That horticulture lighting is hot these days is an understatement. The media attention, dedicated events and manifold speakers attracting the listeners all point out that there is a big future behind led lighting in the horti- and agriculture sphere.
It all started with the basics of lighting – the smaller the light source, the easier the beam shape can be controlled with a total internal reflection lens (TIR lens). LEDs have on itself no wavelength correction, what immediately implements that plants directly under the Top Light would be exposed to a higher amount of energy (μmol/m2/s) than those placed further away from the light source. So without any optical correction, homogeneous lighting on plants sensitive to fluctuations, would always be a fact. That is probably also one of the reasons why LED lighting is still in its beginning phase in the world of floriculture. By concentrating the energy in a source as small as possible, you can modulate the beam into a batwing effect, which leads to an even dispersion of energy on the plants.
The thermal challenges and opportunities in horticulture lighting are also from an unprecedented level. Were we started off with cooling of spot lights and down lights ranging from a few hundred to a few thousand lumen, we now see that it extends to the era of kilowatts of energy losses which need to be cooled away, within environments with extreme needs on temperature and humidity control, and nothing yet standardized on the market.
Without the extra daylight the power used per square meter easily goes up as far as 400 watts per square meter.
First of all it is worth knowing that independent of the power of your luminaire, the heat losses of horticulture LEDs are completely different as those we know best from white lighting sources. While white corrected single emitters or COBs range from efficiencies of 20% up to 35%, horticulture LEDs with their specific wavelengths like royal or deep blue, hyper red and far red come at a complete different efficiency and resulting heat loss. So on first sight we can conclude that the heat losses in horticulture luminaires are depending on the color and wavelength mix, and are significantly less than in white light applications. On the other hand the power used per square meter or running meter is much higher in horticulture farming compared to for example a retail project. In horticulture farming we have to distinguish greenhouse farming from vertical farming or city farming projects. Without the extra daylight the power used per square meter easily goes up as far as 400 watts per square meter. Taken in account the losses seen above, that means that 200 watts of heat has to be cooled away, in a luminaire as small and light weight as possible, with respect to the environmental needs like waterproof IP degrees. Looks challenging, but compared to the old technology the energy saving effect in these power consuming environments only make the ROI’s shorter and more worth going for it.
Full passive LED-cooler
MechaTronix, a sister company of Telerex, has developed a full ‘passive’ LED-cooler for the horticulture market. The new CoolFin® is a 600 watt ultra-compact light weight cooler based on advanced heat pipe technology. With a guaranteed lifetime of more 75000 hours of light due to a unique and smart design, with the possibility of using separate placements of power supplies. Using this technology we are able to dissipate 600Watt of our 4 LOB’s (Led On Board), which generates minimum 1500μmol/s with a specific light spectrum. This specific light enable the plants and flowers to grow in optimal conditions. Reason for developing this first system was simple – it is the ideal replacement for the current 1000 watt HID horticulture installed field. In parallel the major LED brands are preparing the first horticulture LED engines on this platform while the optic specialists are working on the lenses. Launch is expected end of the first quarter 2018.
The specific light of the new CoolFin® enable the plants and flowers to grow in optimal conditions.
You are welcome to discuss these horticulture and our other LED-cooler solutions at the coming Light&Building in Frankfurt-Germany, March 18-23.
Contact Patrick Casteleyn (Sales Manager MechaTronix) for more information.