The introduction of cheaper LED modules that are adjusted to particular wavelengths is revolutionising the horticulture sector. Researchers have found out that plants are likely to respond more favourably to given light wavelengths specifically to blue spectra, which range from 400 to 500 nm and to red spectra which range from 600 to 700 nm.
Field testing of predetermined spectrum LED lighting designs used in commercial scale greenhouses and smaller research sites, revealed significant improvements in the growth of plants when compared to plants grown under conventional conditions and lighting.
Observed favourable results include substantially faster and increased germination rates, and faster growth of plant roots. Plants were also observed to flower more abundantly, leading to shortening plant of cycles, higher and better quality of harvests.
The use of LED in growing plants is less expensive. They can be controlled more easily and use less power. LED can reduce power expenses because it generates less heat than a conventional lighting device. This means the plants require less watering and less cooling. Cooler and more compact, they can be placed a lot closer to plants, which allow the evaluation of multi-tier production.
Meanwhile, this new lighting form significantly increases greenhouse capacity significantly. Another advantage, though less obvious, include fertilization requirements and greater resiliency against diseases and pests.
LED lighting technology makes hydroponics and greenhouse plant production more attractive for both small and large producers because it offers great opportunities for reducing cost which consequently increases profits. .
Leading the way towards the eventual main streaming of LED is STC or Stockbridge Technology Centre, a multi-interest horticultural research facility in the UK which has established the LED4crops project in cooperation with and Cambridge-HOK and Philips Lighting.
The project is slated to conduct experiments on propagating crops and plants under LED lighting. The centre believes that the use of LEDs will play a crucial role people’s efforts to produce food in a manner that is more environmentally friendly whenever there is need for it.
To provide a convincing example, in Japan, one of the countries which lack arable land and where a great portion of the population crowds cities and other urban centres, LED lighting is being used to increase indoor production and establish plant factories capable of operating whole year round.