Pink greenhouses

Plants grown in this 'smart' greenhouse fared as well or better than plants grown in conventional greenhouses. (Photo by Nick Gonzales)

Plants grown in this 'smart' greenhouse fared as well or better than plants grown in conventional greenhouses. (Photo by Nick Gonzales)

Researchers at the University of California have developed electricity-generating solar greenhouses that are magenta coloured. The magenta luminescent dye in the roof panels selectively absorbs light of specific wavelengths and transfers the energy to a new type of photovoltaic cell called Wavelength-Selective Photovoltaic Systems (WSPVs). Light in the green and blue part of the spectrum is absorbed to generate electricity more efficiently than conventional PV systems. While plants do not utilise green light (which is why they look green) they do use blue light, so the researchers were interested to find out if the plants raised in the ‘pinkhouses’ were as healthy as those grown in conventional greenhouses. They found that, in most cases, plants grew as well in the ‘pinkhouses’ and some even grew better. An additional bonus was that the ‘pinkhouse’-raised plants required 5% less water.

You can see a video explaining the technology here. The original article was published in the journal, Earth’s Future.