Light Science Technologies has been awarded £503,000 in funding to develop its intelligent LED grow lighting cloche solution, as it further strengthens its indoor farming proposition.
Awarded by Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency, the grant is part of its Farming Initiative Pathway (FIP) consortium for more sustainable and efficient plant growth in the UK agricultural sector and will leverage LST’s expertise in sensor technology and LEDs. LST’s turnkey, intelligent LED grow-lighting cloche combines both its nurturGROW sensor, currently under development, and its award-winning nurturGROW luminaire with inbuilt crop husbandry semi-automation system, for soil-based growing within polytunnels and glasshouses.
The grow-lighting cloche is expected to be the first retrofittable, all-in-one lighting-sensing-automation rig designed for polytunnels and glasshouses - bringing sustainable, controlled environment technology to growers. The grow-light cloche will extend the growing season, enabling farmers to grow a wider variety of produce all year round, and will expand LST’s existing product range.
The solution aims to improve productivity by increasing yields from 2-3 yields to 8+ yields, annually. It will also look to help growers by providing a potential solution to ongoing labor shortages, reducing the need for import substitution, harvesting machinery, pathogen infiltration, and utilizing UVC-lighting disease management.
The solution is being developed as part of a consortium including Zenith Nurseries, as an agronomist and growing partner, which began in November 2021, with a potential value of up to £13.84 million*. The 21-month project consists of four development stages and once complete, the prototype will be tested on Zenith Nurseries’ existing growing site over six months to validate the data.
Once developed, the solution will be designed to fit across a standard-sized glasshouse and polytunnel and move across the crops, providing growers with tailored supplementary hybrid lighting and targeted, actionable data insights of the nine cardinals of plant life and soil health, based upon the data collected.
Simon Deacon, CEO, and founder of Light Science Technologies said: “Due to the shorter growing seasons, unpredictable climatic conditions, and heavy reliance on manual labor processes, the UK struggles to produce enough food to meet demand. We are delighted to have been selected for funding by Innovate UK, which is a testament to the potential value of the cloche product in alleviating both these national issues and providing CEA growers with the opportunity to achieve better light quality and energy savings.”