Michigan Patent of the Month – February 2022

Deep water culture hydroponic systems are considered the purest form of hydroponics and operate by completely submerging plant roots in nutrient solution. The plants float on top of the water like a raft. The traditional tank setup requires an extensive pipeline system to properly circulate nutrients. They utilize bottom systems which rely on gravity to properly disperse nutrients and water, making each tank reliant on the last. It also means individual tanks may have differing nutrient levels and makes it difficult to monitor a large amount of plants for health and vitality.

Flow-Rite Controls, Ltd. has designed an improved deep water culture hydroponic system that uses a circulation system which is easier to maintain and monitor. This design has tanks set up in pairs. Each tank is connected in parallel to the nutrient supply line as well as the tank drain line. A circulation pump drives the fluid throughout the system. This plumbing system is designed to maintain equal fluid levels across all grow tanks, delivering fresh nutrients to each tank simultaneously – and in equal volumes. The system uses fewer and simpler tank connections, all while being easily scaled up.

The nutrient supply tank is connected to the circulating pump. When fresh nutrients or pH change chemicals are added to the system, they are mixed within the recirculating solution and pumped to the grow tanks simultaneously. By connecting tanks in parallel rather than in series, the tanks can be ensured to be treated the same without one impacting the other. This makes it easier to scale, maintain, and monitor the system. It also makes it possible to remove a single tank for cleaning or maintenance without impairing the rest of the system.

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