LEDs Can Replace Sunlight For Some Plants

grow plantsLED lighting has made huge strides in areas that extend well beyond illuminating spaces throughout Scottsdale businesses. While the main purpose of the technology is to provide a cost-effective alternative to older, short-lived, energy-hungry lighting options, LEDs have also proven useful for lighting areas that don’t have access to power grids. They also offer an option for low-cost, UV disinfection that requires little energy to power.

A team of researchers at Purdue University have also determined that LED lights in certain combinations can be as effective as sunlight for growing seeds. As this research continues, it could affect agriculture in Scottsdale and throughout the world.

From Concept To Seedlings

The researchers attempted to grow a number of different plant species indoors without any natural sunlight. The eventual goal is to speed production time of the plants, but the current incarnation of the experiment was to determine how useful the technology would be for the process in general.

The plants that were grown, according to the publication from Purdue Extension, were “ornamental seedlings”. While the outcome of the experiment at this point will assist in the commercial aspect of plant growth, it could make a huge difference for agriculture in the future as green space throughout Scottsdale continues to shrink and concrete development expands.

Two Growth Methods

The experiment was completed in two ways. First LEDs were used to supplement sunlight in a greenhouse. Then, the experiment was replicated with the same types of plants using only LEDS in an otherwise dark environment.

Positive Outcome

The result, according to Purdue, was actually more positive for the second trail than the original attempt where LEDs only supplemented sunlight. The resulting seedlings during the second trail were more compact, and that makes them easier to ship for sale. While it does not necessarily produce more viable plant specimens that will grow faster once they sprout, LEDs may be able to reduce growth time of the seedlings in the long run. Regardless, LED light alone was sufficient for photosynthesis.

Intense Lighting Impacts Production

The LEDs used for the experiments were both red and blue, and the two different colored bulbs are used to create the kind of light necessary for photosynthesis. The benefits of using LEDs in these experimental situations are very similar to the benefits of LEDs for commercial lighting in Scottsdale. The technology is cost effective because it lasts for up to 100,000 hours worth of use, and the bulbs require much less electricity to run them. If you consider that growing seedlings with natural sunlight doesn’t use much electricity at all, switching to a manmade method must be inexpensive in order to make the investment worth it.

Eventually, the experimentation will expand to other colors of LEDs as well as attempts to reduce the production times.

LED Future

Should these methods prove to be reliable, as it seems they have from the already successful attempts, the research can be expanded from simple flowers to vegetables and other foodstuffs. Eventually, some Scottsdale food growth can happen in warehouses and very small spaces without much access to sunlight. While the concentration is on consumer species now, the advancements using LED technology could eventually lead to significantly expanded food production.