LEDs Improving Production of Crops in Space

Our world’s obsession with space is very apparent in today’s time. We are continually looking to answer the endless questions about our universe. One of the larger questions being asked is if life is sustainable on other planets besides Earth? How would we go about producing food and water? Is this all possible within our lifetime? We have conquered trips to the moon, made discoveries on Mars, but can we find a solution to the food crop dilemma?

The answer is yes, with a little help from our friends, LEDs.

Why LEDs Make Good Crop Lights

LEDs are proving to be the next big thing in indoor agriculture. They have been shown to create higher plant yields with a shorter growing period, no matter the outdoor climate, according to GE Reports. So why and how are LEDs becoming popular as indoor agriculture lighting?

While farming indoors isn’t a brand new concept, LED lights are transforming the landscape. LEDs bring to the table an energy efficient alternative to high-pressure sodium (HPS) lamps typically found in greenhouses. LEDs run cooler and are altogether more energy efficient than HPS lamps, helping reduce issues with climate control and temperature in indoor farming environments. The cost of powering HPS lamps compared to LEDs takes 400 times the energy to produce the same crop yield!

LEDs Crop Lights in Space

A recent, nine-week study conducted in tandem with Phillips and the University of Arizona Controlled Environment Agriculture Center tested ways to grow food in an energy efficient fashion to feed astronauts on missions to the moon, Mars and the great beyond. The research team replaced HPS lamps with LEDs and were astonished by the results. Lettuce grown under these LEDs yielded 54 g/kWh of fresh, edible lettuce in comparison to the 24 g/kWh of lettuce grown under HPS lamps.

Not only did the LEDs produce a better crop yield, they did so using much less energy than HPS lamps. This creates a much more efficient use of resources for astronauts when on long missions in space. Better yet, LEDs can be tuned to specific light wavelengths and colors for specific types of plants to create the best growing environment!

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Posted in LED Agriculture Lighting, LED Products and Innovations


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