Learn About High Pressure Aeroponics
A new breed of growers, gardeners, and scientists, are studying the field of aeroponics with renewed interest. The potential of High Pressure Aeroponics (HPA) to create larger crops in less time holds promise for the future of agriculture. HPA produces droplets in the 30-80 micron range. Roots are able to absorb droplets this size directly from the air. This means a root mass is able to achieve a higher level of efficiency. It is possible to reduce nutrient use by 90% when using HPA. The other primary benefit is a lower rate of water use. These benefits are just some of the reasons urban farms and rooftop gardens are beginning to use aeroponic technologies. If your school or organization would like to start an aeroponics program please contact us. Multiponics offers consulting, planning, equipment, and expertise to help you design and build your operation.
Brief history of aeroponics
Intensive studies into HPA were completed for NASA under the guidance of inventor Richard Stoner who commercialized aeroponic technology in 1983. Aeroponics has been implemented as an alternative to water intensive hydroponic systems worldwide. With the climate changing before our eyes these water saving technologies are fast becoming a viable alternative to conventional agriculture.
What is Aeroponics?
Aeroponics is a method of growing plants which uses air as a growth medium. When growing in a soil
medium, roots grow through and around soil. In a hydroponic system, water takes the place of soil, and
roots grow in and through water. In an aeroponic system, air is the growth medium. Roots are
suspended in air and are periodically misted with a nutrient solution. Roots are constantly in contact
with the air, allowing for an increased uptake of nutrients, water, and oxygen. Proponents of this
method argue that aeroponic growing is superior to both hydroponic and soil grow systems. Increased
efficiency means less nutrients, water, and oxygen are required. This makes aeroponic gardening a
viable means for urban farming, greenhouse growing, rooftop gardens, etc.
Aeroponics vs. High Pressure Aeroponics (HPA)
HPA is a specific subset of aeroponic growing, developed by NASA. NASA’s goal with HPA was to
create the largest amount of bio-mass with the smallest amount of input. All HPA systems are
aeroponic, but not all aeroponic systems are HPA. HPA is a kind of aeroponic method in which the
nutrient solution is misted or sprayed on the roots at a high pressure, usually around 120 PSI or so. This
solution is sprayed via nozzles, which are generally quite small. This high pressure forces the nutrient
solution out of the nozzles in the form of water droplets. The higher the pressure, the smaller the
resulting water droplet. NASA studies have indicated that there is a specifically-sized water droplet that
is taken up by plant root systems more efficiently than other sizes. This sweet spot is within the 30-80
micron diameter range. Water, oxygen, and nutrient solution are more efficiently and rapidly processed
when roots are exposed to nutrient solution droplets of this size. High pressures also atomize the
nutrient solution, furthering positive benefits. Consequently, less water, oxygen, and nutrients are
required than in a conventional growing system. HPA systems can cut nutrient use by 90%, meaning
lower costs, a “greener” product, and farming that is more environmentally friendly. Clearly, HPA is a
superior method of growing.