Dutch PlantLab Revolutionizes Farming: No Sunlight, No Windows, Less Water, Better Food

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posted on Aug, 14 2011 @ 01:55 PM
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I always enjoy innovations such as this and thought this would be good to share in the spirit of hope regarding food issues and potential shortages. The Dutch have developed a program that is super efficient and maximizes every single aspect of a plant and it's characteristics to provide a perfect plant, with optimum results. The yield is up to 3 times that of normal growing methods and uses only about 10% of the water by comparison, which is recycled as well.

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’.


Man these LED's are increasing in their uses in todays world, and I would not have thought that they could serve so effectively in plant growth. This technology makes sense, in that every aspect involved with a plant's growth is monitored and adjusted. The use of multi floored buildings adds to the practicality and efficiency of production output and availability.

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!

I would not have guessed that at all, however red and blue are the primaries with the most oscillation properties when combined, creating an energetic spectrum. I guess lumens are not so important in producing good plants, because the output on these would seem small. Of course hundreds combined makes a difference, but I still wonder the wattage and lumen count.


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.

Yea, but how do they taste? I reckon even if there is a distinct difference to the palette, the benefits will still be appreciated and needed.

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.

singularityhub.com...
Plant Lab
No pesticides? A great leap forward in terms of farming eh?


Peace,
spec
edit on 14-8-2011 by speculativeoptimist because: (no reason given)




posted on Aug, 14 2011 @ 02:08 PM
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Love this!

I have been researching on how to do just this. Highly automated and efficient farming designed to bring agriculture back into city folks' lives just makes me happy.

This tech could go a long way in improving the diets of the city and possibly free up a ton of farm land for new purposes.

Ahh I think I will just go off and day dream about this.

Star & Flag



posted on Aug, 14 2011 @ 02:28 PM
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Must be hot and humid in those facilities. Wonder if they will call it a dutch oven???

But in seriousness. Good find s&f



posted on Aug, 14 2011 @ 02:30 PM
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Nice find, thanks for the video.


+21 more 
posted on Aug, 14 2011 @ 02:37 PM
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I got some friends in California, I wonder if this would work on what they grow.



posted on Aug, 14 2011 @ 03:05 PM
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Great Find!

More food per acre, better food quality, non-dependent on changing weather conditions, ability to source locally, water saving, year round production. All excellent attributes and good science overall.

But with an estimated P/E of 50 there will never be enough investors willing to put their money into such a long-term non-government subsidized venture. Without the promise of short-term tax deferred profit this technology will be relegated to the greenhouse fringe in favor of wasteful, earth killing, mono-crop mega-farms which allow the manipulation of the global commodities market to maximize profit.



posted on Aug, 14 2011 @ 03:10 PM
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Originally posted by HenryTwoTimes
I got some friends in California, I wonder if this would work on what they grow.


Guess where this technology is being used most when thinking about the Netherlands and plants. One of the sure fire ways for police to round up indoor "greeneries" was the electic bill. Since a few years we have the advantage of LED. It's been in use for some time now...


Spectrabox PDF details

Peace
edit on 14-8-2011 by operation mindcrime because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 14 2011 @ 03:26 PM
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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


LEDs don't put off much heat at all, and they say they recycle the evaporated water so I'd imagine they have some sort of dehumidifier setup or something. Probably wouldn't really be that uncomfortable in there!

This is indeed great technology. Indoor grows used to be expensive and difficult. If you are using HPS or Metal Halide grow lamps you put out a ton of heat, suck a ton of energy, you have to wire up ballasts and sometimes even have your house re-wired to take the additional load.

With LEDs there is almost no heat, the energy requirements are way lower. The run-time on high output HPS or Metal Halide lamps is nothing compared to LEDs. You could probably grow indoors for two people's lifetimes with the same LEDs before they burn out. Instead of replacing bulbs every year or two depending on how often you run them.

It would be cool to have a solar array rigged up on the roof and exterior walls on one of these grow warehouses. It could be almost entirely self contained.



posted on Aug, 14 2011 @ 03:33 PM
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reply to post by James1982
 



You could probably grow indoors for two people's lifetimes with the same LEDs before they burn out.


Standard lifespan is 50.000 hours.


Peace
edit on 14-8-2011 by operation mindcrime because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 14 2011 @ 03:40 PM
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reply to post by MasterGemini
 



possibly free up a ton of farm land for new purposes.


Yes, less land that is destroyed by the aggressive and imbalanced approaches is an additional benefit I had not considered.

peace,
spec



posted on Aug, 14 2011 @ 03:41 PM
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reply to post by metaldemon2000
 



Must be hot and humid in those facilities.

As mentioned, these LED's do not put off much heat at all, so by comparison to a similar indoor setup,, the humidity would be significantly less I'd imagine. Thanks for the reply,

spec



posted on Aug, 14 2011 @ 03:42 PM
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reply to post by HenryTwoTimes
 

I was wondering that too, because the lumen output cannot compare the HPS's, but maybe since one can pack so many of these LEDs together, it is comparable or better. I will try and find some more info on the LEDs output.

peace,
spec



posted on Aug, 14 2011 @ 03:44 PM
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reply to post by twinmommy38
 


Sad but true, especially with the special interest ties and political support. Hopefully there can be significant profits attached to this also, so that investors can support it, making it become more widespread.

spec



posted on Aug, 14 2011 @ 03:52 PM
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Some more info on LED ability:

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.

www.myhydroponicgardening.com...
So the big picture when comparing electricity uptake and heat emissions between LEDs and HPS is significant.
Not all grow LEDs are the same, and it seems they need to at least be 1 watt each.
More on the value(or not) of lumens in growing plants:

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.

www.myhydroponicgardening.com...
Disclaimer -not supporting the specific related subject of this particular link


Guess it comes down to "usable" light in the spectrum as well as in quantity. Cool...

spec



posted on Aug, 14 2011 @ 04:00 PM
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I only see a problem with this new method, it needs electricity, and the I guess the LEDs would be just a small part of it, if they control so many parameters of the plant growth then they need several sensors and computers to analyse the data and make the necessary changes.

It would be interesting if we had numbers to compare the output with how much it costs in people, equipment and electricity.



posted on Aug, 14 2011 @ 04:04 PM
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reply to post by speculativeoptimist
 


Wonderful find. ...I want to try hydroponics this winter for fresh veggies and herbs - this is a great place to start!

S&F&



posted on Aug, 14 2011 @ 04:05 PM
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reply to post by ArMaP
 


Perhaps the supplementation of solar tech could balance out the consumption factor. If they put these in warehouses, or multiple floored buildings, maybe they could put solar panels atop them, and on the sides.. Still, the reduced electrical requirements of this tech verses other indoor garden tech is significantly less.

spec



posted on Aug, 14 2011 @ 04:09 PM
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Also, in a related link is the idea of vertical gardening. If the sides of these structures were solar paneled too, it would support lower electrical consumption.



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?

www.verticalfarm.com...

Combining these 2 innovations could have some impressive results.

spec



posted on Aug, 14 2011 @ 04:10 PM
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Originally posted by speculativeoptimist
Still, the reduced electrical requirements of this tech verses other indoor garden tech is significantly less.
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.



posted on Aug, 14 2011 @ 04:21 PM
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reply to post by ArMaP
 

At some point, it may actually make more sense to put up a pole barn or other simplistic building, instead of deciding to try and plow, till and fertilize a plot of land.
If a village or company is trying to bring food to a desolate area, they could choose to apply traditional(in the sense of today's beefed up measures) farming, or construct a minimal building with this Dutch method.
Also, I realize it's not as simple as just throwing up a shack and putting LED's inside. There is obviously more involved with hardware and such.

I'm like you, I would like to see more # comparisons on the extent of application potential.

spec





 
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