SBIR Phase I: A Sustainable Wavelength Selective Energy Producing Greenhouse

Award Information
National Science Foundation
Award Year:
Phase I
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Alers Photovoltaics
N239-24 King Rd, Advanced Studies Laboratory, Moffett Field, CA, 94035-0000
Hubzone Owned:
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged:
Woman Owned:
Principal Investigator:
Glenn Alers
(831) 234-6056
Business Contact:
Glenn Alers
(831) 234-6056
Research Institution:

This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project entitled "A sustainable Wavelength Selective Energy Producing Greenhouse" will demonstrate a greenhouse that can utilize land for both food production and electricity production. A cost effective and highly durable greenhouse panel has been developed that simultaneously facilitates plant growth, reduces cooling requirements and generates power at less than $1/watt incremental cost. The greenhouse uses a proprietary material to selectively absorb the green portion of the solar spectrum that is not used by plants. The Green light is then transferred to photovoltaic cells mounted at the edge of the panel for power. The color tuning associated with controlling the red/blue ratio of transmitted light has been shown to facilitate fruit production in tomatoes and increase flower production. The color tuning materials have achieved greater than a 20 year lifetime in full sun based on high humidity / high intensity UV aging studies. This project will build a full greenhouse with these materials and obtain results on both plant growth and demonstrate a sustainable, energy neutral, "off the grid" greenhouse. The broader impact/commercial potential of this project will be to better utilize the limited land and water resources of this country. Much of the remote land that might be suitable for solar energy is too far from transmission lines or sub-stations to be economically viable and is environmentally sensitive. Agricultural land already coexists with population centers and contains the necessary infrastructure for power transmission. Merging both power generation and food production can increase the productivity of land near population centers with greenhouses that will bring the food source closer to the consumer, extend the growing season and conserve/recycle valuable water resources. The commercialization of this power generating greenhouse will start a complimentary energy-agriculture industry that can best utilize our scarce natural resources. Greenhouse construction is a multi-billion industry and is growing as population and food consumption grows. The project will work with local universities to create a new generation of botanist/biologist/physicist that can serve a rapidly growing solar/agriculture market sector. The demonstration greenhouse will be used as a learning center for students from middle school to graduate school.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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