Mert Kalaycı, student at M.Sc. in Electrical and Electronics Engineering Program of Graduate School of Natural and Applied Sciences, Izmir University of Economics (IUE), managed to move soilless agriculture technology a step forward and made it 30 times more efficient via led lighting. With this method, which aims to avert global food and water shortages due to global warming, uninterrupted photosynthesis is possible.
The “Smart Garden” titled project of Mert Kalaycı, student at M.Sc. in Electrical and Electronics Engineering Program of IUE, under the guidance of IUE Acting Rector, Prof. Dr. Murat Aşkar, focuses on growing variety of vegetables, fruits, and industry plants including tomatoes, cucumbers, strawberries, saffron, etc. The “UpTechlabs” R&D Company at IUE Izmir Sciencepark and METU Technopark was established as part of the project, which received a grant of 150 thousand TL within the scope of TUBITAK’s 1512 Multiphase Entrepreneurship Grant Program. Kalaycı, who also receives the TUBITAK’s Individual Young Enterprise grant, gave information about the project and he said that the project was a combination of lighting system, climate control, soilless agriculture, and innovations of Industry 4.0. “In soilless agriculture, we can provide the wavelength of light needed for photosynthesis of the plant at a desired dimension via LED by spending less energy. Whereas a regular plant requires a sunbathing 8 to 10 hours, by using LED, we can increase this time to our desire. This way, plants can grow much faster. It also allows harvesting same amount of crops in both summer and winter. Various sensors on the system runs automatically with the equipment and software we developed. We can also control and follow it remotely with the help of smart phone,” said Kalaycı.
First order from Azerbaijan
Kalaycı stated the following about Smart Garden: “There are approximately 7.5 billion of people on earth. Global food and water shortages are expected around 2050. The LED lighting system allows 2.5 times more rapid growth compared to regular growing, aeroponic system allows using up to 95% less water, and the modular system allows growing 30 times more products in a unit area. Azerbaijan made a demand for Smart Garden. We also work with Izmir, Ankara and Istanbul companies.”