It’s a matter of fact that society is facing the trend of people moving into cities. Especially in Asia more and more so-called megacities emerge. In China on its own more than 500 million people moved to its cities during the last 35 years. The Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development (OECD) says that there are already 15 megacities in China. And this trend will continue, also in other areas of the world. In 2050 about two thirds of all people will live in urbanized metropolitan areas.
Skyscrapers Full Of Salad
The unstoppable development of urbanization will also change the way people are provided with food. There will be a significant impact on traditional agriculture, which will possibly not be able to provide humans enough healthy nutrition anymore. A change of thinking will be required so a reliable supply of fresh vegetable and fruits can still be ensured.
Urban farming could be a solution here. Urban farm projects can already be found in Asia, the USA and Europe, where vegetable, herbs and fruits are cultivated in the middle of cities. Vertical farms become more and more popular and a rising number of skyscrapers full of salads rise out of the ground. Needless to say that space is limited in cities by nature, but vertical farms need only a tenth of the area that conventional agriculture needs in an open field. Those farms are often constructed in a way that sunlight is able to hit the plants. But artificial light will often be required to compensate less sunny days or when it comes to indoor farming.
The Role of LEDs in Agriculture
Special light is needed for horticulture in commercial greenhouses. For optimal growth and photosynthesis, plants like iceberg lettuce or tomatoes need a distinct red or blue component based on wavelengths. Light Emitting Diodes (LED) are able to emit exactly this kind of light that produces the pink aura. With LEDs, farmers become more independent from natural light sources, which can be vital for a sustainable food supply especially when there’s a lack of sunshine during the winter season. A constant growth of plants can be ensured. The future farmer will have more control with a positive effect on harvest because the natural day length can be extended artificially.
Urban farming is also becoming more and more popular – the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) estimates an annual growth rate of urban farming projects by around 25% – because it contributes to a more environmentally friendly agriculture. The farm-to-table movement, which describes the concept of offering local and fresh food is only one example. Furthermore, long transport distances become obsolete, which results in a significant decrease of carbon dioxide emission. Also, LED are especially renowned for consuming extremely few energy while having very long lifetime.
However, if you want to run a successful urban farming project you will not come around of a comprehensive lighting solutions, which is composed of high-quality color LEDs and advanced power management and control semiconductor technologies. Our manufacturing partners Infineon Technologies and OSRAM Opto Semiconductors can offer a range of suitable products to help in the realization of your projects.
The Right Mixture For Horticulturists
Especially interesting is the OSRAM OSLON® SSL family of wavelength-specific LEDs for horticulture applications. This product family is a combination of a well-established platform that delivers the high efficacy necessary for professional indoor and outdoor lighting. Due to its ceramic package it is robust and protected against corrosion, which ultimately contributes to a long lifetime. With wavelengths from 450nm to 660nm, and the addition of 730nm far red, these LEDs can be used to illuminate all types of plants and flowers, by allowing adaption of the light exactly to the needs of various crops. Developed for the horticultural market, this ultra-compact 1W class LED offers a prefocused 80°, 120° or a wide 150° radiation pattern.
In combination with Infineon’s comprehensive portfolio of integrated circuits (ICs) for lighting applications, you will be able to design highly efficient and optimized horticulture applications. The Munich-based semiconductor manufacturer offers low-voltage and high-voltage semiconductors, microcontrollers, controller ICs, driver devices and advanced color control solutions which help you to create high-efficiency, flexible, controllable and reliable lighting designs. No matter if you are aiming to design a single-string or a multi-string topology, the appropriate solutions can be offered. The Infineon ICL8105 flyback controller is a great fit, when it comes to single-color topologies operating below 100 W. When designing multicolor LED strings, the use of a microcontroller (MCU) ensures the accurate control for power output, in order to provide a specific mixture of wavelengths for the plants. As a leader in MCUs for color LED applications, Infineon offers the XMC series that features an application-specific capability for lighting, motor control, and power conversion.
Support For New Projects
In an online webcast, the lighting experts from Infineon and EBV Elektronik just recently explained smart and efficient LED solutions optimized for horticulture systems. Participants were able to discover how LEDs can be easily set in cycles that promote healthy plant growth. If you were not able to make it, you can still watch it on-demand. All you need to do is register for free.
To put it all in a nutshell, LEDs are energy efficient and thus drastically reduce energy consumption over time. As they don’t emit heat in the lighting direction, they are particularly interesting for horticulture applications. Consequently, that eliminates the risk of damaging the plant, in contrary they stimulate plant growth by up to 40%. In combination with the right power components and controllers, you will be able to design highly efficient systems. OSRAM Opto Semiconductors and Infineon have the perfect solutions to work in combination for highly efficient, easy to design-in LED lighting applications.
Visit our dedicated website to find out even more about opto-electronics and semiconductor products needed for your horticulture application. There you will also find a whitepaper for free download. Please also get in touch with our lighting experts here.