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Induction lamp for plants
Growing different kinds of plants in a greenhouse requires special lighting, which is significantly different from the lighting previously used in greenhouses. High-pressure mercury-vapour lamps, conventional luminescent lamps of LB (LD) type, as well as incandescent GLS 500 lamps consume a lot of energy and provide quite weak plant growth due to the fact that their emission spectrum bears little resemblance to the one that is required by plants. Furthermore, plants are quite sensitive to the daily light cycle. As it turned out, that in addition to the increase of brightness in the morning and decrease of brightness in the evening, the spectral component of the light is also important for plants. In nature, the sunlight at sunrise and at the last minutes of sunset appears as red and orange (due to the absorption of the blue light component of the spectrum by the atmosphere). The complex biochemical processes in plants are configured in such a way that it is at this time when they need the red spectrum of light, in the morning – to wake up, and in the evening – to fall asleep.
Sunlight is the source of energy, carbon dioxide (carbon dioxide CO2) contained in the air is source of carbon, which is the main building material, and water is a source of oxygen, contained in its structure at the molecular level. And all these three vital forces and brought together by the photosynthesis process, where organic substances (carbohydrates) are formed from light energy with the participation of chlorophyll – a photosynthesizing pigment. The name chlorophyll comes from the Greek words chloros (green) and phyllon (leaf). It is a green pigment that makes plants green.
During the day, the water is split up in the light into oxygen and hydrogen, and the plants store the resulting energy. At night, in the dark, carbon dioxide is combined with hydrogen with the use of previously stored energy, and carbohydrate molecules are formed, that is the plant actually grows.
It should be noted that plants require light in the range of 300-470 nm (purple and blue part of the spectrum) when they are planted into the soil in the form of seedlings. At the given spectrum the seedlings are forming and growing well, but from the first-hand experience the cultivation of cucumbers requires 3-4 hours of light per day produced by a HPS lamp or by an induction lamp with a light temperature of 2700 K (warm light), simulating the light day, and before the advent of flowers blue light should be completely removed, and the lighting should simulate the duration of a solar day. The presence of the red part of the spectrum (600-670 nm) is very important for the formation and development of fruit. Tomatoes are especially responsive to this part of the spectrum, and cucumbers, on the contrary, are "afraid" of prolonged exposure to the red part, they require the solar spectrum. Furthermore, it should be understood that the ballast of these lamps should be equipped with a smooth dimming function. Without this function it is impossible to simulate the morning-day-evening-night cycle for the plants.
iLS, being one of the main manufacturers and suppliers of inductive energy-saving lamps to the Russian market, offers a number of effective solutions for greenhouses. Despite the undeniable advantages of induction lamps in many aspects of lighting, some companies apply and offer bispectral lamps (lamps simultaneously emitting two spectrums: blue and red), which are not beneficial, but on the contrary harmful to plants in our opinion.
It is evidenced by our experiments with cucumbers, as well as experiments carried out at the Biological Faculty of Moscow State University, where sunlight lamps (HPS) proved to be twice as good as bispectral induction lamps in terms of facilitating plant growth in greenhouse conditions. And indeed, when you come to think of it, it is inefficient to apply two spectrums simultaneously. Seedlings require only the blue part of the spectrum, the red part of the spectrum it is not needed, and supplementary lighting can be replaced by an analogue of the solar spectrum for a short period. And on the contrary, the blue part of the spectrum is absolutely not required for the formation and growth of fruit. Hence, dear readers, you can draw your own conclusions.
One simple solution is to use a reflector with lamps generating different parts of the spectrum (blue, red and an analogue of the solar spectrum). The lamps can be replaced by hand depending on the growth phase of the plants.
Another more complex solution is the use of a semi-automatic greenhouse lighting system
The lamp with a smaller diameter generates the blue part of the spectrum when growing seedlings. The lamp with a larger diameter generates the solar spectrum or the red part of the spectrum depending on the type of the plant. A dimmer with a smooth transition of luminance from 50% to 100% is used as well. Blue light lamps should have the power of 60 to 80 Watts. Red colour or solar spectrum lamps should have the power of 100 to 250 Watts. The enclosure of the lamp should be fitted with a photo sensor, which reacts to the brightness of ambient light and automatically adjusts the brightness of the lamp thanks to the connection with the dimmer. It ensures additional energy savings. In addition, induction lamps do not burn the leaves of the plants due to their low operating temperature (50-62 °C) and do not require additional heat removal, which is a problem when using metal halide or HPS lamps.