July 14, 2014
HUG A MALTHUSIAN:
Now THAT'S a power plant! (VICTORIA WOOLLASTON, 10 July 2014, Daily Mirror)
Posted by Orrin Judd at July 14, 2014 3:37 PMHumans have spent the last 10,000 years mastering agriculture, but it just takes a dry spell, or a flash flood to wipe out a year's worth of crops.Hoping to solve this problem is plant physiologist Shigeharu Shimamura, who has set up an industrial-scale farm inside a factory in Japan. [...]The farm uses 17,500 LED lights spread over 18 cultivation racks, and these lights are used to mimic day and night.By monitoring the photosynthesis process carefully, the system grows lettuce two-and-a-half times faster than an outdoor farm.It also cuts waste product by 40 per cent and productivity per square foot is up 100-fold.The special LED fixtures were developed by GE and emit light at wavelengths optimal for plant growth.Purple lighting is used to mimic night, for example, while the white lights are adjusted slowly throughout the day to mimic a sun moving through the sky.The environment is also monitored, including temperature, humidity and irrigation.By doing so, the farm has cut its water usage to just 1 per cent of the amount needed by outdoor fields.It farm uses 17,500 LED lights spread over 18 cultivation racks, reaching 16 levels high - and these lights are used to mimic day and night.