The Importance of Carbon Dioxide

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is extremely important in a plants lifecycle; most importantly in photosynthesis. The carbon in CO2 is the key building block for organic compounds such as glucose that are required for plant growth.   The process begins with tiny openings on the leaves of plants called stomata that exchange CO2 in the air for pure oxygen in the plants. The carbon is broken from its oxygen bonds through photosynthesis and used to convert light energy from the sun or grow lights into chemical energy that “feeds” the plants allowing them to develop and grow.   Increased levels of carbon can even boost plants growth resulting in more and larger fruits and yields.

Carbon dioxide is critical in indoor hydroponic systems because unlike outside there is not an unlimited source of the gas.  CO2 can be quickly depleted in enclosed spaces which could decreased or cease plant growth.  In indoor hydroponic systems there are two systems that can be used to increase carbon dioxide levels and maximize plant growth rates and yields.  CO2 emitter systems do exactly what they name suggests, emits CO2 from pressurized tanks.   The CO2 can be released continually or in burst before it is mixed with the air by an oscillating fan.  Emitter systems are ideal for small gardens that have to worry about heat.  The other systems are known as CO2 generator systems and works by burning propane or natural gas.  These systems use a pilot light, flow meter, and burner.  The burning of the gas releases CO2 as a byproduct of the combustion of gas and oxygen.   This system is better suited for larger rooms that are better equipped to deal with the heat they produce.