Fast Company discusses this ‘quantum dot’ tech helps grow more plants by making sunlight more powerful. Indoor farms can grow more food than fields by using special recipes of LED lights to induce more plant growth. This new technology lets a regular greenhouse achieve the same effect.
Inside the sprawling warehouses where some indoor farming startups grow food under artificial light, custom “light recipes” adjust the color of LEDs to help plants grow faster. Even with efficient LED bulbs, the systems still use a huge amount of energy. But new technology designed for traditional greenhouses can manipulate sunlight in a similar way, without any use of electricity at all.
“Our approach is, basically, let’s just tweak sunlight—let’s improve sunlight,” says Hunter McDaniel, founder and CEO of UbiQD, the advanced materials startup that makes the new greenhouse tech. The company uses quantum dots, the same nano-size crystals that are used to emit color in TVs and monitors. Today, UbiQD announced that it is partnering with Nanosys, a quantum dot manufacturer that usually works in consumer electronics, to scale up production of its product, called UbiGro. (The company is also working on other new quantum dot products, including windows that can harvest sunlight to make solar power.)