28 May 2019
Smarter lighting: more efficient energy consumption and higher crop yield
Technological developments around grow light mean new possibilities for growers. Developments in light sources and light recipes give growers better control over crop yields and characteristics while reducing energy costs. Crops that were previously not suited to HPS lighting can now, with the right light recipe, benefit from the advances in LED technology. There is also a trend for growers to make the step from HPS to LED or hybrid (a combination of HPS and LED). One reason for this is that a higher light intensity is desired, but with lower energy costs and without additional radiant heat.
At the same time, the choice of a (new) light source is dependent on many variables. The most important of these are the grower's objective and the associated business case. Aspects such as greenhouse construction, available CHP capacity, cultivation strategy, etc., are also important. All of these variables are plotted in specially-developed software to create the ideal cost and yield profile for a grower.
More efficient energy consumption, lower maintenance costs
Once a light source has been chosen, the operational costs should be as low as possible. Obviously you will want to maximise the lifespan of the grow light installation, but you will also want cost-efficient cultivation. The Hortisense Grow Light Software plays a part in monitoring the grow light installation, meaning that it operates within the right parameters, lasts longer, and necessary maintenance can be better anticipated. This software also monitors the efficiency of the crop’s grow light conversion. After all, efficient control of light on the crop is essential to your operational management. It ensures that the crop yield per m² is maximised, while reducing energy costs. The example shows the extent to which the plant efficiently converts the received light into assimilates (sugars), and thus into crop or fruit growth. The light level on this crop is most effective in zone A (see graph).
The point at which a plant optimally converts light into sugars (i.e. 100%) varies from crop to crop and is constantly influenced by the greenhouse's relative humidity, CO₂, and temperature. The optimum can therefore differ from minute to minute. Smart grow light software helps to monitor this optimum, so you can make adjustments in a timely fashion and save on energy costs by simply switching off the grow light. In phase B, the effectiveness of the crop's light exposure gradually decreases. There is still additional yield, but there are also costs incurred (such as energy or depreciation). The light efficiency graph helps you to adjust the light level based on the needs of the crop.
Grow light success stories
Dutch growers have often run successful businesses for generations and want to continue to do so in a sector that is constantly innovating. Some of these growers have shared their success stories of innovative lighting methods for various crops.
Would you like more information on the possibilities for your crop?
Hortilux is happy to give you more information about grow light options. Come and visit us at GreenTech, where you’ll find us in hall 8, booth 433 between 11 and 13 June in RAI Amsterdam. Naturally you're also welcome to contact us by sending an email to email@example.com or phoning +31 (0) 174 286 628.