We have often cited on this blog how LEDs produce very little heat in comparison to incandescent and fluorescent bulbs. Yet, they do still create excess heat. This heat is drawn away from the light emitting diode through the heat sink, as heat is the number one enemy of LEDs. The heat is then “dumped,” so to speak, into the atmosphere or surrounding air.
New technology in the agricultural and horticulture world has found a way to utilize this excess heat from LEDs in a new and innovative way!
LEDs and Horticulture
LEDs are moving their way into the agriculture and horticulture arena, as plants need light to grow when planted inside. LEDs are unique because they can be tuned and adjusted to deliver certain light and certain light wavelengths for each individual type of plant. This helps them grow quicker, produce more yields, and can even affect the color and taste of the plants!
While LEDs are more energy efficient as grow lights in sheds and greenhouses, being run nearly 24/7 can be costly. Other energy costs need to be taken into consideration as well, such as temperature control and how to keep the plants roots warm, as this is also necessary for proper plant growth. Creating a separate heating system for the plants’ roots is expensive to operate on top of the LED lights.
Here is where an innovative idea came into play. As we mentioned above, heat is the number one enemy of LEDs, and is pulled away from the diode via heat sink. Plants, however, require warm roots to grow. That’s when the idea to create a new type of LED grow light apparatus appeared. Instead of releasing the heat via heat sink, an idea was brought up to cool LEDs with water, and then pump the warm water to the roots of the plants to keep them warm and water them simultaneously.
This new type of LED grow light has many advantages. Water is seen as a better cooling agent than air, so now manufacturers can create LEDs that are smaller, cheaper, more compact and more intense. Due to the lack of heat sink and the decrease of warm air being released into the environment from heat sinks, cooling and insulating costs are reduced as well, while the warm water keeps plants warm and watered.
Now all of the wasted heat from the LEDs is essentially recycled right in the greenhouse or shed, making the process almost entirely green! This new type of grow method is in its infant stages, so it may be a few years before we see this type of growing method on a larger scale. However, it is one of the many great LED innovations we have seen in the past few years!
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Posted in LED Agriculture Lighting, LED Products and Innovations