Horticultural LED Applications

New LED technologies have revolutionised the horticulture market. We’re learning more each day how plants require different spectral illumination and control to flourish. This article is part of a series from IHS exploring the ever-evolving world of horticultural LED lighting. Check out others in the series here:

According to the UN, the current world population of 7.6 billion is expected to reach 8.6 billion in 2030, 9.8 billion in 2050. Today, 56% of the world’s population live in cities with this expected to climb to 7 out of 10 by 2050. To sustain this trend, food production must increase considerably, therefore methods of efficient food production and farming are becoming more vital than ever before.

Using LED lighting in agriculture is an ideal way to increase plant growth quantity and quality. Light directly influences plant growth and therefore light from LEDs can simulate and supplement natural sunlight helping to enhance the growth and development of plants throughout their life cycle. It enables crops to be produced both out of season and in non-rural locations thus helping food producers to hit their growing production targets.

Without the use of LED lighting, crop production is limited by the availability of agricultural land, seasons, sunlight hours and more.

 

HighBay and Greenhouse LED Lighting

Plants growing in a commercial greenhouse will be exposed to some sunlight, which means that HighBay LED fixtures can be installed to supplement those natural rays. The quantity of key wavelengths can be increased, helping to increase growth rates and help boost biomass and quality of plants grown. Additionally, specific wavelengths can be chosen to mimic sunlight spectrums to increase growing periods – useful during winter months when the days are shorter and sunlight is lacking.

LED grow lights have been researched, designed and are now available to install in greenhouses to replace High-Pressure-Sodium (HPS) grow lights. These LED alternatives are much more effective and energy efficient.

LED grow lights typical requirements for Greenhouse and HighBay applications:

  • Suitable for high distances, with a high light output
  • Compact fixtures needed so that incoming sunlight is not blocked through the transparent ceilings
  • Variety of plant types can be grown, including vegetables and flowers
  • IP55 – protection against dust etc. but full waterproofing not required as under shelter

IHS recommend Genoa LED Grow Light

Designed for simple installation in small greenhouses. Genoa has a lightweight design, with an integrated heatsink for optimal thermal management and a tailored optical design. Incorporating industry-leading LEDs from amsOSRAM, 8 standard light recipes are available to suit most horticultural applications.

 

 

 

Research and Development

Producers and consumers demand more from technology every day; people want fresh vegetables, beautiful floral arrangements, and fragrant herbs all year round. Ongoing research and development help to meet this demand. Each plant species requires different spectrums and specific wavelengths for optimum growth. The right LED combination can improve a plant’s flavour and nutritional profile whilst also increasing yields and shortening growth cycles – all without genetic manipulation.

LEDs for this application need to be versatile and allow researchers to manipulate different variables, such as timed exposure to light, different wavelengths, micromole values, and different light intensities.

 

LED grow lights typical requirements for research and development:

  • Interchangeable/adaptable fixtures for variable manipulation
  • Measurable/quantifiable for precise research
  • Wide availability of wavelength spectrums
  • Custom options for recipe creation and trial
  • Some may require individual channel control, to test different wavelength combinations

Polytunnels, Benches, Shelves and Vertical Farming

LED lamps are energy efficient and emit little heat in comparison to HPS alternatives. This makes them ideal for indoor growing applications including climate chambers, polytunnels, and vertical farms.

Indoor farms are protected from natural weather issues like drought and flooding. They are not dependent on location and therefore crops can be grown in urban areas, close to the source of demand. Being closer to the consumer lends itself to much reduced CO2 emissions due to the shorter trips the product takes to get to market. Growing produce in indoor environments also reduces the need for insecticides and herbicides, which also has its own benefits.

Research has shown that based on a diet of 2000kcal 50,000+ people would be able to eat for an entire year from one vertical farm of 30 stories. – This is now possible due to ever-evolving LED technologies.

LED grow lights typical requirements for vertical farming:

  • Numerous layers to multiply the growing area
  • Very short distances to fit as many layers as possible
  • Low head and high uniformity requirements
  • Replacement for sunlight

LED grow lights typical requirements for benches and shelves:

  • Thin profile and compact fixtures to suit space requirements
  • IP55 for protection against damp and dust
  • Range of available LED recipe options for a variety of plant types and stages

LED grow lights typical requirements for polytunnels:

  • Suitable for hanging and mounting
  • IP55 – protection against damp and dust
  • Range of available LED recipe options for a variety of plant types and stages

 IHS recommend Florence LED Grow Lights

Florence LED Grow Lights are designed for low or no-sunlight applications, maximising growth potential whilst minimising initial costs and on-going running costs.

Florence is no deeper in size than standard fluorescent tubes. With standard 100-240V AC mains input, installation is simple. Multiple recipes are available for most horticultural applications.

For enquiries, please contact Intelligent Horticultural Solutions on +44 (0) 1635 294606 or info@i-hled.co.uk

Intelligent Horticultural Solutions is a division of Intelligent Group Solutions Ltd

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