Signify will deliver Philips GreenPower LED production modules Dynamic and the Philips GrowWise Control System to a new research department at the Innovatie en Demonstratiecentrum LED (Innovation and Demonstration Center LED, IDC-LED) of the Wageningen University & Research, Business Unit Greenhouse Horticulture and Flower Bulbs in Bleiswijk to improve light recipes for fruiting vegetables. The department has been equipped for research on lighting for ascending crops, such as fruiting vegetables. The Philips GreenPower LED production modules Dynamic and the GrowWise Control System can be used to steer the brightness, colors of the light and exposure time separately. That is useful in order to test different lighting strategies and optimize light recipes for specific crops.
The IDC-LED has been in use for several years for dedicated research into grow light recipes for covered crops. So far, it has focused on crops with a low canopy, such as cut flowers, potted plants, young fruiting vegetables, and leafy greens.
The newly equipped department, the IDC LED High-Wire, has dynamic grow lights and covers 120 m², split into four equal compartments. Each section is equipped with four cultivation gutters, LED modules and separate irrigation. The sections are separated from each other to be able to test four light recipes simultaneously. Ultrasonic humidifiers have also been installed and the cooling capacity has been enlarged to keep the climate constant.
The first trial, focused on the effects of light on cucumbers, started early in December and will last for half a year. “We have been working with dynamic grow lights from Signify for years, that’s why when we needed a different lighting installation for our research into high-wire crops we again turned to the company’s Philips GreenPower LEDs,” says researcher Kees Weerheim. “The dynamic Philips GreenPower LED production modules are perfectly suitable for our purpose. The module has a high output, and the division of light is very homogenous. Moreover, with the Philips GrowWise Control System we have maximum control over the growth process, which is ideal for research purposes.”
Replicating winter conditions
Thanks to screens above the crop that block the daylight, Weerheim and his colleagues can do research under ‘winter’ lighting conditions all year-round. “In wintertime less daylight is available and lighting installations are used to their full extent. That is when LED lighting has a relatively high effect on the build-up of the crop, the production, and the quality of the product,” the researcher explains. “Variations in brightness, exposure and the relation between red, blue, white and far-red light will show us how the crop responds. All growth and production factors are taken into account during the trials, including health aspects like disease susceptibility. Eventually that will result in new, dynamic light recipes that growers can use to optimize production, product quality and energy efficiency.”
“We are happy that Wageningen University & Research keeps upgrading its research facilities. And we are proud that we can contribute to that as a strategic partner,” said Udo van Slooten, Signify’s Business leader Horticulture LED solutions. “Our specialists are constantly looking and thinking to adequately translate new knowledge and insights into practical, high-quality LED solutions.”