What is Plasma Agriculture
The term “Plasma Agriculture” encompasses several processes involving the use of non-thermal plasma within the agriculture field of science. To be more specific, plasma agriculture generally involves the conditioning of air and irrigation water by passing them through a high voltage plasma discharge like the one shown to the right. Within the plasma field the oxygen and nitrogen components of air become highly ionized and unstable, creating a wide assortment of highly reactive species such as ozone (O3), nitric oxide (NO), nitrite (NO2), nitrate (NO3), hydroxide (OH), nitrous acid (HNO2) and nitric acid (HNO3). These gas phase radicals include super oxidizers, nitrogen compounds that are essential for plant growth and ph balancing acids. When irrigation water is added to the plasma many of the gas phase compounds become suspended in the water. Of particular interest is the nitrate because of it’s high value as the primary nitrogen compound used by all plants from algae to the largest trees.
Nitrogen is an essential element in biological molecules, such as nucleotides, amino acids, and proteins, and is therefore mandatory for healthy plant growth and development. In fact, the health and performance of nearly all plants, including issues of fitness, yield, nutrient uptake efficiency, or susceptibility to biological and environmental stresses is highly dependent on nitrogen mineral nutrition.
Many plants are able to fix atmospheric nitrogen into organic forms through symbiotic relationships with soil microbes, but most plants obtain their nitrogen directly from the soil via absorption of inorganic and organic forms of nitrogen. The in-soil concentrations of various forms of N (e.g., organic N, ammonium, nitrate, nitrite, nitrous oxide) depend on soil type, temperature, environmental weather conditions and the activities of microorganisms.
HOW WE FIT INTO PLASMA AGRICULTURE
The NitroPonics® technology uses a non-thermal plasma discharge to fix atmospheric oxygen and nitrogen into pure nitrate form (NO3). The NO3 is then suspended in irrigation water using a proprietary water/plasma interface. Our system is the only commercially ready technology like it in the world today.
As a result, we are able to provide three treatment technologies in one device:
- The NitroPonics® Water Treatment: converts oxygen and nitrogen from air into Nitrate (NO3) and reactive oxygen species. These compounds are dissolved into irrigation water using our proprietary plasma/water interface. The resulting Nitroponics plasma treated water provides plants with the ideal form of nitrogen in NO3 along with high levels of reactive oxygen which is ideal for fighting off water borne diseases such as Pythium.
- NitroPonics® Plasma Seed Treatment: Plasma agriculture also includes the treatment of seeds by exposing them directly to the plasma filaments and ionized gasses exiting the plasma reactor. More information regarding the treatment of seeds with plasma can be found on the Plasma Seed Treatment tab
- NitroPonics® Plasma Sub-Surface Irrigation Treatment: GreenPath Industries is the only known producer of a technology that delivers both gas and liquid phase components exiting the plasma reactor directly to individual plant root areas. More information regarding this technology can be found on the Plasma Sub Surface Irrigation tab.