Highlights From the First-Ever LED Lighting Research Summit

Erik Runkle at LED Research Summit
Dr. Erik Runkle at the LED Research Summit

Philips Lighting and Colorado State University (CSU) recently collaborated to host the first-ever LED Horticulture Lighting Research Summit. The inaugural event, held on CSU’s campus, brought together a group of university researchers and other experts allied to the horticulture industry to share key findings from recent research reports and facilitate a discussion on the use and application of LEDs.

“Our recent R&D collaboration with Philips Lighting enables us to use new LED technology to focus our research and cultivation studies,” says Dr. Steve Newman, Ph.D, event host and Greenhouse Crops Extension Specialist and Professor of Floriculture at CSU. “We’re proud of the work we are doing here and excited about the potential it offers horticulture students and the horticulture industry.”

“The research summit provided an excellent opportunity for leading researchers and growers to share their experiences with LED lighting on a wide range of crops,” says Erik Runkle of Michigan State University. “The ability to discuss many of the opportunities (and constraints) helped provide directions for future LED research to move the implementation of this technology forward.”

The Research Summit kicked off with an evening reception and tour of Colorado State University’s new Horticulture Research Center in Fort Collins, CO, which opened in 2015. The $7.5 million facility is outfitted entirely with Philips Horticulture LED lighting, including Philips GreenPower LED Toplighting, Flowering Lamps, Interlighting, and Production Modules.

During the event, the attending researchers shared highlights from their recent research projects focused on various applications with LED technology. They also discussed the potential of both current and emerging applications of LED lighting in agriculture. Presentations were made by Runkle; Dr. Bruce Bugbee of Utah State University; Dr. Ricardo Hernandez of North Carolina State University; Dr. Paul Karlovich of C. Raker & Sons; Dr. Wim van Ieperen of Wageningen University; Travis Higginbotham of Battlefield Farms; and Dr. Bill Bauerle of Colorado State University.

Several other presentations investigated:
• The use of LED technology in supplemental lighting and the impact on chemical plant growth regulators
• The photoperiodic response of plants to LEDs
• The use of LEDs as sole-source lighting in plug propagation
• Growing hops in a greenhouse under LEDs

A question and answer session and open discussion followed each presentation.

“The ability to beneficially change plant shape with unique light spectra has now made LEDs a cost-effective option for several crops in commercial greenhouse applications,” says Bugbee, whose presentation examined LED’s commercial application value in his presentation: “Six Considerations for Determining the Value of LEDs.”

“LEDs have the potential to revolutionize our approach to growing, as we attempt to satisfy an environmentally concerned consumer,” says Higginbotham, Research and Development Manager at Battlefield Farms. “LEDs can be a tool to reduce our environmental impact through energy savings, and improve plant growth efficiency.”

“It’s important that we comprehend the knowledge and expertise of this group to learn and gain a better understanding of what they see as the challenges and applications for growers as the adoption of LEDs increases across a broad range of growing environments,” says Ron DeKok, Business Development Director of Philips Lighting.

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