Optimising lighting to reduce glasshouse energy use

Reducing the energy required to grow glasshouse vine crops is being investigated during an innovative lighting trial.

The six-month project compares three different lighting combinations, with the ultimate aim of reducing energy costs for growers, without negatively impacting crop yield.

Work is being conducted by Agri-Tech Innovation Centre, Crop Health and Protection (CHAP) at partner site Stockbridge Technology Centre, on behalf of technology solution providers, Light Science Technologies (LST).

The trial centres around LST’s nurturGROW interlight innovation – an energy efficient grow light that runs on less power due to being located closer to the crop. Positioning closer to the vine means more light reaches the crop within the canopy growing area, resulting in less waste and energy required. This is supported further as the lighting unit switches off when not required.

Marketing Director at LST, Andy Williams. said: “What we’re aiming to do is find that ‘sweet spot’ by striking the right balance between quality and energy usage.

“The collaboration with CHAP enables us 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.”

To find the optimum balance between energy use and yield, the trial focuses on measuring energy expenditure per kilogramme of fruit, specifically, tomatoes.

Lucy Plowman, Technical Liaison Officer at CHAP, said: “We’re seeing significant developments in growth in the primary stages of the trial as it’s already revealing the lighting’s potential for increasing tomato production and quality.

“We look forward to gathering the results after its conclusion.”

An additional benefit of the nurturGROW system is that it is recyclable and reusable, further improving the sustainability credentials of vine crop production.

This, plus food security, are key issues for UK growers as they strive to increase production during the next decade. The target is to see half of the tomatoes eaten in Britain being grown locally by 2030.

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