NANOTECHNOLOGY SOLUTIONS TO GREENHOUSE AND URBAN AGRICULTURE
Conventional farming techniques used today involve irrigation of soil with large amounts of water and fertilizer, spraying of pesticides, and churning of the soil that releases large amounts of greenhouse gasses such as methane. In addition, farmers are at the mercy of weather conditions, droughts, and floods that may cause extensive damage to their crops. Increasingly greenhouse farming and urban agriculture are being looked at as more efficient and cost-effective way to grow produce. Both in greenhouse and urbane agriculture artificial lighting for photosynthesis is an essential component. Only light at wavelengths around 460 nm (blue) and 670 nm (red) are absorbed by most of the plants for photosynthesis. Currently used discharge lamps in greenhouses distribute energy in the entire visible region, yet plants absorb only 30% of the light. Solid-state lighting sources that cater to the exact wavelengths required by plants that are synchronized with the local CO2 concentration will be the most efficient grow light for agriculture. This article presents a nanophosphor-based light source that is being developed as an efficient grow light for agriculture, which has the potential to produce significant savings in energy costs.
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