What Is The Next Technical Frontier For LED Lighting: Thoughts From Indoor Ag-Con Panel Participants
WHAT IS THE NEXT TECHNICAL FRONTIER FOR LED LIGHTING?
THOUGHTS FROM INDOOR AG-CON PANEL PARTICIPANTS
During the May 2020 edition of Indoor Ag-Con, we’ll be featuring a panel presentation, What Is the Next Technical Frontier for LED Lighting” on Monday, May 18 from 10 – 10:45 am. Moderated by Dr. Morgan Pattison, SSLS, Inc., the panel will include Blake Lange, Signify, formerly Philips Lighting – City Farming; Brandon Newkirk, LumiGrow; and Xander Yang, Sananbio.
Ahead of the session, we reached out to our participants to find out, from an LED perspective, what is the next hot thing in lighting? Here’s what they said:
The hot thing right now is dynamic lighting. This involves modifying LED light recipes during the plant’s life. This includes spectrum, time duration and intensity per crop stage. This interaction with control of the growth environment create unlimited opportunities for machines to learn and continuously improve.
LED lighting is poised to become the mainstream lighting technology for indoor horticulture. This is due to the much higher efficacy and potential for extended life made possible by LED technology and these factors will result in cost savings for growers. From my perspective, the next ‘hot thing’ in lighting is just figuring out the most effective product features, form factors, and layouts that maximize the productivity with LED lighting and provide consistency and confidence for growers. There is still considerable uncertainty around what is the most effective spectrum for plant growth, what are the optimum light levels and photoperiods, and will LED lighting products live up to their reliability claims, necessary to achieve a return on investment. The next ‘hot thing’ is to also understand and communicate realistic limits and expectations for the horticultural lighting system.
Horticultural LED lighting must operate in an extreme environment with consistent high temperatures, high humidity, and possible chemical exposure. This is a challenging environment for any lighting product. The reliability of LED products is defined by the depreciation life of the LEDs. While the LEDs in a fixture are expected to last a long time, there can be reliability issues with the fixture power supply, thermal management, or optical components. There can also be issues with color shift over time, particularly if multiple colors of LEDs are being used in a fixture. For example, red LEDs will likely degrade at a different rate than blue or white LEDs, shifting the color balance and fixture efficacy over time. Best practices need to be developed to anticipate these changes in the fixture, minimize down-time from failed lighting products, and maximize yield.
So the next ‘hot thing’ won’t be flashy tech like AI or advanced controls, but rather well designed lighting products with good reliability that provide growers with the consistency and confidence they need.