LED Greenhouse Lighting Offers New Possibilities

LED Lighting Offers New Possibilities

 

by DRAKE STALIONS

LIGHT-EMITTING diodes (LEDs) have long been recognized for their distinct benefits over traditional lighting technologies. Benefits such as long life, energy efficiency and flexibility in design and application have led designers to choose LEDs for a myriad of lighting applications.

The evolution of LED technology over the past decade has been remarkable, with the LED and the solid-state lighting (SSL) market growing significantly over the past several years. However, when compared to the rest of the lighting industry, the introduction of LEDs into horticultural applications is much more recent and has only materialized over the last one to two years.

The introduction of LEDs into the horticultural market is largely due to significant advancements in LED technology that allow for the manufacturing of high-power packages in specific wavelengths. Greenhouse operators and other commercial growers can benefit greatly from the energy savings and improved efficiency that LED lighting can deliver.

For plants to grow well in a greenhouse environment they need the correct temperature and the right light to allow for the optimal absorption of chlorophyll, the primary pigment responsible for photosynthesis and plant growth. In recent years, academic studies have proven that plants are more sensitive to particular wavelengths of light and demonstrate increased chlorophyll absorption and photosynthesis when exposed to red (~640 to 660 nanometers) and blue (~450 nanometer) light. These studies have shown that the light absorption spectral peaks for chlorophyll fall within the ranges of 400 to 500nm and 600 to 700nm, as demonstrated in Figure 1.

Light Emitting Diodes vs. High-Pressure Sodium

High-pressure sodium (HPS) lamps are the most commonly used light source for supplemental lighting in greenhouses. Comparing the spectrum of HPS lamps with the chlorophyll absorption peaks shows that most of the light output from HPS lamps falls outside the peak absorption ranges of the chlorophyll. Also, a typical 2-acre greenhouse using HPS lamps will consume about 10,000 mega watt hours of electricity per year. Research has found that only 7 percent of light created by HPS lamps is absorbed by plants, and much of the energy created with these lamps is wasted due to inefficiencies.

By converting from HPS to LED lighting, energy savings can be achieved. In addition to the energy savings, using LEDs with specific spectra designed to match the peak absorption wavelengths of chlorophyll can ensure that the light output is much more effective in stimulating photosynthesis and plant growth. By utilizing state-of-the-art, energy-efficient LED technology, there is a significant opportunity to stimulate plant growth through the use of targeted wavelengths, while drastically reducing energy consumption.

Improvements In LED Technology

LED manufacturers have recognized the huge potential benefits for LED lighting in horticulture. Thanks to advancements in the technology, it is now possible to deliver high lumen output within a very compact package, which is ideal for clustering many LEDs into one small luminaire. 

By designing luminaires to utilize a combination of LEDs at the two wavelengths closest to the peaks of the chlorophyll absorption spectra (455nm and 660nm), it is possible to achieve greenhouse lighting that realizes an increase in healthy plant growth and a simultaneous decrease in energy consumption.

A recent pilot project to test the replacement of conventional greenhouse light sources with special wavelength LEDs has yielded a 40 percent reduction in energy consumption and a 20 percent reduction in chemical fertilizers used for healthy plant growth. Further advancements in LED diode technology are also having a positive impact, and LEDs are expected to achieve 45 percent efficiency for 455nm and 660nm wavelengths by the end of 2011

Implementation Of LED Lighting

Greenhouses and growers in the horticulture industry are starting to employ LED lighting using several different methods. LEDs can be used to conserve energy in traditional ceiling lighting, as well as multilayer cultivation (modular vertical layers) and inter-lighting (between or among plants).  Multilayer and inter-lighting can be particularly advantageous in stimulating plant growth and reducing energy consumption as the light can be more closely directed at the plants, with less light and energy lost to the surrounding environment.

Many traditional lighting technologies cannot be used for these methods of lighting as they emit too much heat, which can be damaging to the plants. It is estimated that the LED horticulture lighting market will reach roughly $20 million by 2013 for LED components alone, mostly in multilayer cultivation and inter-lighting applications.

Other Positive Impact & Future Possibilities

Recent studies have also shown that certain wavelengths and color temperatures of light can increase the amount, weight or biomass of fruit and vegetable production in certain plants. By using more predefined light, the joules spent per kilogram of produce is reduced. With the right combination of light, it is possible to increase plants’ yield by more than 20 percent, while also improving produce quality and lengthening the production season.

Other wavelengths also contribute to increased photosynthesis rates and plant growth, and research is being conducted to investigate the positive effects of additional saturated wavelengths of light, including infrared (IR), to stimulate plant growth at various stages of the growing process. By further advancing LED technology and our understanding of how particular wavelengths influence plant processes and growth, it may be possible to revolutionize the horticulture industry.

About the author: Drake Stalions is marketing and business development manager of solid state lighting, OSRAM Opto Semiconductors.

Topics:

Leave a Reply

One comment on “LED Greenhouse Lighting Offers New Possibilities

  1. Greetings, Allow me to introduce to you, Stray Light Optical Technologies, makers of the "Venus Grow Luminaire" the new light-emitting plasma (plasma light) designed for the modern greenhouse. An ideal fixture for your greenhouse that replaces 400 watt metal halide and HPS fixtures. Helps augment the sun on overcast days, extends the growing season and is made with IP67 rated electrical components. We can also tailor multiple control options and can completely customize any application for you! -Long life of 30,000 hours -17,000 source lumens -95 CRI color rendering -rapid start/dims to 20% -compact emitting area -72 lumens/watt Give us a call today at 812-752-9104 812 S. Lake Road South Scottsburg, Indiana 47170 USA Stray Light Optical Technologies, Inc.

More From Equipment...

April 17, 2015

Sakata Seed Uses California Spring Trials Display Plants To Give Back

Sakata Seed America is putting its post-CAST (California Spring Trials) plants and flowers to good use to support events in local California communities of Salinas and Morgan Hill. The plants, along with donations through Sakata's Charitable Giving Program, will support three fun-filled community events that promote healthy lifestyles and support the agricultural industry.

Read More
Hakonochloa macra Aureola v

April 17, 2015

Ornamental Grasses — A Few Thoughts

Grasses have been embraced by growers, landscape architects and retailers, and are an important component in wholesale and resale sales. Allan Armitage shares some popular grasses, one to avoid and a few to use with caution.

Read More
PW_CAST15

April 17, 2015

Allan Armitage’s Favorite Plants From Proven Winners, Syngenta And Danziger

Between visiting California Spring Trial giants like Proven Winners, Syngenta and Danziger, Allan Armitage saw a lot of great plants in one day. Despite the size of the challenge, Dr. Armitage finds a few favorites he thinks you should try.

Read More
Latest Stories
Growers are looking for low-cost options for temperature control, like circulating fans and exhaust fans.

April 10, 2015

New Ways To Give Growers Control Of The Greenhouse Envi…

From heating systems to circulation fans, manufacturing companies are finding new ways to help growers control the greenhouse environment, save on energy costs and streamline production.

Read More
Polyarch Berns

March 12, 2015

The Energy Efficient Greenhouse

New coverings technology means today’s films, plastics, shade cloths and climate screens slash heating and cooling costs while improving crop productivity year round. We checked with manufacturers to see what’s new and uncovered some best practices for buttoning up your greenhouse. Here’s what you need to know about the latest trends.

Read More
FormFlex_MTZ Hanging Basket

March 11, 2015

4 New Ways To Automate Your Operation

These new automation products can help streamline labor-intensive tasks, saving time and labor and increasing productivity.

Read More
Outfitting Your Greenhouse

February 24, 2015

Save Energy With The Right Greenhouse Glazing

The glazing you choose can make a big difference in your energy bill and the uniformity of your crops.

Read More
Michigan State University Extension

February 24, 2015

Ethylene From Defective Greenhouse Heaters Damages Crop…

Malfunctioning greenhouse heaters can lead to crop damage from ethylene and carbon monoxide induced illness for workers. Michigan State University's Extension educators Tom Dudek and Randy Beaudry teach you how to recognize the symptoms and check greenhouse heaters to avoid the concern.

Read More
Havest Automation Robot

February 18, 2015

Robots Grab Hold Of Growers’ Material Handling Needs

Harvest Automation’s HV-100 robots automate one of the hardest, most labor-intensive jobs at growing operations – plant spacing. With more technology coming, investing in robots could become even more realistic for growers of all sizes.

Read More

February 1, 2015

4 Lighting Products For Your Operation

These new lighting products have been developed for maximum energy efficiency in greenhouse production. Check out the slideshow to see which products are right for your operation.

Read More
LumiGrow

January 30, 2015

LumiGrow Expands Customer Base In 2014

LumiGrow, Inc. is adding more than 125 new commercial, governmental and research customers to its roster of customers, and beyond the new accounts added this year, many existing customers significantly increased the number of LumiGrow products they use and research customers made LumiGrow a part of their efforts to add to the body of knowledge about spectral science.

Read More
harvest automation featured image

January 13, 2015

Harvest Automation Extends Robot Rental Program

Harvest Automation's robot rental program proved to be such a success for the company that it is being extended through the spring. The program was unveiled last year as a way for customers to get started with HV-100 robots.

Read More

January 9, 2015

Innovations In Irrigation

Need help improving your irrigation? Check out these new products.

Read More

December 2, 2014

Hanna Instruments, Inc. Introduces pH Electrode With Bl…

Hanna Instruments recently released HALO, a professional pH probe with Bluetooth Smart (Bluetooth 4.0) technology that transmits measurement data directly to an Apple iPad running the Hanna Lab App.

Read More

November 24, 2014

Biomass Six Years Later: Would Pleasant View Do It Agai…

Pleasant View gardens installed its first biomass boiler six years ago and has added a second one since. Now it’s reaping the benefits of lower heating costs and dollars saved.

Read More

November 18, 2014

7 New Media And Light Products For Greenhouse Productio…

New media and light products cover a broad sweep of growing conditions.

Read More

October 21, 2014

GreenClocks New Generation City Farm Fitted With Philip…

Osaka Prefectural University’s new city farm, which has been fitted out with Philips LEDs, opened September 19.

Read More

October 1, 2014

Harvest Automation Introduces Robot Rental Program

Harvest Automation has unveiled a new introductory robot rental program as a way for customers to get started with HV-100 robots.

Read More

September 15, 2014

Precision Horticulture: What Piece Of Equipment Or Syst…

Let us know what product you can't live without.

Read More

September 15, 2014

New Products For Precision Growing

Increase efficiency with these new offerings in equipment, automation, structures and software.

Read More

August 12, 2014

LEDs Comparable To High Pressure Sodium Lamps For Cutti…

In his Cultivate'14 presentation on lighting the future of young plants with LEDs, Christopher Currey, Iowa State University, shared recent research on how LED lights stack up against high pressure sodium lamps for liner and plug production.

Read More