced electrical requirements of this tech verses other indoor garden tech is significantly less.