Aeroponics-Bioenergy Grass Cultivation

Report
Prairie
Cordgrass
An Aeroponic Approach to
Greenhouse Production
Nathan Deppe-PCF
Coordinator
Recycled Glass
vs. Leca Stone
Substrates
Prairie Cordgrass ‘Savoy’ (right)
rooted in leca stone vs.
recycled glass substrate (left)
Choice of Substrates
Recycled Glass
Leca Stone
Comparison of Plants in
Diverse Substrates
Plants in Recycled Glass
a. Fewer Shoots and Rhizomes
b. Less Robust
Plants in Leca Stone
a. Strong Healthy Plant Crown
b. More Shoots and Rhizomes
c. Healthier and More Vigorous Roots
d. Improved Top Growth
Materials and Methods
1)
2)
3)
4)
Tank/Reservoir (4 or 5 Gal White Bucket)
Submersible Tank Pump (Eco-Plus, Eco-185)
Feeder Pipe with Mist Nozzles (PVC Construct)
Containment Vessel with Substrate (6” Wide
Lip Bucket Basket and Leca Stone)
5) Nutrient Solution
6) Greenhouse Environment Suitable for BioEnergy Grass Production (28C/20C, 16 hr
Photoperiod with 1000W HPS HID)
Tank/Reservoir


A white tank is a
necessity in order to
keep nutrient solution
cooler from
incoming solar gain
A 4 or 5 gallon tank is
needed for ample
head space and
nutrient solution
Submersible Tank Pump


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
Used to continuously
circulate nutrient
solution
Filter is kept on during
use to keep pump from
driving inert matter thru
nozzles
Brand: Eco-Plus
Model: Eco-185
Purchased at a local
hydroponics store
Feeder Pipe Assembly


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PVC Construct
½” MPT to ½” MPT nipple
from pump to
½” FPT to ½” MPVC pipe
thread to
½” FPVCPT to 1/2” PVC slip
to
1.5” Piece of ½” PVC to
½” Tee to
Each end of feeder pipe is
3” long ½” PVC to
½” PVC slip caps
Purchased at a local
hardware store
Mist Nozzles

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Two 1/8” holes drilled
at 5.5” from center of
nozzles
180 degree nozzles
with threaded tips
Nozzles need
adjustment to spray
both sides of bucket
basket
Nozzles purchased at a
local hydroponics store
Containment Vessel with
Substrate



6” wide lip bucket
basket filled with
leca stone
Purchased at local
hydroponics store
Seedlings were
planted with crown
slightly below surface
of substrate
Nutrient Solutions
 Peter’s
Hydroponics
Special (5-11-26)
 Calcium Nitrate
(Horticultural
Grade)
 Magnesium Sulfate
 Iron Sulfate

General Guidelines

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For early rooting use less
calcium nitrate
Use iron sulfate to
maintain sufficient iron
levels for green-up of
leaf tissue
Use calcium nitrate to
push vegetative growth
once plants become
established
Change solution every47 days and clean tank
and flush substrate with
water
Nutrient Solutions (Cont)
 General
Solution

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Fertilizer Rates for Aeroponic
Peter’s Hydroponic Special (2.5 tsp/5
gallons water)
Calcium Nitrate (early growth: 0.5 tsp/5
gallons water, vegetative growth: 1.5 tsp/5
gallons water)
Magnesium Sulfate (1/4 tsp/5 gallons water)
Iron Sulfate (1/2 tsp/5 gallons water)
Greenhouse Environment

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Plant Care Facility Space
for Hydroponic Culture
28C/20C Day/Night
Temps
Energy Shade Curtains
and 1000 W HPS HID for
Optimal Lighting
Conditions
16 Hour Photoperiod with
Active Supplemental
Lighting to 700 Wm-2 Solar
Radiation
Special Thanks
I would like to thank Clinton Shipley and Andrew
D’Urso for their outstanding technical assistance
that helped create these protocols. In addition, I
would like to thank Dr. DoKyoung Lee for
providing plant material and inspiration for this
project.

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