Can LEDs Help Greenhouses Grow More With Less?

UK researchers are exploring how LEDs affect plant growth and how they may allow for more efficient stimulation of photosynthesis. You may think this a result of the improved energy efficiency and reliable illumination provided by LEDs, but there’s more to this research than meets the human eye. Instead, the type light that can be produced by LEDs is especially useful to plants, which drive photosynthesis in response to red light.

Stockbridge greenhouse

Glasshouse LEDs save greenhouse gasses | Electronics Weekly

“It is not necessarily the efficacy of LEDs that is the advantage, as the high-pressure sodium (HPS) lamps currently used can deliver up to 150 lm/W, but the ability save power by only delivering wavelengths useful to plants – green, for example, reflects off plants. Strockbridge Technology Centre (STC) is a plant growing research lab in Yorkshire. ‘The most efficient way to drive photosynthesis is red light. You need a small amount of blue and in some situations you need far-red light,’ STC science director Dr Martin McPherson told Electronics Weekly.”

When compared to greenhouse lighting such as HPS, LEDs may prove to be a better alternative for their efficiency as well as their cooler burning temperature, however, it’s still unclear how LEDs will perform on commercial growing levels—at least until technology improves.

2 thoughts on “Can LEDs Help Greenhouses Grow More With Less?

  1. Richard says on March 2, 2015 at 3:05 am

    I suppose I should have suspected that LED lights would have some effect on the science of hydroponics. There is an enormous indoor lettuce farm for examplethe largest of its kind in the worldproduces 10,000 heads a day in less space than a single American football field. UsingLED bulbs developed by GE, designed to produce the optimal wavelength of light that plants crave, the farmer is able to accelerate plant growth by 250 percent.

  2. Amy says on March 3, 2015 at 3:31 am

    It won’t come as a surprise to discover that consumers all over the developed world are increasingly demanding seasonal vegetables all year round, even when the local climate simply doesn’t allow that kind of growth. Particularly sought-after are tomatoes, cucumbers, and leaf vegetables. Which is why greenhouse farming has become a major factor in the food supply of the developed world. So how do you minimize the energy it takes to grow these crops. One obvious answer is to convert greenhouses from the traditional incandescent lighting, to more energy-efficient LEDs.

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