Thursday, February 16, 2017

LED Equipped Plant Growth Chambers

plant growth chamber with LED lighting
Plant growth chamber with
overhead LED lighting
Percival Scientific
One of many facets of horticultural study focuses on the impact of light upon plant growth. With the commercial progress made over the recent several years in higher output LED lighting devices, it is now possible to control illumination levels and spectra in a manner not previously available on a practical level.

What is a light emitting diode, or LED? It is a semiconductor device that exhibits electroluminescence, the phenonmenon of light emitting from a material when a voltage is applied. The LED has been around for decades, but was restricted by the state of the art to very low power levels and limited spectral output. As with many solid state devices, innovation and research extended the performance envelope and reduced the cost of the devices to a point where LEDs are currently enjoying a surge of adoption as the light source of choice for many applications.

As far as plant growth research and commercial grow operations are concerned, the advent of high output LED lighting technology provides some notable benefits.

  • For commercial operations, there are cases where light alone has been responsible for delivering higher yields per plant and producing more marketable crops. 
  • LED light sources can be substantially more efficient than other light sources employed for plant growth. This reduction in energy use translates, of course, into a continuing stream of savings, but also reduces the first cost and size of supporting utility infrastructure. Past requirements for electric power, ventilation, or chilled water supply for plant growth chambers and equipment could be formidable. The reduction in energy usage due to more efficient lighting translates into an all around reduction in supporting utilities. 
  • Lower radiant heat emission from LED lighting means plants can be closer to their light source without incurring heat damage, delivering higher lighting intensity at the leaf surface. The lower radiant heat level from LED lighting assemblies, coupled with their comparatively compact form factor, allows placement of lighting modules or units all throughout the growing zone, an application flexibility not previously practical.
  • Lighting level and spectral control is better with LEDs. The devices can be grouped in many ways and are well suited to dimming control, a very cumbersome and costly option with older lighting packages.
For these and other substantial benefits, LEDs will likely be the lighting source of choice for plant growth studies and commercial operations for many years to come. There is more to learn. Share your plant growth chamber requirements and challenges with product application experts, combining your practical experience with their product application expertise to develop an effective solution.


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