Carbon is one of the most abundant elements in plants and is extremely important for the structure and growth of plants.
Many growers consume carbon, but indigenous farmers can increase yields by taking a deliberate approach with carbon.
Since you leave the carbon form at the time of harvest (remove the plant material), farmers need to get the carbon back into the farm.
Farmers do this when they supplement CO2 in indoor farms.
CO2 supplementation can be helpful for a producer who grows cut flowers.
However, if the producer produces vegetables, CO2 supplementation generally does not increase production enough to offset the additional cost of CO2 supplementation.
Why to supplement CO 2:
Plants fix CO 2 carbon in the air by passive diffusion. In other word, CO2 moves from a higher concentration zone – air – to a lower concentration zone – plant tissues.
Since the plant uses the difference in concentration to absorb CO 2, the concentration of CO 2 in the air is very important.
Once absorbed by the plant, the CO 2 is transformed into sugars used for the growth of the plant. Ultimately, this carbon allows plants to develop new tissues and stay strong.
If CO 2 levels in a growing environment fall below about 250 ppm, plants will stop growing.
Once the plant uses CO 2 carbon to create plant tissue, the next step is harvesting. Every time you harvest, you remove carbon from the farm because you remove plant tissue [rich in carbon].
To maintain a high level of carbon on your farm, producers must replenish it with CO 2.
If CO 2 levels are too low, carbon becomes the limiting variable; no matter how much light and power you have. Your performance will be bottleneck. In this case, you are essentially wasting the other entries you are paying in your system.
For indoor operations, CO 2 replenishment generally requires the producer to actively reinject it back into the farm atmosphere. For most growers, a few dollars a day in CO 2 can increase plant yields by about 30%.
How to measure CO2:
The first step in the CO 2 supplementation process is to determine if your levels are too low or not. Most environmental control systems (such as IntelliClimate) have built-in sensors for CO 2. There are also several portable or wall mounted sensors that will tell you what CO 2 is for your installation.
Most indoor producers should have CO 2 levels between 800 and 1200 ppm. Some producers have used nearly 1500, but there is a law of diminishing returns at this stage; for most people, 1200 is the highest they should go.
At this distance, the exchange process is very fast and easy for the factory. The plant also becomes more water efficient; Higher CO 2 levels can reduce the need for perspiration and water use in your system.
When to supplement CO 2:
The high level of CO 2 at sunrise in a greenhouse is due to plants breathing and releasing CO 2 into the atmosphere.
The breathing process continues in the light but at a reduced pace.
The plant must be able to produce enough carbohydrates during the light period with photosynthesis to overcome carbohydrate loss through breathing throughout the day and night.
Since there is no photosynthesis during the dark period, there is a net production of CO 2 from the breathing process.
These high levels of CO2 result directly from the metabolism of photosynthesis through respiration.
The increase in CO 2 level would only occur in a tightly closed greenhouse, as infiltration of the outside atmosphere tends to dilute the increased concentration of CO 2 in the greenhouse.
However, the level of oxygen (oxygen) in the greenhouse would be lower than the atmospheric levels because of its consumption in the breathing process.
CO 2 supplementation is more effective during the active growth period of the plant, during the light period.
The CO 2 supplementation should start in the morning for a short time until the desired levels are reached, then the generator should be stopped and the CO 2 levels allowed to return to room temperature before dark.
Methods of Supplementing CO 2:
1) Burn a fuel such as natural gas or propane:
These fuels release a lot of carbon when burned. The disadvantage of burning a CO 2 -based fuel is that they not only produce CO 2, but also water vapor and heat that the producer has to handle.
2) Release CO 2 from a tank at a given rate using a regulator:
The release of pure bottled CO 2 is a simple method. Surprisingly, pure CO 2 contains less carbon than either of the fuels (propane and natural gas), so it may be less profitable. The use of pure CO 2 has the advantage of not producing water vapor or heat like fuels.
3) Use a decomposition process:
This is often done with mushrooms and garbage bags. This method tends to be more expensive due to shipping and may eventually cause compliance issues. However, this can produce a lot of CO 2 depending on the product used. Producers interested in this technique should review product specifications and prices to determine if they are profitable.
Producers have experimented with other methods of CO 2 supplementation, such as using dry ice or fermentation, but these three methods have proven to be the most cost-effective and are the most popular at present.