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PhytoLux solution to low energy LED lighting for greenhouses

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PhytoLux is at the forefront of a unique engineering approach to LED plant growth lighting technology with proven results that provide a commercially viable option for the sector to reduce costs, by reducing the energy consumption

Having worked in partnership since 2011 with over 50 UK clients, embracing 26 universities, 10 research institutions and 18 commercial growers, PhytoLux has developed a family of plant growth lights to provide a low energy, high light scattering solution.

This unique plant lighting solution paves the way for:

  • Manipulation of light and spectral wavelength, advancing scientific research into plant physiology

  • Improvement in plant sustainability and nutritional content

  • Suppression of insect blight and plant disease

 

Description of the process for the case study (green solution)

One of the PhytoLux products, the Attis-7, was used in collaboration with Stubbins Marketing Ltd. to see the benefits for  extending the growing season by setting plants earlier and by harvesting deeper into the end of the season.

 

Stubbins Marketing Ltd., a privately owned company, has been established for 50 years and currently grows fresh products for some of the UK's major food retailers in more than 40 hectares of glasshouse. On 1st October 2014, they commenced a trial at their Fendrayton site in Cambridgeshire, to gain an understanding of the effect of PhytoLux's Attis-7 growth lights on tomato plants versus traditional growth lights (High Pressure Sodium lights, also called SON-T).

The initial ‘post-season trial' commenced in week 40 and ran for a period of 5 weeks.

After 5 weeks plant growth was equal for those grown under the LED's and those under SON-T's , with both having 5 trusses and between 16-20 fruit per truss. However, there was a major difference with the extent of ripened fruit being harvested, with those grown under the Attis-7 LED growth lights producing an average of 14.8 harvested fruit per truss versus only 8.4 for those grown under the SON-T's. Combined with the expected 65% minimum energy saving from using the Attis-7, this was an extremely positive result.

Effects/Results

In addition to the successful story of Attis-7 implementation with Stubbins Marketing Ltd., a number of well established LED manufacturers are able to demonstrate the clear benefits resulting from utilising LED technology to aid and enhance plant growth. In the particular case of Stubbins Marketing Ltd., the business obtained a lower energy consumption (a minimum of -65%) and a lower glasshouse heat-load.

Effects of the Attis-7 were also visible on the crop yield and quality, since the average ripened/harvested fruit from LED was 14/8 versus 8.4 average from SON-T.

The LED lighting also delivers high scatter and maximum light penetration through engineered angled heads, and light output equivalent to 400W or 600W High Pressure Sodium lights (HPS) resulting in a less light pollution, and a broad spectrum light for improved quality and yield.

Other benefits that can be associated with Attis-7, as well as the other Phytolux lighting solutions are the followings:

  • Longer unit life

  • Lower maintenance

  • Higher light penetration.

 

Enablers/Incentives

Key to the successful development of this solution was the collaboration with researchers and potential consumers of our PhytoLux products. Indeed, by sharing knowledge with UK research scientists, horticulturists and growers, PhytoLux has developed a family of low energy LED plant growth lights with proven results that provide a commercially viable option for the sector.

 

Barriers/challenges and Lessons learnt

Whilst an outright purchase is simple, it can impact short-term cash flow, undesirable if coinciding with heavy seasonal costs. The PhytoLux lease finance option allows for early adoption of LED technology without affecting business viability. This is the reason why PhytoLux established a partnership with a number of lease financiers to address this.

Further details

How was the green solution financed?: 
Would you characterize the green solution as: 
Medium to low capital intensive investment (i.e. €3,000 -€10,000)
Capital costs description: 
PhytoLux is in partnership with a number of lease financiers to offer customers a flexible financing solution to match their requirements and circumstances.
Operating and maintenance costs: 
Yes, low O&M costs
Energy consumption description: 
Up to 70% energy saving over conventional lighting. Photosynthetically active radiation, often abbreviated PAR, designates the spectral range (wave band) of solar radiation from 400 to 700 nanometers that photosynthetic organisms are able to use in the pr
Material consumption savings description: 
Improved plant response and yield translates into reduced use of resources for cultivation, such as water and nutrients