Rutronik News

Lighting of plants with artificial light - Horticulture lighting

  Newsletter Article

Today, more than half of the world’s population lives in cities, and this trend looks set to continue. When it comes to providing people in so-called mega cities with a sufficient amount of healthy food, conventional methods of agriculture will soon reach their limits. A possible solution is horticulture lighting.

Horticulture lighting refers to the illumination of plants with artificial light to achieve both faster and targeted growth; specifically aimed, for example, at bud development and fruit ripening. Light stimulates photosynthesis and is thus decisive for plant growth. But the light must provide the correct spectral range. Different wavelengths are important for the growth, shape, development, and blossoming of the plant. The time period during which the plants are exposed to light is also significant for horticulture lighting.  The ‘natural daytime’ can thus be extended with the aid of artificial light and results in stronger growth and increased bud development.

Thanks to new LED technologies, it is possible to maximize plant exposure to the precise wavelength that promotes photosynthesis and optimum growth. Additionally, being able to influence the exposure period and benefiting from a flexible arrangement of the LEDs are strong arguments in favor of the use of LED lighting for plant growth. In the sector of horticulture lighting, the OSLON-SSL product range from OSRAM Opto Semiconductors offers an extensive portfolio of high-performance LEDs with low thermal resistivity. The robust ceramic package is ideal for the conditions inside greenhouses. The OSLON-SSL-Colors family is available in eight colors, ranging from 450 nm (deep blue) to 730 nm (far red), which represent the most reliable wavelengths in terms of plant growth.

From a financial perspective, the use of LEDs offers various advantages compared to conventional lighting options. For a start, LEDs do not burn out like traditional light bulbs but simply experience minimum lumen depreciation over time. While light bulbs are liable to fail on average after just one year, top grade LEDs can now be operated for more than 50,000 hours (depending on the type of application). The increased lifetime additionally ensures high reliability. Further, energy can be saved through effective and efficient control. Horticulture lighting looks set to grow in the coming years thanks to new LED technologies and intelligent control units.