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Horticulture 3.0: Controlled Crop Farming with LEDs

 

“To start with we are seeing new forms of indoor farming and layers. Dickson Despommier, Professor at Columbia University, developed the first concept of vertical farming in 1999. This quickly went from rooftop gardens to complete flats with cultivation floors. At PlantLab we also have experience with this.

But insofar as developments are concerned there is more going on. Energy-wise the current greenhouses are outdated. Incidence of light cannot be regulated, a lot of costly moisture and CO2 escapes when windows are opened. Sudden bright sunlight can destroy a carefully created climate all at once. The many stands holding up the greenhouse roof are in the way of camera-operated cultivation. Plant Production Units remedy all these limitations in one go.

The second development is the availability of special LED lighting. With LED lighting we only provide wavelengths which are useful for growth and development of the crop. Contrary to the sun, traditional assimilation lighting and TL lighting, LED only omits one colour of light. No energy is wasted with light spectra that are not used or less used by the plant. This means we can provide exactly the colours which the plant needs for photosynthesis. Plants mainly need blue and red light for photosynthesis and far-red, a colour not even visible to the human eye but visible to the plant. The relationships between the light colours determine the form of the plant.”

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