LED lighting improves yield and reduces carbon footprint of greenhouse horticulture

In the Climate KIC funded project Carbon LED, Wageningen University & Research, Philips, Bayer CropScience, INRA and Startlife cooperate in designing energy-efficient and high yielding production systems for greenhouse horticulture, based on LED lighting.

Perspectives for growers

The Carbon LED research has produced stunning results. When tomato growers would use the possibilities to make optimal ‘light recipes’ based on LED light spectra combined with new optimised tomato varieties, their tomato crop may produce up to 25% more. The results of Carbon LED show that breeding companies may be able to breed varieties that specifically perform well under LED lighting. The latest types of LED lighting have an efficiency that is 60% higher than traditional HPS lighting, thereby reducing the carbon footprint of tomatoes produced under LEDs.

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Reduction of carbon footprint

The research of Carbon LED is financed by Climate KIC, the main European knowledge and innovation community, working to accelerate the transition to a zero-carbon economy. Carbon LED results show that using LED in greenhouses is a powerful option when striving towards a substantial reduction of the carbon footprint of greenhouse horticulture. When greenhouse tomato growers switch to LED lighting, the carbon footprint of their tomato crop will reduce with approximately 45%.

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From successful research to successful business

At universities and research institutes, many brilliant ideas are generated. However, to bring them into business, there has to be a connection to the private sector. In the Carbon LED project, a business model is made to realise adoption of LED based production systems in greenhouses and vertical farming systems. Adoption barriers for new technologies may be lowered by collaborating with start-up companies and by exploring new niche market like vertical farming. These new product-market combinations help to evaluate and improve novel technologies and products based on these technologies.