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Lighting Vertical Farms – A Tall Order with High Upside

Lighting Vertical Farms – A Tall Order with High Upside

(Plus, a Sneak Peak at Fluence’s New RAZR Solution!)

More consumers are demanding fresh, locally-grown produce according to the market research firm Packaged Facts. This translates to greater interest and investments in vertical farming, since cultivators are seeking efficient methods to grow herbs and greens in densely populated areas where demand is highest.

Because lighting is vital for vertical farms, Fluence stands ready to meet all lighting and technology challenges with its new RAZR Modular System, as detailed in a webinar led by some of the company’s top vertical farming experts.

The Measure of Light

Addressing a global audience of webinar attendees, Fluence horticulture specialist Tim Knauer shared how farmers are working to determine optimal layouts, carts, racking systems, and all the other inputs that go into vertical farming systems. This, of course, includes light.

Before a square foot of vertical farm is planned, growers must thoroughly understand the relationship between light and plant growth. Light intensity drives plant growth, and cultivators can manipulate plant shape, flavor, nutrition, and medicinal properties with light intensity and spectrum.

Choosing the Right Lighting Solution

Lighting accounts for 25-30% of the total cost of vertical farming (CAPEX and OPEX). So, it’s critical that cultivators employ the correct strategy and deploy the best equipment from the outset to ensure optimal plant quality and yield.

When selecting the right lights for your farm, look at the form factor, efficacy, and price per micromole, which Fluence experts can help you calculate.

Designed specifically for vertical farms, Fluence’s new RAZR Modular System shows an 18% increase in efficacy over the previous generation. The Broad R3 spectrum offers 2.6 µmol/J efficacy, and the upgraded design shows an increase in uniformity.

An exciting feature of the new RAZR system is its modularity. Replaceable bars and flexible mounting options mean this system is designed to fit within a farm’s already existing carts, racks, and trolleys, as well as for custom environments.

After the presentation, webinar attendees were invited to ask questions of the Fluence team; see a sampling below, and be sure to check out the full webinar here.

Key Terms

Photoperiod: the period of time each day during which a plant receives illumination

PPFD: the amount of photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) that reaches the plant canopy

Daily Light Integral (DLI): the amount of light a crop receives in a 24-hour period

Things to Consider

Maximizing DLI results in increased production, decreased cycle time, improved quality and consistency, and increased nutritional value, all of which improve margins.

When it comes to PAR, it is important to understand which parts of the spectrum, plus what intensities, plants need for maximum development. Fluence’s broad spectra are designed and developed specifically for vertical farms to ensure that growers can meet demand with happy and healthy crops.

Q: What is the impact of UV light on plant production?

A: In vertical farming, we don’t see UV deployed so much because, especially for leafy greens, it’s really not necessary for that. With lettuces and leafy greens, UV tends to make the foliage a bit thicker and less tasty.

Q: With the new RAZR Modular System, from seed to harvest, what maximum light intensities would you recommend for leafy greens?

A: For young plants, we’re looking at eight to 12 moles per day. As the plant matures, your target moves to 13-14 moles, and then as high as 18 to 20 moles as the crop nears its finish.

Q: What is the application for the RAZR Modular System within the cannabis space?

A: RAZR would be applicable to high-density cannabis grows looking to maximize space – low-profile, vertical farming applications.