High-tech lighting system to grow plants indoor or in space
An innovative lighting system could increase the potential of growing plants in unconventional environments – such as underground stations, airports, shopping centres – or extreme environments such as arctic or extraterrestrial areas. It has been developed by ENEA, the Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development.
The innovative lighting system was presented at the Portici Research Centre, where ENEA patented and developed the first “microcosm”, a hi-tech simulator that allows to grow in an indoor and controlled environment some plants including olive trees, potatoes, tomatoes, lettuce and basil. Within this ecosystem, the innovative LED-based lighting system developed by ENEA, provides plants with selected wavelengths instead of the entire solar spectrum.
“Our microcosms – said Luigi d’Aquino of the ENEA Laboratory of Nanomaterials and Devices in Portici and inventor of the microcosm – are actual ecosystems, different from greenhouses and traditional growth chambers, and are capable of accurately replicate in laboratory what happens in a cultivated field when specific environmental conditions take place, and with organisms capable of interfering with plant functions, such as pathogens or pests”.
According to the researcher, with this illuminotechnic system the operator will “mix” the various spectral components of light more easily so as to grow plants better and increase their potential of use in research activities and extreme environments, such as arctic or extraterrestrial areas.