From 2014, we have started to engineer grow lights for various plants, from cannabis, tomatoes, lettuces, strawberries to even seaweeds. The experience in “inventing” something isn’t fun at all, the most challenging part is finding the proper spectrum for different plants.
This is the famous chart we are all familiar with; from which we have learnt the pigments chlorophyll a and chlorophyll b inside of plants absorb blue and red spectrum light most efficiently.
Guided by that theory, from 2015 to 2017 we have built hundreds of LED grow lights with different blue:red ratios and run field testing again and again. The results were very frustrating:
- Sometimes the result was successful; sometimes it failed.
- Sometimes it worked for plant A but failed for plant B.
- It worked one time; but when we repeated the testing, it failed.
- It worked here but failed in a different grow environment.
We also grabbed grow lights, like Philips, Kind LED, Black Dog, from market running field testing, we were not successful. We realized it really depended on how lucky we and plants were. But what we needed was an LED grow light that can universally work anytime with any plant.
The engineering for a UNIVERSAL LED grow light kept going, but obviously we had to adjust our approach. We then realized that we could mimic the spectrum of the HPS light which was the proven technology on the market for years. Spending a lot of time, money, and other resources, we realized it’s almost technically and financially impossible to use LED technology to mimic the HPS spectrum which is so fragmented.
Further, I would like to talk something about the photosynthesis theory. Since we didn’t have bioscience background, the things we could do were to use the ready tools, with our philosophy, to run field test; and that is it! One of the very bad lesson we have learnt is the photosynthesis theory itself is not perfect; or I can say it has flaws. I hope we could know the newest findings about photosynthesis theory earlier, that way we wouldn’t experience that many failures. The theory is important; however, field testing is more important. Result is everything!
From the history of our spectrum development, there are some very helpful findings we have learnt and would like to share:
There is no RIGHT or WRONG spectrum, but only PROPER spectrum for specific plant. You must run a lot of field testing to refine your spectrum and find the most optimal spectrum for the plants.
The photosynthesis theory itself is still evolving. Before people completely discover the myths behind the plants’ growth, there is still a very long way before we come up with the final spectrum recipes.
Without the perfect photosynthesis theory, the traditional Chinese medicine approach is practically better than the Western medicine approach.
My salute to all scientists and people who devoted themselves to this industry, please be passionate and keep growing!