It looks as though the next big area in which LEDs will take marketshare away from traditional lighting is in "grow lights," those used to provide artificial lights for agricultural and horticultural uses.
So says Everlight Electronics Co. Ltd. in Taiwan. It recently came out with what's called the Everlight GL-Flora LED lighting fixtures for agriculture. Their claim to fame, says Everlight, is low power, high-efficiency, uniform light patterns and homogeneous light distribution at precisely the right wavelengths and color ratios needed for superior photosynthetic response. Everlight GL-Flora can be used for effortless germination of healthy seedlings to speed growth, control flowering, govern germination or elongation with the characters of LED light source. The GL-Flora lighting fixtures can be customized to suit each stage of a crop's lifecycle.
While sunlight comprises the entire spectrum of light, an LED light source can be controlled to stimulate different photoreceptors in a given type of plant. For example, blue light can stimulate phototropins and cryptochromes, and red light stimulates phytochromes which regulates flowering.
For those working in the biofuels area, the same argument can be made in terms of growing the kind of algae that can be harvested for use as a source of synthetic fuels.
Everlight says the key features of its new grow lights include proof that they make plants grow faster and stronger than under ordinary sun light. This is because the RGB wavelengths of the LEDs are adjusted in the right ratios to make plants grow. Moreover, there is greater than 70% energy savings with the LEDs compared to fluorescent lighting and the LED fixtures last about five times longer than traditional lamps.