Sunday, February 8, 2009

Harvesting sunlight

If the incoming sunlight on earth is not harvested the very day, it is lost forever. Most of this is radiated back to the universe the very same night.
In India, every sq ft of area receiving 10 hrs daylight receives 1250 k cal of solar insolation. This if harvested the very day, will provide one time full meal to an adult. Photosynthesis is the main process by which solar energy is absorbed. However only mature green leaves of plant can harvest 1 - 1.5 % of this energy received. i.e. 12 - 16 cal. This corresponds to 3-4 gms of sugar. The distribution of the 3 - 4 gms of sugar is shown below.

The increase in canopy required to harvest maximum sunlight can be achieved by pruning and canopy management. For this the knowledge of 5 stages of growth in the life cycle of plants is very helpful.

The 5 stages in life cycle of plants are

Childhood, puberty, youth, maturity and old age.

These stages generaly are of equal duration. External intervention by humans at the proper stage such as pruning is most effective in increasing canopy and storage in stems.
For achieving this growth in canopy, soil ( Amrut Mitti) required in 1 sq ft area is 4 litres. As canopy increases Amrut mitti is added proportionately near the active root zone.

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