UbiQD, Inc, has partnered with the University of Arizona, Controlled Environment Agriculture Center, to enhance the lighting component of the Mars-Lunar Greenhouse prototype to improve the food production of the system. Ultimately, the goals are for UbiQD to install a down-conversion film composed of quantum dots (QDs) into a solar collecting/fiber optic system to not only provide higher quality PAR spectrum than currently using, but by converting the high concentration of UV photons to visible photons, UbiQD would be able to dramatically increase the intensity of the PAR spectrum and provided to the plants and the quality of the spectrum will also enhance the efficiency of crop growth.
In this Phase II project, we will build on the successful phase I results and develop new light recipes for the QD-films to find the optimal spectra for lettuce and tomatoes, with a final goal to enhance biomass production for controlled environment growing on space missions. The optimal spectrum will be developed by testing different QD light recipes in a custom-built plant growth test stand to quantify biomass production enhancement for lettuce and tomatoes. From the small-scale plant studies, the two leading light recipes for the QD-films will be used in commercial greenhouse studies on lettuce and tomatoes and crop yield improvements will be quantified.
The optimal light recipes will also be incorporated into novel fiber-coupled luminescent concentrators (FC-LCs) that can convert sunlight delivered to the MLGH by a solar collector and fiber optic system, to an ideal spectrum for the plants grown in the greenhouse. A portion of the light that is converted by the QDs will be coupled to a second set of fiber optics that can provide inter-canopy lighting to the crops grown. A larger FC-LC prototype will also be developed to be deployed on the surface of the moon or mars and convert and deliver modified sunlight to the greenhouse with fiber optics.
-Spectral modification for enhanced plant production for long space missions and planetary exploration (this project)
-Remote phosphor and light guiding device for customized plant growth spectra using electrically powered, artificial light
-Remote phosphor and light guiding device for customized spectra for solid state lighting in space vehicles, space stations and living quarters
-Renewable electricity production from transparent surfaces, such as windows
-Fixed position solar spectrum modifying Ag Films for enhanced crop production in greenhouses
-Deployable solar spectrum-modifying Ag Film for inducing early flowering or fruiting of the plant
-A fiber coupled luminescent solar concentrator for harvesting and delivering spectrum-modified sunlight to indoor farms
-Renewable electricity generation from the transparent surfaces of a greenhouse structure