Advanced LEDs redefining green energy

December 19, 2012
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Nano Labs' intelligent lighting system allows automatic control of light tailored to specific growing conditions. (Courtesy of lija/Flickr.)
Nano Labs' intelligent lighting system allows automatic control of light tailored to specific growing conditions. (Courtesy of lija/Flickr.)
A new intelligent illumination system for agricultural greenhouses is designed to work with commercial LEDs to reduce energy consumption and improve processes contributing to plant growth.

The new system, developed by Nano Labs Corp., is designed to reduce energy consumption while at the same time providing improved control over artificial light used to stimulate photochemical activities for growth and the production of chlorophyll. By employing a pulse modulated chlorophyll fluorescence monitoring stage, the technology provides for the automatic control of light in relation to a whole range of greenhouse and plant conditions, including seasonal adjustments tailored to the type of vegetables and plants being illuminated.


"Through nanotechnology, we believe we're taking LEDs to another level for commercial greenhouses and the agriculture industry," said Bernardo Chavarria, president of Nano Labs. "Our technology offers better control in relation to light frequency (or wavelength), light quality, and pulse width of the light beams emitted by the LEDs, which hold important advantages over other existing artificial illumination sources such as fluorescent lamps, metal halide lamps, and high pressured sodium lamps. Our system offers higher efficiency in terms of energy consumption, quantum efficiency of the light produced, provides longer lifespan, controllable emission spectrum, safer handling, as well as improved disposal procedures."


In developing the technology, Nano Labs’ goal was to help world agriculture improve produce crop yields and quality, while maintaining low energy consumption and minimizing the environmental impacts, Chavaria explained.


The novel system for greenhouses has allowed Nano Labs to determine the effect of pulsed light, as opposed to simple continuous light, in a frequency range from 0.1Hz to 100 kHz, with red and blue LEDs on the chlorophyll fluorescence emission of tomato plants, demonstrating that it is possible to control and enhance plant growth at will.


This technology represents a way to make crop yield in agricultural greenhouses as efficient as possible while maintaining low energy consumption. The technology also aims to link two important industrial activities that would seem to have little relation: photonics and agriculture, opening new market opportunities for both.

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