Vertical Farming Facility Installs Efficient Horticultural LED Lighting

by | Oct 22, 2018

This article is included in these additional categories:

LED lighting

(Photo: Plant racks lit by Arize LED lighting at a new facility in the UK. Credit: CHAP, STC, and Current)

A newly opened state-of-the-art vertical farming research facility in the UK uses energy-efficient horticultural lighting to boost plant growth. The Vertical Farming Development Facility in Selby, North Yorkshire, has four tiers of cropping racks lit by Arize LED lighting.

The facility was developed in partnership between the Crop Health and Protection Center (CHAP) and Stockbridge Technology Center (STC) so that growers can test and model their individual urban farm setup prior to investment. This “farm of the future” receives support from the government agency Innovate UK.

As city populations grow, so does the demand for fresh produce, says Rhydian Beynon-Davies, head of novel growing systems at STC.

“The focus of this new facility is to support the growers who are taking this bold step into the future of farming,” he said. “By developing controlled environment grow systems integrated with LED lighting, we can demonstrate how, through technology, urban farming can improve the supply and nutritional value of food in a way that is commercially viable.”

The facility has two identical grow rooms with a total growing area of nearly 750 square feet (228 square meters). Full climate control, a recirculating hydroponics system, and futuristic propagation and germination rooms are also among the features.

Four tiers of cropping racks are lit by approximately 2,500 feet of Arize LED lighting, a range of horticultural lighting products from GE’s energy-focused company Current. The facility’s developers say that this lighting delivers a balanced spectrum of red and blue wavelengths that will help boost the development of a broad range of plants.

Mustard, kale, and basil are among the plants currently being grown, Farmers Guardian reported. Beynon-Davies told the publication that LED lighting can influence characteristics like taste. “For basil, the percentage of blue in the light spectrum makes a massive difference to volatile compounds,” he said.

The high luminaire efficacy of Arize results in lower material cost, reduced energy consumption, and reduced CO2 emissions, according to Current.

“By focusing on combining the most effective wavelengths with the optimal environmental conditions, we can help growers outpace traditional methods by creating more ‘farmable space’ in industrial and urban areas, increasing global harvests in a way that is both commercially and environmentally sustainable,” says Malcolm Yare, horticulture business development manager for Current by GE.

In April, Current collaborated with Morgan Stanley to upgrade lighting at more than 600 retail branches, reducing lighting-related energy consumption by as much as 50% in some locations. Then in July GE’s startup teamed up with Nokia to bring smart city technology to municipalities across Canada.

Additional articles you will be interested in.

Stay Informed

Get E+E Leader Articles delivered via Newsletter right to your inbox!

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Share This