Glasshouse trial proves yield benefits of optimised lighting

An innovative glasshouse lighting trial has proven that despite reducing the energy required to grow vine crops, yield increases can still be achieved.

The five-month project compared three different lighting combinations, and was conducted by CHAP at partner site Stockbridge Technology Centre, on behalf of technology solution providers, Light Science Technologies (LST).

The work used LST’s energy-efficient nurturGROW interlight and nurturGROW high power top light, trialling the following regimes – interlighting only, top lighting plus interlighting, and top lighting only.

Results showed that nurturGROW lighting can increase tomato crop yield by up to 12.1%, with top lighting being the most energy-efficient at 38.2% more fruit per kWh.

Andy Williams, Marketing Director at LST, said: “This collaboration was part of our overall strategy to work with leading agronomists and experienced growers to determine two key factors: whether the UK can increase its food security by growing more locally, and do so in an energy efficient manner at a time when energy costs are rising to record levels.

“The trial has shown the tangible gains and benefits of using an energy efficient grow light on vine crops, with further energy saved as the luminaire turns off when not needed. nurturGROW also reduces light wastage with its recyclable and reusable design, making it more sustainable.

“This all adds up to a win-win for growers and consumers, as the UK experiences ongoing food shortages and crippling costs.”

During the trial at CHAP’s Advanced Glasshouse Facility, 7,880 tomatoes were grown, collectively weighing 615.31kg and with 7449.15kWh total energy used.

Assessments included plant size and height on a weekly basis after transplanting; daily light usage in hours; weekly energy usage for each regime; and plant and foliage colour. Harvest records were also logged, based on picking fruit when ripe at a maximum of twice per week.

Lucy Plowman, Technical Liaison Officer at CHAP, oversaw the trial. She said: “CHAP was pleased to facilitate this work at our glasshouse facility alongside partner STC, to contribute towards valuable research that will optimise vine crop production.

“Lighting has a huge impact on the success of glasshouse-grown crops, particularly in a grower’s ability to extend the production season for vine crops such as tomatoes. But, recent price hikes in energy costs means it is critical to ensure it is efficient as well as effective.

“The research undertaken by LST will help growers to strike this balance, as well as address environmental concerns associated with both energy waste and produce imports.”


To discuss future projects involving experts such as Lucy, e-mail enquiries@chap-solutions.co.uk

For more information about CHAP members LST, visit https://lightsciencetech.com/