Hey greenhouse growers, builders, and designers! Today’s article is all about the ‘why.’ Why use UbiGro, the industry’s only greenhouse film that utilizes quantum dots to shift the color of sunlight? Understanding these reasons can positively impact the profitability, efficiency, and sustainability of your greenhouse operations.
The UbiGro greenhouse film optimizes your sunlight with red-shifting quantum dots that are efficient in manipulating colors of light. Read more about the benefits of red-shifting sunlight for crop growth in our White Paper.
Blue light makes up about 30% of sunlight, but that’s more than is needed for most crops. UV light does not contribute to photosynthesis at all. So, passively red-shifting these underutilized portions of sunlight improves the solar spectrum’s efficiency when driving crop yields.
By increasing photosynthetic efficiency and radiation capture, the application of UbiGro results in heavier crops for the same sunlight exposure. Check out our Case Studies for specific examples of these yield enhancements.
A secondary benefit of UbiGro is the light diffusion it applies to the incoming sunlight, spreading light evenly throughout the canopy, leading to better light penetration and full-canopy production.
Harvesting larger yields or harvesting more frequently while using the same amount of electricity significantly impacts profitability. Payback times for UbiGro are in the 1-2 year range for high-value veggies and in the 1-2 harvest (3-6 month) range for cannabis.
An increase in production with little to no extra operational expense means that production costs are spread over more crop production units, effectively increasing the average gross margin of the greenhouse.
By eliminating hot spots in the greenhouse and giving plants a tailored spectrum, some of our pilot trials have shown that the red-shifted and diffuse glow of UbiGro has resulted in reduced waste. For example, in tomatoes, we’ve seen a lower frequency of skin splitting; in cucumbers, we’ve seen fewer rejected fruits due to excess curling; and in cannabis, we’ve seen small increases in terpene and cannabinoid content.
UbiGro can tailor the spectrum of light that your crops are receiving without implementing expensive lighting. This gives off-grid growers a spectrum-control option and alternatively allows on-grid growers to keep expenses down so they can thrive in today’s competitive markets.
Greenhouses can become more sustainable by increasing their grams/Watt figure of merit and by using fewer fossil fuel inputs to generate larger yields. Grow more and make the best use of your one free resource – sunlight.
UbiGro redirects low-angle sunlight into an overhead glow, making the best use of the sun even in the early mornings and evenings.
UbiGro helps greenhouse crops experience a consistent spectrum in all seasons. Many growers have noticed the similarity of UbiGro’s red-shifted spectrum to that of the late summer, a redder range that typically coincides with the best seasonal crop production.
UbiGro’s emission centers in the amber (orange-red) region, around 600 nm. We engineered this spectrum partially because of legacy indoor growers’ success with HPS lamps, which also peak in this region and contain just a threshold amount of blue light.
Compared to filters or dye films, UbiGro maintains a higher PAR intensity inside the greenhouse so that you don’t have to sacrifice quantity for quality – your plants can have both!
While chlorophyll absorbs green light less efficiently than blue or red light, green light’s higher reflectance and lower absorptance drive photosynthesis deep in plant tissue and dense canopies. Therefore, green light is an essential ingredient in an ideal spectrum for plant growth. Unlike competing dye films, UbiGro maintains sunlight’s green light fraction, with almost no absorption in the green region of the spectrum. Instead of harvesting green light, UbiGro removes some UV and blue light to increase the red/orange light fraction, boosting growth rates and crop yields.
Using versatile and customizable hardware, UbiGro can be customized to fit into any greenhouse type, size, shape, and façade material.
With little to no maintenance required and a 4-6 year lifetime, you can ‘set it and forget it.’ UbiGro will passively convert sunlight for years after the initial installation.
To get started with a custom quote, contact us today [email protected].
Hunter McDaniel, PhD
Founder & CEO
Hunter earned a Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, before joining Los Alamos National Laboratory in the Chemistry Division. Ultimately the value proposition of UbiGro is about boosting crop yields and quality without the cost or energy impact of lighting. Hunter has more than fifty publications and patents, and more than 2000 total citations, h-index: 20. Hunter fundamentally believes that novel materials underpin every significant technology advancement, and he is focused on leveraging new materials to have a lasting and sustainable impact.
Damon Hebert, PhD
Director of Agriculture
Damon brings a wide range of experience in agriculture, materials science, spectroscopy, and small business. During his time in Prof. Angus Rockett’s research group at The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), Hebert authored a doctoral thesis and multiple papers on the materials science of CIGS semiconductor materials, which is closely related to the materials developed at UbiQD. He also served as a consultant to Nanosolar, a CIGS nanocrystal solar cell manufacturing company. Hebert has industry experience having co-founded Dr. Jolly’s, a leading cultivation and distribution operation in Bend, OR.
Tania is a UbiGro Sales Representative, with over 7 years of experience in product sales (specifically berries and avocados) covering all of North America and parts of South America. While in agriculture, Tania has cultivated strong relationships with growers and distributors, granting her a unique insight into both perspectives. That understanding, paired with her fierce dedication to results, drives her fun and fiery commitment to her craft. Tania is based in Gilroy, CA.
Charles earned a Bachelor’s in Biological Engineering from North Carolina State University and a Master’s in Biosystems Engineering from The University of Arizona Controlled Environment Agriculture Center. Advised by Dr. Gene Giacomelli, Charles conducted his thesis on the “Optimization of Spectral Quality with Quantum Dots to Enhance Crop Yield in Controlled Environments.” Charles has a decade of biological engineering, greenhouse technology, and molecular biology experience from lab to production scale including working with the Vegetable Production System (Veggie) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. He brings his experience in hydroponics, controlled environment systems design, photobiology, greenhouse engineering, and scientific outreach.
Jim Gideon is an UbiGro Sales Manager, with over 25 years of greenhouse industry sales experience covering all of North America. Previously Jim has worked for Green Tek, Plazit-Polygal, Texel, Cherry Creek, and Nexus. He is based in Montgomery, AL, and Jim believes that “light is everything to the grower.”
Director of Sales
Eric Moody is UbiQD’s Director of UbiGro Sales. Eric has more than 6 years of experience in horticulture lighting industry, building relationships with greenhouse growers of all sizes and crops on optimal lighting for their growing operation, and most recently managed a North American sales team for PL Light Systems. Overall, Eric has been in sales leadership positions for more than 13 years. Eric brings with him a great understanding of the market and available technologies for growers, greenhouse facilities, and sales leadership. Reach Eric by phone at 541-490-6421 or by email at [email protected].
Mike Burrows, PhD
Dr. Michael Burrows is UbiQd’s Vice President of Business Development. His educational background includes a Materials Science doctorate from the University of Delaware and an MBA from Duke University Fuqua School of Business. His career has specialized in the commercialization of novel electronic materials in venture-run programs for different industries including solar, biosensors, and the automotive industry. In both start-up and corporate environments, he has extensive experience in global market development, foraging supply chain partnerships, productization, and brand building. He is currently leading UbiQD’s partnership efforts in luminescent greenhouse technology, smart windows, and security ventures.
Matt Bergern, PhD
Cheif Product Officer
As Chief Product Officer at UbiQD, Dr. Matt Bergren leads the company’s product development efforts, sales, and product manufacturing, including the company’s first commercial agriculture product, UbiGro. He plays a critical role in continuing the company’s path of technology development and vision of powering product innovations in agriculture, clean energy, and security.
He serves as the principal investigator for UbiQD’s contract with NASA, focused on tailoring the solar spectrum for enhanced crop production for space missions. Dr. Bergren’s leadership experience includes serving on the board of directors for the New Mexico Energy Manufacturing Institute, focused on job creation in New Mexico’s energy, and related manufacturing community.