Harnessing the power of the sun with LEDs
Hochschule Munchen university project
Growing plants in a small flat in Wellington or Munich can be hard with such drastic changes in climate and minimal to no garden space. I designed this LED powered grow lamp that utilises different frequencies of light to stimulate the plant in two areas of growth. First is the foliage stage; if a plant can maximize its stem and leaf count it allows a higher fruit or flower yield. This is where the second stage comes in, whereby using a higher frequency the plant will be prompted to flower, leading to budding which grows into fruit.
For the base and top of the lamp, I turned a large plate with 90 degree walls. This was then cut in half and the button holes and details were added. The top plate containing the LEDs was cantilevered on a steel rod which allowed for fast and easy transition, when the plants grew too close to the light. The growing medium container was made from vacuum formed polyester which had the option of housing a mixture of soil and coconut coir or a small hydroponic system. Hydroponics grow plants 3 times faster but require a pump and nutrient solutions which need to have their PH values regulated.
I used a variation of coloured LEDS to achieve the right frequency, the reds, yellows and oranges help the plant blossom and yield fruit where the blues promote foliage growth. As well as these colours I used warm and cool white LEDs to not only tone down the intense blues and reds but to fill in any gaps in the emitted light frequencies.
Did you know the reason a lot of plants are green is because they don’t absorb green light so it is then reflected into our eye.. This project required a massive learning curve and I found out that I don’t have the green thumb, it turns out you can give plants too much attention. I did manage to grow some chillis and tomatoes using artificial light and hydroponics.