Introduction: Solar Greenhouse [Phablabs 4.0]

About: The Inventory is part of the Science Centre of the Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)

For a Phablabs 4.0 project we were challenged to create an model greenhouse using off the shelf parts and add some new creative ideas that could improve the crop yield or plant growth.

Our idea was to use lights to compensate for bad weather and use solar energy to power these lights. Solar panels would generate electricity on sunny days and store this energy in an battery system. When the amount of light would get below an certain threshold the lights would turn on to compensate for the loss in daylight. We also wanted to saturate the air in the greenhouse with CO2 for the plants so we added some spagmoss. This moss releases a lot of CO2 when it breaks down under sunlight.

For our model greenhouse we used the ikea Socker greenhouse and we ordered a solar energy kit online that included the lights.

Step 1: Building and Seeding

We first build the ikea greenhouse following the included instructions. When this was finished we started cutting rockwool to fit the seedling tray. We also filled some holes with premixed garden soil in order to look at the difference between the rockwool and soil. We then added the seeds and watered everything.

Step 2: Lighting Solution

There are sadly no pictures with this step because they got corrupted.

The lights and solar were easy to set-up, we only had to plug in the wires and the battery started charging. The lights could be toggles on and off using a button.

The basis of our greenhouse were now complete but it is not yet completely working autonomously.

For this to work we have to add light sensors and use them to toggle the lights on and off when the light intensity gets to low. The solar panels and lights should also be upgraded in order to equal the light intensity given by the sun, because at this moment the lights dont give the plants enough sunlight to grow.