Wageningen University and Research (WUR), in cooperation with Fluence by OSRAM and greenhouse consultancy Vortus, has released initial results of a tomato cultivation trial comparing the efficiency of full-spectrum LED supplementary lighting against a high-pressure sodium (HPS) installation. Preliminary data from the trial, in which Fluence’s PhysioSpec Greenhouse full-spectrum lighting was tested against a current commercially-available HPS installation, shows yield was up to 11% higher, dependent on cultivar, using PhysioSpec Greenhouse. Along with their well-known energy efficiency, the yield boost gives these LEDs a further advantage over HPS fixtures.
“The initial results of this trial show growers can cultivate tomatoes as effectively with PhysioSpec Greenhouse as they can under HPS, possibly with a better yield, and with shorter stems,” said Dr. Ep Heuvelink, associate professor, WUR. “Both varieties in the trial, Tomagino and Merlice, developed well under PhysioSpec Greenhouse and the fruits had similar dry matter content to those under HPS.
“Fruit yield for Tomagino is a bit higher in the LED sections of the trial, which is a welcome benefit on top of the energy saving LEDs exhibit over HPS technology.”
WUR will publish the full results later this year.
“Most of the greenhouse industry still uses HPS as the sole source for supplemental lighting but the WUR trial proves this should not be the case,” said Vortus director Barend Lobker. “Growers have been reluctant to move to LEDs because they are uncertain if these can be as effective for cultivation. The trial results should eliminate any doubts around the capabilities of full-spectrum LEDs.”
Haris Ouzounis, Fluence by OSRAM’s horticulture service specialist and senior photobiologist, said the trial had exciting implications for the application of full-spectrum LED technology in greenhouse tomato production. “The results demonstrate that even without altering the growing environment in any other way to optimize it for LEDs, they can match, or even out-perform HPS lighting for commercial growers.
“Further studies Fluence is undertaking on the effects of light quality, distribution, and intensity, as well as how to optimize the rest of the environment to get the best from full-spectrum LEDs, should demonstrate significant improvements in productivity compared to current HPS lighting practices.”
Further collaborations in science and research
Cooperating with the world’s most innovative researchers, consultants and growers is a top priority for Fluence by OSRAM and the results from this trial with WUR are the first in a series that the company will release over the coming months. Fluence is also working on other initiatives with research centers, universities, and organizations around the world to further develop best practice and investigate more pioneering applications for the industry.
“Basing our solutions on research and science is one of the fundamental things that sets Fluence apart,” said David Cohen, chief executive officer, Fluence by OSRAM. “We are proud to be working with Wageningen University and to join the WUR Club of 100, to further extend the world’s understanding of critical and fundamental horticultural research. Greenhouses are a significant source of nutritious fruits and vegetables and WUR’s ground-breaking research will enable growers in more countries to produce high-quality crops in an energy-efficient way.”
To learn more about the preliminary results, meet with the Fluence team at GreenTech in Amsterdam, or visit https://fluence.science/wageningen for more information.