September 18, 2018
The Latest LED Research We’re Excited About
Keeping up with the latest research in any industry can be a challenge, and ours isn’t an exception. Indoor agriculture is rapidly expanding and being adopted by more growers across the world. In response, there is more information than ever about indoor growing technology, including LED lights. To make your research easier, we are highlighting a few findings from the past couple of years. These studies offer interesting insights on what is exciting in LED research, what growers are looking for and potential next steps in the industry.
Perovskites: Self-Assembling Nanoparticles
We have briefly mentioned perovskites in previous blog posts, but we think this topic deserves a little more attention. A quick Google search of perovskites results in long scientific studies and complex chemical names. Put simply, these nanoparticles offer very high-powered conversion efficiency, making them favorable material for semiconductors. Furthermore, they represent high photoluminescence quantum yield and high color purity — exactly the qualities sought with LED technology.
Currently, LEDs are often made from chemicals like gallium arsenide and gallium phosphide; nanotechnology involving perovskites would make the construction and cost of LEDs easier and cheaper. While the technology is still in its earliest stages, this potential is an exciting prospect in the future of LED lights. If you’re interested in learning more about perovskites and LEDs, this article is a good place to start.
Improvements in Growing Lettuce with LED Lights
A 2017 study funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China explored in more depth how color spectrum affects lettuce growth. This is particularly important work, as more food growing is taking place indoors, and represents a shift in agriculture as a whole. This research highlights what methods are particularly effective for growing lettuce.
Some specific findings from this report include:
- Researchers discovered that yellow light alone inhibits lettuce growth.
- The best results were from mirroring natural light as accurately as possible. This means RYB-light, a combination of red, yellow, and blue light spectrums, encouraged the most growth. Under the irradiation of red-yellow-blue lights, the dry weights and leaf growth rate are 2–3 times as high as the sharp red-blue light.
- Red and blue LED lights were the most effective in supporting lettuce growth. Furthermore, the addition of green light to the typical red-blue LED light encouraged the development of biomass, resulting in larger lettuce plants.
California Study Supports LEDs for Cannabis Growers
A local case study conducted by the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) supported the use of LED lights in cannabis growing facilities. The independent study sought to determine if LEDs were a viable option for cultivators through the cannabis life cycle and the energy use required to support these facilities. They carefully monitored two similar flowering rooms.
SMUD concluded that LEDs can offer significant cost reduction when used appropriately. They highlighted 30 percent overall energy savings and a simple payback of 1.7 years after the initial LED installation. Additionally, the flowers grown under LED lights had much higher THC levels and an overall better quality.
In conclusion, SMUD found LED could benefit local growers and began offering an incentive for facilities to install LED lights.