Aero Farm Systems LLC (http://aerofarms.com), a provider of aeroponic technology and solutions, in collaboration with Cornell University’s Department of Horticulture and The Lighting Research Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; a first-of-its-kind scientific instrument for testing the application of artificial lighting to plants. The announcement was made from the NCERA-101 Committee of Controlled Environment Technology and Use at the University of Wisconsin where Dr. Ed Harwood, founder and CEO of AeroFarms, presented the planned use for the new device.
The instrument has an array of LED lights that can emit the exact spectra of light necessary to grow plants, while excluding all other spectral bands. This functionality allows the Company to determine the optimal spectral bands for indoor growing that will result in higher yields, higher quality, and reduced energy consumption. In addition, the device has fine-tune controls for LED light intensity and duration of exposure that allow for incremental testing of those variables’ effects on plant growth to unprecedented levels of precision.
“AeroFarms has a novel aeroponic growing system for leafy greens that produces crops continuously throughout the year using artificial light in a totally controlled environment agriculture system,” said Ed Harwood, founder and CEO of Aero Farm Systems, LLC. “This one-of-a-kind, state-of-the-art piece of testing equipment will allow AeroFarms to break new ground in the use of optimized LED lighting for growing plants.”
“This totally unique device gives us the first opportunity to look at how to take advantage of new lighting technology that promotes energy efficiency and year-round production,” said Dr. Neil Mattson, Assistant Professor at the Cornell University Horticultural Department. “The scientific testing device allows us to manipulate LED technology for aeroponics in a commercial setting, not only in a laboratory.”
The cost of building the device was made possible by the recent seed funding from The Quercus Trust and 21Ventures LLC. All development and construction was executed by The Lighting Research Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
Several factors have led to a proliferation of sustainable agriculture companies like AeroFarms, including the increase in consumer demand for sustainable and local produce, the growing public awareness of contamination and pesticides, and the constantly increasing labor and trucking costs of conventional production.