As per numerous industry experts, the explosive development of vertical farming is mainly being spurred by the remarkable advancements that have been made in LED (light-emitting diode) technology in the last couple of years.
For several decades, indoor farming facilities depending on artificial light were very expensive to run. Therefore they only grew very profitable crops such as marijuana.
However, today LEDs have become affordable and competent that they are severely changing the economics of indoor cultivation. As per data from the DoE (Department of Energy), between 2010 and 2014 alone, the price of LED lights had decreased by 90% while their duration and efficacy; light produced per unit of energy almost doubled.
As a result, LEDs are making it viable for vertical farms to generate an ever-growing range of crops valuably. In this review, we will consider a couple of factors with regard to LED lights and vertical farming, including how these systems will shape the future of farming.
Some Of The Things You Should Learn About LED Lights And Vertical Farming Include:
LEDs Utilize a Visible Spectrum to Match a Plant’s Growth Cycle
The ground-breaking motive behind vertical farming LED lighting is that these systems utilize wavelengths on a noticeable spectrum to enhance crop growth.
When you see those pink-colored lights, it means that the lighting system has a small wavelength in-between the blue and red spectra to generate the pink hue.
Crops rely on blue light to promote leaf color and avert stretching; the red light waves, on the other hand, promote photosynthesis. LED lights are able to produce the specific wavelengths required to grow ample and healthy by mimicking the required natural setting.
Modern LED Lights Are Appropriate Vertical Farming
The current LED lights are the perfect solution for indoor vertical cultivation in several ways. This is because they are massively energy efficient; research has proven that LED lighting systems can be anyplace from 40% to 70% more power-efficient compared to systems that utilize HPS (high-pressure sodium) bulbs or MH (metal halide) bulbs.
What’s more, the lifespan of LED lights is way above its counterparts. Presently, typical LED bulbs have roughly 50,000 hours of usable life; when converted into years, this is roughly six years of nonstop use. In addition to these two massive benefits, there are a couple of other reasons why LED lights and vertical farming are a good match.
To maximize the usage of small spaces, many vertical cultivation facilities farm crops using a succession of stack grow trays that sometimes can be as many as a dozen layers high. For these crops to develop well, grow lights need to be installed between all crop levels.
However, conventional HPS and MH bulbs produce too much heat to suit these tight spaces. On the other hand, LEDs produce considerably less heat enabling them to be compactly fitted in vertical installations without causing harm to crops.
There’s a Motive as to Why Vertical Farming LEDs Are Pink
If you’ve looked at photos of contemporary vertical farms, you’ve perhaps realized that the facilities using LEDs seem to be flooded in a pink-purple glow. This distinctive coloration is connected to the general operational efficacy of deploying LED lights in vertical farms.
You might already know that the white portion of sunlight is a combination of various wavelengths in the noticeable light color spectrum (these are rainbow hues of blue, green, indigo, orange, purple, red, and yellow. However, you might not have realized that although crops need light to grow, they don’t need the illumination of all these wavelengths.
Research has proven that crops react better to blue and red wavelengths. This might be because the earliest crops developed millions of years ago in the sea. It was the blue and red wavelengths that could breach the water most effectively.
As a result, conventional cultivation lights such as HPS or MPH give crops more light spectrum than they actually need in their imitation of sunlight. Therefore they waste a lot of energy when producing these additional wavelengths.
However, LED bulbs have the option of dedicated wavelengths because they can produce only blue and red spectra. As a result, they efficiently eliminate unnecessary wavelengths and produce that distinct pink glow.
There Are Several Factors for Farmers to Consider When Selecting LED Lights
For would-be vertical farmers, picking an LED lighting system over conventional options is just the tip of the iceberg for most lighting-related decisions that require to be made. Within the LED world, there are a massive number of factors that growers need to keep in mind.
For instance, they need to consider what system kinds best suit the accessible space and size of their facility, the kinds of crops they intend to grow, and the degree of their operations. A couple of other substantial vendor-related aspects to consider include ease of installation, price use of the system, and warranty options.
LEDs Too Have Their Drawbacks
While LEDs are definitely well suited to vertical farming tasks and can offer numerous advantages, it’s vital to appreciate that LEDs aren’t free of problems.
For instance, the biggest drawback of LED systems is that establishment costs are much higher than those linked with traditional lighting options.
The energy efficacy of LEDs doesn’t imply that the entire cost is lower; however, it can take some time for farmers to appreciate the yield on their start-up investment.
Another impending drawback of LED bulbs is that the pink-purple color they produce can cover signs of crop damage from dietary deficiencies or pests and can also cause eye damage to growers if they don’t wear suitable eye protection.
Finally, some farmers are careful about LEDs because the tech is still relatively fresh, and its impacts on indoor farming have, as a result, not had the opportunity to be researched as intensively as other lighting kinds.
One of the key components that make vertical cultivation viable is the development of LEDs. Since LEDs are more affordable and available, the revolutionary idea of vertical cultivation becomes more realistic for people across the world.