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...
Visser PC 16 Transplanter feature

February 13, 2017

How to Find a Greenhouse Transplanter for Every Grower’s Budget

Equipment manufacturers have recognized a void in the market for machinery that appeals to growers of all sizes and budgets. Here are some affordable options to consider investing in to improve your operation’s efficiency.

Read More
ISO Cutting Machine

February 4, 2017

Getting to the Next Generation of Greenhouse Automation

The most successful growers in the future will be those that are willing to accept and invest in new technology.

Read More
TopCrop Monitor (Priva) feature

February 2, 2017

The Latest Updates in Greenhouse Environmental Controls

Constant monitoring of your greenhouse climate is critical, especially when you can’t be there in person. Here’s a look at what manufacturers have developed to make this process more efficient and effective.

Read More
Latest Stories
Visser PC 16 Transplanter feature

February 13, 2017

How to Find a Greenhouse Transplanter for Every Grower&…

Equipment manufacturers have recognized a void in the market for machinery that appeals to growers of all sizes and budgets. Here are some affordable options to consider investing in to improve your operation’s efficiency.

Read More
ISO Cutting Machine

February 4, 2017

Getting to the Next Generation of Greenhouse Automation

The most successful growers in the future will be those that are willing to accept and invest in new technology.

Read More
TopCrop Monitor (Priva) feature

February 2, 2017

The Latest Updates in Greenhouse Environmental Controls

Constant monitoring of your greenhouse climate is critical, especially when you can’t be there in person. Here’s a look at what manufacturers have developed to make this process more efficient and effective.

Read More
DRAMM PulsFOG

February 1, 2017

DRAMM: 75 Years of Innovation

This manufacturer and distributor of horticultural tools and equipment has a long history of developing inventive new technology that solves problems for its customers.

Read More
Botany Lane Greenhouses

January 27, 2017

Why Botany Lane Grows Poinsettias On Capillary Mats

A move to watering mats cut water and fertilizer use, production time, and labor for this Colorado-based grower.

Read More
Ever Bloom Robot Sprayer feature

January 23, 2017

New Automation Systems Improve Spraying and Harvesting

In response to increasing regulations on labor, Ever-Bloom Inc. decided to invest in new automation technology that also dramatically improves efficiency.

Read More
Bouldin and Lawson Precision Needle Seeder feature

January 19, 2017

How You Can Get More Precise With Your Seeder

Bouldin & Lawson’s Precision Needle Seeder is designed to improve accuracy when sowing small, difficult seeds.

Read More
Silver Bullet Heaters (Heat Star By Enerco) Feature

November 28, 2016

The Latest In Greenhouse Heating And Cooling Products

New developments in heating, cooling, ventilation, and humidity control technology are designed to help you manage your greenhouse environment more efficiently. Check out some of the latest offerings from leading manufacturers.

Read More
north-creek-nurseries-gutter-connected-greenhouse-feature

November 23, 2016

How Greenhouse Technology At North Creek Nurseries Expe…

The new structure is the latest step in a lean flow efficiency process designed to help the company cut waste, drive down shrink, and increase profits.

Read More
Sensaphone alarms system

November 21, 2016

Five Things To Consider Before Purchasing A Greenhouse …

A greenhouse alarm can be the difference between you and a major catastrophe that results in crop losses. Before you make a purchase, take these factors into account.

Read More
LED lights used in greenhouse

November 4, 2016

Evaluating Greenhouse Supplemental Lighting For Young A…

Researchers at Purdue and Michigan State University compare young and finished plant production under LED toplighting and HPS lamps to determine which source is most effective.

Read More
greenpower-led-production-module-philips-lighting

October 18, 2016

Lighting Research Center Is Surveying Growers On Supple…

The Center, part of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, is looking for commercial growers to participate in an online survey regarding supplemental greenhouse lighting.

Read More
Chemical hopper

October 3, 2016

New Soil Mix Technology Generates High-Precision Greenh…

Advancements in soil mixers help growers achieve the highest level of automation and efficiency to create the ideal growing media for every type of crop.

Read More
Floricultura Bench Pulling System

July 31, 2016

Automation Saves Labor And Space At Floricultura Pacifi…

This Salinas, CA, orchid grower brings plants to its workers through automation that saves valuable time and takes full advantage of available growing space.

Read More
Harvest Automation HV 100 Feature

May 27, 2016

Harvest Automation Robot Helps You Move Plants Without …

The Harvest Automation HV-100 robot units use lasers and sensors to handle some of the most labor-intensive tasks in the greenhouse.

Read More
HV-100 Robots (Harvest Automation)

May 3, 2016

Harvest Automation Makes Strong Commitment To Greenhous…

The company recently announced it is selling off its robotic warehouse automation business to focus more on providing robotic materials handling to the greenhouse, vegetable, and fruit markets.

Read More
Priva FS Reader

May 2, 2016

What’s New In Greenhouse Environmental Controls

Growers today are looking for systems that save energy, are easy to use, and can be accessed remotely. New products from leading manufacturers are designed to tap into these needs.

Read More
Sentinel In The Greenhouse Feature

April 13, 2016

Monitor Your Greenhouse Conditions Without A Web Connec…

The Sentinel system from Sensaphone provides 24/7 monitoring of temperatures, power outages, and other potential problems, in locations where connectivity is unavailable.

Read More