New tech improves CO2 efficiency in greenhouses
January 7, 2013 By Brandi Cowen
Nano Labs Corp. has introduced automated technology to control the dynamics of carbon dioxide in the greenhouse.
Nano Labs reports that the new technology, which is designed to replace conventional manual control systems, could increase efficiencies in CO2 use by 20 per cent, improve crop yields by up to 25 per cent, and reduce energy consumption by up to 20 per cent.
“Benefits of the new automated technology depend on the type and size of the greenhouse crops, but our analysis shows significant improvements across the board for increased control efficiencies, crop yields, and energy savings for greenhouse farming and agriculture encompassing many billions of dollars of revenue in North America alone,” said Dr. Victor Castano, CEO of innovation at Nano Labs.
Castano said conventional manual CO2 enrichment in intensive greenhouse production is a routine procedure that nonetheless involves problematic elements, which Nano Labs’ innovations are designed to address.
“Since CO2 is normally obtained from the burning of carbon-based fuels such as natural gas, propane, and kerosene – or directly from tanks of pure CO2 – greenhouse technologists face a dilemma because each CO2 source has disadvantages. The burning of natural gas, propane or kerosene produces not only CO2, but heat that may have a localized effect on temperature and the incidence of plant disease. This is in addition to problems associated with the release of CO2 into the outside atmosphere. Accordingly, we have developed a technology for understanding on a case-by-case basis how CO2 behaves in greenhouses and then, how it can be controlled for better results,” Castano said.
Nano Labs’ automation employs external CO2, solar radiation, exterior temperature, wind speed, and humidity as input variables, creating a unique methodology for optimizing greenhouse operations and production in practically any climate condition with the aim of increasing plant yields, decreasing energy consumption, and reducing CO2emissions into the outside air. An important feature of the technology is that it can be adapted to specific types of plants and geographical locations.
The international target markets for the company’s technology include big greenhouse growers, manufactures of greenhouses, and farms that use CO2. The advantages include: computer control of the CO2in the greenhouses instead of an empirical, manual control; more efficient use of CO2; less energy consumption depending on size and type of crop; and more efficiency of the crop yield.
Nano Labs is currently in discussions with a leading agriculture co-op to begin pilot facility testing in the first quarter of the year.
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