Development of an efficient solid state grow-light for Greenhouse/Urban agriculture based on a novel growth process and device architecture

Award Information
Agency: Department of Agriculture
Branch: N/A
Contract: 2011-00002
Agency Tracking Number: 2011-00002
Amount: $99,457.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2011
Solicitation Year: 2011
Solicitation Topic Code: 8.13
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
10639 CORY LAKE DRIVE, Tampa, FL, 33647-2996
DUNS: 830702655
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: Y
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Prasana Mahawela
 (813) 562-8274
Business Contact
 Sitara Witanachchi
Title: CFO
Phone: (813) 748-8817
Research Institution
Agricultural output generated by greenhouse and urban farming is expected to increase rapidly in the next decade. In order to sustain year-round operations with optimum use of resources, these industries rely on grow-lights. Solid state lighting that is optimized for plant growth will offer substantial savings in energy cost, and thus, are poised to capture a large percentage of this multimillion dollar industry. Year-around farming in Canada where the season is short, and in southern US and Mexico where warm climates deplete water resources, relies heavily on greenhouses that are fitted with glow-lights. Grow-lights imported from China with their low price tags are entering into the US and Canadian markets. However, a grow-light that is more reliable, economical and energy efficient with a longer lifetime, which are the expected outcomes of the project, will compete well with the imported products for a larger market share. EngenNano Technology will team up with Next Energetics, a Canadian company, to customize the glow-lights for the Canadian market. The LED based grow-lights that are currently available in the market are much more efficient than the more commonly used discharge lamps. However, LEDs can deliver light only in specific wavelengths and narrow bandwidths, and therefore are not optimized in the absorption range of plants. Another option that has not been pursued towards the development of glow-lights is electroluminescence (EL). EL occurs when impurity ions in a crystalline phosphor is excited by high energy electrons. Unlike optical excitation the energy losses in EL can be very low and therefore EL based sources have the potential to produce high conversion efficiencies. Currently EL is limited to back illumination of flat panels due to low achievable lumens/cm2. Engen Nanotechnology Inc. is proposing an innovative approach to overcome a major bottleneck that is holding the development of EL devices as viable solid state lighting sources for variety of application, including efficient glow-lights for greenhouse and urbane agriculture. Advantages offered by nano-phosphors will be leveraged in a new fabrication process to develop a novel device architecture leading to a much more efficient grow-light design that would enable significant savings in energy cost. Furthermore, the results of the project pertaining to the new EL device concept will contribute to enhancing scientific knowledge. In addition, the proposed growth technique and similar multi-nanophosphor structures can be extended to produce white light sourced for other solid state lighting applications.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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