Royal Philips (NYSE: PHG AEX: PHIA), the global leader in lighting, has partnered with Green Sense Farms (GSF), a Chicago-area commercial grower, to develop one of the largest indoor commercial farms using LED grow lights tailored to their specific crops. This innovative farming model allows them to harvest 20-25 times a year by using ‘light recipes’ optimized for their produce, using 85 percent less energy. The result will be an increase in crop yields and reduced operating costs, while providing consumers with locally grown, fresh vegetables throughout the year.
The United Nations (UN) predicts the world’s population will grow by some 2.5 billion people by 2050, and 80 percent of the world’s population will live in cities. At the same time, 80 percent of the land that is suitable for growing food is already in use. Moreover, extreme weather patterns across the globe have devastated crops, creating higher food prices, and as consumers become more conscious of how their food is produced, it is becoming more difficult for farmers to keep up with urban growth. This is driving innovation of new farming technologies that allow plants to grow without sunlight in indoor environments close to or within cities.
Plants’ sensitivity to light is very different from the human eye, so plants use certain wavelengths of light more efficiently and respond in a different way to different sets of wavelengths. Philips has a keen understanding of this phenomenon having been active in horticultural lighting since 1936, but the advent of LED technology has enabled the fine tuning of tailor-made light recipes optimized to the needs of specific crops. Working with research institutes, universities, growers and partners like Hort Americas, who supported the installation of the GSF project, Philips is able to meet a grower’s unique needs. Also, because LEDs run at cooler temperatures they can be placed closer to the plants and optimally positioned, ensuring complete uniform illumination of the plant.
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