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Hydropolis » Blog » Grow lights in vertical farming
26.01.2023 Autor: Hydropolis

Grow lights in vertical farming

Hydropolis » Blog » Grow lights in vertical farming
Autor: Hydropolis

Light is crucial to plant growth. Choosing the right type of lighting is crucial to the success of indoor growing. What type of lights are best to use for vertical crop production?

Vertical farming man

Types of lighting

Vertical farming is a method of growing crops in stacked layers, typically in an indoor setting. One key aspect of vertical farming is the use of grow lights to provide the necessary light for plant growth. Grow lights are artificial lights that mimic natural sunlight, providing the plants with the necessary energy to photosynthesize and grow. They come in a variety of types, including LED, fluorescent, and high-intensity discharge (HID) lights. Each type has its own set of advantages and disadvantages, so it is important to choose the right one for your specific needs.

Different plants have different light requirements, and the color and intensity of the grow lights can affect their growth and yield. It is also important to consider the cost and energy efficiency of the lights, as well as the overall design and layout of the vertical farm.

CFL lighting

CFL fluorescent growing lamps are most used for growing leafy vegetables and herbs. Passing energy through the gas in the tube of the lamp leads to the production of light. Fluorescent lamps consume only 20 to 30% of the energy compared to traditional incandescent bulbs, with a long life. This is because this type of light does not generate additional heat. This type of lighting is more energy efficient compared to sodium lamps. One of the weaknesses associated with this type of lighting is the need to use a ballast to regulate the current and a stand, instead of an outlet, which generates additional costs. Unfortunately, the light output is quite low, which severely limits the use of the lamp. They work best as a supplement to natural light.

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Vertical farming plant

HPS and MH lighting

One of the most popular types of lighting for crops is HPS sodium and MH metal halide lamps. They have gained popularity due to their high-power output and low price. Combining these two types of lighting provides the plant with the full spectrum it needs to thrive. During the flowering stage, it is best to use an HPS lamp, because of its color range with red and green light, which stimulates the flowering and fruiting of plants. MH lamps, on the other hand, have a lot of blue light, which stimulates the vegetative growth of plants.

The major disadvantage of HPS lamps is that they produce a lot of heat. As a result, you need to keep the lights at an appropriate distance from the plants. In addition, they are much more expensive in terms of installation and maintenance. For this reason, HPS is not recommended for home use or on small farms.

Vertical farm lights

LED lighting

Another light source often used in isolated cultivation is LED lighting. With advances in technology, the cost of producing such lamps has decreased significantly. Thus, technology has become competitive.

Currently, LED lamps are one of the most energy-efficient solutions. This is due to the low operating temperature and low energy consumption compared to other light sources.

Plants ultraviolet

What conditions affect plant growth

1) Light intensity/Temperature – Temperature is a key factor affecting plant growth. Each plant has a range of acceptable temperatures. Typically, higher temperatures promote shoot growth, leaf expansion, and stem thickening.

Depending on the light intensity, the plant has room to grow due to the intensity of photosynthesis. When using artificial light, the amount that reaches the plant can be manipulated to achieve different growth paths.

2) Spectrum of light – The spectrum of light refers to the spectrum of sunlight, that is, the image of radiation distributed over different wavelengths. Colors thus depend on wavelengths:

• violet 380-430 nm,

• blue 430-500 nm,

• green 500-570 nm,

• yellow 570-620 nm,

• red 620-750 nm.

A new trend is the use of full-spectrum light, as it allows for fully simulated sunlight. Such lamps make it possible to change the intensity of the light and adjust the color temperature according tothe change of the “time” of day for plants. Using this solution makes it possible to achieve more efficient and economical cultivation.

3) Exposure time – Exposure time is the period during which plants are exposed to light. When growing with controlled environment system, the irradiation period can be easily manipulated to accelerate the growth or flowering phase.

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Why LED lighting is beneficial for vertical farming

What sets LED lights apart from the rest is that they can achieve any light spectrum depending on the plants being grown. Crop lighting is designed to create the right conditions for plants to carry out photosynthesis with the help of electromagnetic spectrum emissions. Selecting the right full-spectrum lighting can fully replace sunlight. Often such solutions can even surpass the quality of natural light. This is due to the ability to perfectly simulate the conditions needed by the plant for optimal growth, regardless of weather conditions or season.

Currently, LED lighting is the light source that has the most advantages when used with a controlled atmosphere system. It is also currently one of the most widely used sources in vertical agriculture. The wide application, low production, and maintenance costs of the lamps make them compare best with competing forms of lighting. When choosing the right lighting technology for indoor crops, what the plant needs most is considered. The atmosphere that is created at the growing site is supposed to reflect the conditions in nature as closely as possible.

Plants ultraviolet

Bottom line

In conclusion, grow lights are an essential component of vertical farming and choosing the right type can make a big difference in the success of your vertical farm. LED grow lights are a popular choice among vertical farmers due to their energy efficiency and wide range of spectra options. However, it’s important to consider the specific needs of your plants and the costs and benefits of different grow light types before making a decision.

When deciding on lighting for our vertical cultivation, it is worth doing some market discernment in order to choose the right supplier and reliable equipment. Regardless of the type of lighting, it is important to choose a proven and efficient spectrum. Depending on the plants being grown, different spectrums are required. It is equally important to be aware of the cultivation method used.

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