Horticultural Lighting Conference:

"LED in greenhouse horticulture not yet fully developed"

LED lighting in the greenhouse horticulture has been in full development in recent years. Nowadays hardly a day passes without new insights, discoveries, and developments in lighting. After the first European edition of the Horticultural Lighting Conference in Eindhoven in 2017, it was high time to meet up again. In the Jaarbeurs Utrecht more than 170 participants from all over the world met. Producers, researchers, growers, and other parties involved were presented with the latest news by a varied group of speakers on Tuesday May 15.

The hall filled up completely, after which John Bullock took the stage

See the photos here.

Light recipe

John Bullock, chairman for organizer Lux, opened the conference by emphasizing the importance of discussing the latest developments. After an applause for the sponsors of the conference, Xavier Denis, Nichia, took the stage. Denis pointed at the continuing increase of LED lighting in the greenhouse horticulture, but without also mentioning the growth of HPS lightning. Denis expects the advantages of LED lighting, such as quicker growth by choosing the right light spectrum and energy savings, to speed up the growth of LED even further.

While the last participant entered the hall, Richard Blakey, Würth Elektronik eiSos, involved the hall on a search for the ideal light recipe for the client, based on his biomedical background. Then Koen Vangorp, MechaTronix, made the participants think about the quantity of light that is lost between lamp and plant. Vangorp challenged the hall to come up with solutions to reduce loss of light as much as possible. Can the foot paths be made to reflect light instead of absorbing it?

After the first three presentations it was time for questions, and there was attention paid to the possible advantages SON-T lighting still has for certain crops. Vangorp also seized the chance to call on the hall to share test results, so cooperation will be possible for the further development of lighting technology.

Clockwise, from the lop left, the presentations by Xavier Denis (Nichia), Richard Blakey (Würth Elektronik eiSos), Koen Vangorp (MechaTronix) and finally a Q&A.

Indoor and vertical farming
After the first coffee break, Alexander Wilm and Sebastian Olschowski, Osram Opto Semiconductors, presented various tools to help growers determine the ideal light recipe for their crops. Then Gus van der Feltz, Association for Vertical Farming (AVF), got the chance to bring the hall up to speed about the developments in the field of vertical farming. Just like LED lighting, vertical farming is in full development, which also entails a number of challenges, for which the AVF is trying to find solutions. AVF wants to bring down the costs of vertical farming, regulate the number of labels regarding food safety, and train people in this relatively new way of growing. Everybody was asked to become a member, to jointly work on the development of vertical farming. John Matcham, Fischer Farms, also discussed a new growth concept, indoor farming. During his story, Matcham overthrew a number of stale ideas, and made the hall think.

Clockwise, starting in the top left corner: Alexander Wilm (Osram Opto Semiconductors), Sebastian Olschowski (Osram Opto Semiconductors), Gus van der Feltz (Association for Vertical Farming) and John Matcham (Fischer Farms).

After a second Q&A session, in which it was highlighted that most crops have not yet been developed for growth under LED, it was time for lunch and talking, like during the coffee breaks. There was also the possibility to visit the stands of the various sponsors.

The second Q&A session, from left to right John Bullock (Lux), Sebastian Olschowski, Alexander Wilm, Gus van der Feltz and John Matcham.

Back in the hall, chairman Bullock announced on behalf of the organisation that there would be another Horticultural Lighting Conference in Utrecht next year, on May 13 and 14 2019. The next series of speakers then further expounded on the role of lighting in plant growth. Dr. Jaimin S. Patel of the Lighting Research Center of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, spoke about the role of lighting in controlling diseases. The challenge is to feed the continually growing world population with quicker growing crops, without increasing the risk of diseases.

Sreya Ghosh, John Innes Centre, showed the results of the tests with which the growth time of grain can be halved. This makes it possible to develop new varieties more quickly. Anja Dieleman, Wageningen University and Research, extensively discussed tomato growth. Dieleman discussed the test results of LED lighting tests and the effects of LED on the harvest and taste. Her conclusion was that a lot is still unclear about the specific needs of harvests. In the future LED could be used for these to discover specific plant requirements.

Clockwise, beginning in the left top corner, the lunch buffet, and the speakers Dr. Jaimin S. Patel (Lighting Research Center of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute), Sreya Ghosh (John Innes Centre) and Anja Dieleman (Wageningen University and Research)

The last session with speakers was opened by Willem van Eldik, Delphy. It turned out that in the soft fruit growth extensive testing was done with lighting, with as final purpose the growth of soft fruit in the West-European winter. Willem showed pictures to illustrate the rapid change of open field growth twenty years ago, to the current substrate growth under glass. Finally, in the presentation by Viktor Zsellers by Arrow Electronics, the term Internet of Things was coined. Zsellers showed various high tech tools to improve the checking of LED lighting. The day was closed by a panel discussion, which showed a lot of knowledge needed to be developed. The lighting in greenhouse horticulture is by far not fully developed yet. With this in mind everybody could enjoy a last drink.

Clockwise, beginning in the top left corner Willem van Eldik (Delphy), Viktor Zsellers (Arrow Electronics), the panel discussion, from left to right Henri Uutela (Ledil), Rhydian Beynon-Davies (G's Growers), Willem van Eldik, Anja Dieleman (Wageningen University and Research) and Richard Blakey (Würth Elektronik eiSos).

See the photos here.

For more information:
Horticultural Lighting Conference

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