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...
Floricultura Bench Pulling System

July 31, 2016

Automation Saves Labor And Space At Floricultura Pacific

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 People

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 Greenhouse Production Market

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
Latest Stories
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
Philips LED Lunar Greenhouse

March 29, 2016

Philips Lighting And University Of Arizona Study Shows …

A collaboration between Philips And The University of Arizona found that using energy-efficient LED lighting in a prototype lunar greenhouse resulted in an increased amount of high-quality edible lettuce while dramatically improving operational efficiency and use of resources.

Read More
Priva Tomato Deleafing Robot

March 22, 2016

Priva Developing Deleafing Robot For Tomatoes

The deleafing robot, which is designed to mimic the performance of a human while being economically viable, will be tested and evaluated by Dutch growers later this year.

Read More

February 23, 2016

How Light Diffusion Works In The Greenhouse

Ken Aguilar of SolaWrap Films shares how light diffusion technology offers many benefits for greenhouse crops.

Read More

February 22, 2016

New Greenhouse Transplanters Offering More Versatility

New transplanters on the market offer flexibility in speed, plug tray compatibility, and functionality.

Read More

February 20, 2016

Hydrogel Technology Means Growers And Their Customers C…

Water and nutrient management are critical elements for quality plant production in the greenhouse. Maintaining the right amounts of available moisture and fertilizer at all times can be pretty labor intensive, but there are tools available to help you keep these inputs at optimum levels as efficiently as possible. Recently, we visited Evonik Industries’ North Carolina production plant for to see how one of these products — Stockosorb — is made, how it works, and learn the benefits of incorporating these tools in your own operation. Learn more about Evonik Industries’ Stockosorb hydrogel product on the Stockosorb website.  

Read More
Using cables in place of a solid belt, the Echo-Veyor design doesn’t cast shadows, so plants can be grown underneath

February 19, 2016

Echo-Veyor Has Made Plant Handling Easier For Greenhous…

Growers are creating improvements in a range of functions with customized plant handling systems. Several growers have realized efficiencies through customized conveyor solutions, by working with Cherry Creek Systems, based in Colorado Springs, CO, to install its Echo-Veyor cable-driven transport system. Designed to support multiple different tray types and pot sizes, each system is custom-designed for the individual needs of the operation. It can tie into existing posts or be built into a free-standing system.     The Echo-Veyor system has helped growers like Dallas Johnson Greenhouses and Rockwell Farms increase efficiency of product handling in a variety of functions, ultimately reducing time, labor, and labor costs, and improving job functions for employees working on spacing plants, pulling and processing orders, and shipping. Dallas Johnson Greenhouses in Council Bluffs, IA, reduced labor, saved time, improved its team’s performance, and saw improved plant quality at retail after installing its Echo-Veyor shipping […]

Read More
Metrolina Greenhouses keeps a 4-acre barn filled with wood chips, sourced locally from forestry waste and old pallets. The barn can hold a three- to four-week supply of wood chips

February 18, 2016

Metrolina Greenhouses Has Improved Heating Efficiency W…

Sustainability started to become a keyword in the horticulture industry in the late 2000s, when growers began converting their heating systems to greener options to save on energy costs and reduce their impact on the environment. However, there haven’t been many operations that have invested in sustainable solutions on as large of a scale as Metrolina Greenhouses at its Huntersville, NC, headquarters. Six years later, the operation is still fully committed to its biomass heating system and everything it entails.     Metrolina first fired up its Vynke biomass system from Belgium in 2010. The four wood boilers cover 95% of the operation’s heating needs at its 201-acre main location in Huntersville, NC, and Metrolina still maintains its traditional heating systems for back up and to provide flexibility of resources. Wood chips are sourced locally, with the majority from local forestry activities like wood harvesting companies and developers. The other […]

Read More

January 19, 2016

Tips For Cherry-Picking The Right LED Lighting Solution…

If you want to find the right LED lighting solution for your greenhouse, start with these tips from top lighting manufacturers.

Read More
Feature Image Cob 700 (NewLux)

November 28, 2015

15 LED Lighting Solutions For Your Greenhouse

Narrowing in on the right LED lighting product often comes down to considering your specific crop needs and growing requirements to see what works best for your application. Here are 15 LED products to take into account when choosing the right fit for your greenhouse.

Read More

October 27, 2015

How Dallas Johnson Greenhouses Is Simplifying Shipping

Two years ago, Dallas Johnson Greenhouses, a 61-acre operation in Council Bluffs, Iowa, and No. 21 of Greenhouse Grower’s Top 100 Growers, was struggling to get its orders out. With its range of potted annuals, there were so many skus that it was impossible to get enough carts into the shipping greenhouse, and the crew couldn’t get orders processed fast enough. As a result, the operation was consistently pulling orders until midnight every night during the busy shipping season, says President and CEO Todd Johnson. So Johnson got together with Arie Van Wingerden at Cherry Creek Systems to discuss his problem, and what they came up with has changed everything, Johnson says. Inside one of Dallas Johnson Greenhouses’ existing structures, the team installed a shipping system made with Echo-Veyors, the popular cable conveyor system designed by Cherry Creek Systems. The system was placed right in the front of the greenhouse, […]

Read More
Tidal Creek Growers

October 24, 2015

Five Tips For Successful Use Of Boom Irrigation Lightin…

Michigan State University Extension shares five tips to help growers use boom irrigation lighting more effectively to accelerate flowering of long-day ornamental crops.

Read More

October 8, 2015

Industry Standards For Greenhouse Lighting On The Horiz…

As the use of LEDs has risen among greenhouse growers, so have concerns about the best way to measure and compare the many LED light products across the market. As a result, the lighting industry is responding to a call for greater transparency and the development of standardized measuring and testing methods.

Read More

September 28, 2015

11 Products For Precision Greenhouse Growing

These new options in equipment, automation, structures, lighting and software are designed to help growers run their operations with efficiency and accuracy and at a lower cost.

Read More
[gravityform id="35" title="false" description="false"]