Innovations in Grow Lighting
Innovations in Grow Lighting by Chris Pieser
Innovations in grow lighting are paramount to the current and future success of CEA (Controlled Environmental Agriculture) and Greenhouse Supplemental Lighting. No single grow light is good for every single application; the term we use for this disparity is ‘Application Driven’.
To offer an example: single-point light sources like Plasma, Metal Halide and High Pressure Sodium are excellent for overhead grow lighting applications but not well suited for vertical farming. We would also advocate that Full-Spectrum Light-Nutrition is the holy grail of all grow lighting innovations and should be carefully considered when making your supplemental lighting decisions.
Defining Full-Spectrum Light-Nutrition
So, what exactly is Full-Spectrum Light-NutritionTM and why is it important to me as a grower? Well, in the beginning there was only Mother Nature and Natural Sunlight. Then man discovered that plants only use a specific blend of colors found in natural sunlight designated as *PAR (Photosynthetically Active Radiation) as illustrated in the Rainbow Colored Graph. Let’s use an analogy; if you equated the PAR Spectrum to Human Nutrition which of these spectra would be Optimum for Human Nutrition?
If you chose Plasma then you would receive the optimum nutritional spectrum for healthy human growth, just as it would be the optimum lighting spectrum for healthy plant growth. So what exactly is Plasma Grow Lighting? Simply stated it is a process very similar to how the sun generates light, energized gasses forming a plasma state. Plasma light is achieved without a filament which allows the spectrum and power output to last much longer than traditional light sources and here’s the kicker – there are NO LAMP CHANGES! Not only do you reduce your energy consumption (in comparison to 600w HID’s) you also reduce your annual operating costs for lamp replacements.
* MCCREE, K. J. The action spectrum, absorptance and quantum yield of photosynthesis in crop plants.
Agric. Meteorol. 9 (1972) 191-216.
Now let’s have a look at our 500w Plasma vs. 656w HPS Growth Comparison Test
** Protocols adopted from The Cornell Lettuce Handbook by Dr. Melissa Brechner, Dr. A.J. Both, CEA Staff.
For this comparison we utilized a 500w Chameleon® Plasma Grow Light (500w actual) to compare the growth characteristics to a 600w High Pressure Sodium Grow Light (656w actual). The day length was 24 hours allowing us to get as close to the recommended PPFD & DLI values as possible.
The rooting zone light level was 250 uMoles/ 21.60 DLI; all seeds were germinated under Plasma for consistency. For secondary growth the Plasma light level was 160 uMoles/ 13.82 DLI (plasma’s max for the 6’x6’ footprint) whereas the HPS Light level was closer to the protocol 200 uMoles/ 17.28 DLI. This is an exceptionally important footnote as it actually took less DLI from the plasma zone to outperform the HPS zone.
We maintained the grow room climate at 75F, 45% RH with CO2 levels at 500-750 ppm. Vertical airflow was 100 cfm with almost all of airborne Volatile Organic Compounds totally eliminated.
The Chameleon Plasma lettuce samples had an average of 111% more fresh weight than the HPS grown lettuce with a 34% chlorophyll increase (expressed as SPAD value) for 23% less power and heat. Plasma lettuce also had increased color pigmentation and produced a crisper, more flavorful product.
Watt-for-watt, plasma is capable of outperforming legacy grow lighting for less operating costs. It provides a more organic spectrum similar to natural sunlight, producing more aesthetically appealing plants with higher percentages of chlorophyll (and cannabinoids) allowing growers to offer better local products year round.
Chameleon® incorporated in 2007 after two years of research & development of a multi-color LED Grow Light capable of computer-programmable Plant Performance ProfilesTM. Having missed the LED Grow Light Patent by only a few months it encouraged them to look for other technologies. They discovered that the spectrum of light produced by LUXIM LEP (Light Emitting Plasma) was ideal for plant growth and released their first Plasma offering. A short time later Chameleon® innovated the first Plasma-LED Hybrid achieving an incredible 97 CRI at 5700k. Although too expensive to commercialize these units have been the backbone of their hybrid offerings. Chameleon® Plasma Grow Lighting is a green initiative company, reducing our carbon footprint, one energy efficient grow light at a time.
Date Published: 05/03/2016
Category: Grow Light, Grow Lights, Grow Lighting
Average Rating: 5 Stars
Product ID: 00001453
MSRP: $1395 USD
Availability: In Stock
Reviewer: Master Growers
Review Rating: 5 Stars
Date Published: 08/05/2016