Application of smart sensors to monitor the interactive effects of temperature and lighting on plant growth in a simulated controlled environment facility

This thesis explored the potential use of smart sensors to monitor and integrate multiple environmental factors that play crucial roles in the intricate dynamics of plant growth in response to varying environmental conditions, such as lighting and temperature in controlled environment crop production systems. A controlled environment chamber was designed and built to conduct experiments across a range of temperatures (15 - 35C) and under varying lighting duration (7, 10 and 14 h) and intensity (100 and 150 µmol/m2.s). A set of wireless smart sensors were used to monitor the environmental conditions, including air and soil temperatures, relative humidity, light intensity, and carbon dioxide level. The study demonstrated that the wireless smart sensors were effective in collecting reliable data for monitoring the environmental conditions, and sensor data could be fused to optimize the environmental conditions for plant growth. From the sensor data, it was found that both fresh biomass and dry biomass were significantly influenced by the three tested environmental factors. The highest biomass accumulation was observed at moderate temperatures (25-27C), with diminished growth at both lower and higher temperatures. Light duration and intensity were found to have a noticeable effect on biomass production, with longer lighting periods and higher intensity fostering greater fresh and dry biomass production. Similar effects of environmental conditions on leaf development were found: the best environmental condition was the moderate temperatures and long lighting duration and high light intensity. However, the benefits of increased lighting were modulated by temperature, indicating a complex interplay between these factors. This study contributed valuable insights into the optimization of environmental parameters for plant cultivation in controlled environment systems through the use of smart sensors. The findings highlighted the importance of carefully balancing temperature and lighting conditions to maximize plant growth. The study demonstrated the successful use of an array of wireless smart sensors in monitoring multiple environmental parameters in controlled environment crop production and multiple sensor data could potentially be fused to optimize the environment in smart vertical farming (plant factories).
Smart Sensors, Plant Growth, Controlled Environment Facility, Interactive Effects, Environmental Optimization