Kees van Veen (Agro Care) with Martin van der Dool (Hortilux Schréder) and Onno Boers (CombiCoop, the research and purchasing organisation of Agro Care and CombiVliet)
"You’re always trying to make a difference. Washing your reflectors, cleaning your bulbs, using alpha and beta reflectors. This is the next step," says Onno Boers of CombiCoop about the new Hortilux Schréder reflectors. CombiCoop is the consultancy arm of CombiVliet and Agro Care. Boers researches and supports agricultural investments for tomato nurseries. During brainstorming sessions with Martin van der Dool of Hortilux Schréder the topic of the optimum use of growing light came up, a topic that is being given a lot of attention at the two companies. The two men did not like the fact that the current growing light installations throw growing light on the facade screen and on the concrete paths. So Hortilux Schréder developed two new reflectors.
The HSE NXT II fixture with the new reflector
Facade screenThe first reflector is suitable for light that falls on the facade screen. Measurements show that in the Agro Care greenhouse there is on average 180 µMol of light. Martin van der Dool uses graphs to show us that on the furthest paths the light intensity is no higher than 160 µMol, whereas 80 µMol is still measured outside the greenhouse. "This means light is being lost. Which is a waste of money, a waste of crop yield and also is not in keeping with Corporate Social Responsibility (MVO)." The new reflector has an asymmetrical shape and reflects the light back into the greenhouse. It cuts radiation to the outside by 30%. The light intensity in the greenhouse in the first two rows along the facade is increased by 6%. This makes it possible to increase production.
At the back are the conventional fixtures. Now packed in plastic. The new reflectors are located right up against the side gable of the greenhouse. Thanks to the reflectors sufficient light reaches the crop and less light falls on the facade screen
The new reflectors above the concrete path
PathIf the system is useful at the sides, why not use it above the concrete path? This thought gave rise to a second reflector. The light is bounced back onto the crop instead of lighting the paths. Thanks to this improved use of the light, one fixture fewer can be hung up every 16 metres, or 500 Watt per 8-metre trellis. The system was tested last winter at the Agro Care tomato nursery in Middenmeer and the results were so good that these reflectors are now being used in the greenhouse in Rilland. The lighting there has been in use since 2001 and is ready to be replaced, Kees van Veen of Agro Care tells us. He is shocked at the amount of light that does not fall on the plants. "That’s exactly what you want to avoid – light falling outside rather than on your plants. You put 120 Euro worth of electricity through a fixture. That’s a lot every 16 metres."
Left: the new reflector. Right: above the first row a fixture has been disconnected every 16 metres to maintain an even light intensity on the plant
The difference between the new reflectors above the crop at the front of the greenhouse and the old reflectors at the back. The light intensity on the plant remains the same.
PaybackThe purchase price of the fixtures with asymmetrical reflectors is higher than that of fixtures with the standard beta reflector. "You don’t hang them throughout the greenhouse, only on the path and the gable. So you don’t need as many," explains Martin van der Dool. As a relatively small number are needed and fewer fixtures are needed on average, the extra investment is not too much, according to him. "We are noticing that everywhere that people are installing lighting the new fixtures are being fitted. This is more sustainable and saves energy and investment. It’s a no-brainer."
For more information:
Hortilux Schréder b.v.
2681 TV Monster
T 0174 – 2866280174 – 286628