LEDs Magazine News & Insights 6 March 2020 - Editor's Column

March 6, 2020

Welcome to the LEDs Magazine News & Insights newsletter for Mar. 6, 2020. We deployed our Horticultural Lighting Newsletter back at the start of the week. But we have some news in the horticultural application, so we will start this newsletter with the plants that just love solid-state lighting (SSL).

First, I want to break some news of our own. We will be issuing a press release on the news, but I’ll share it here. Bruce Bugbee of Utah State University will be our keynote speaker at the HortiCann Light + Tech Conference in San Jose, CA on Oct. 20. Bugbee is the director of the Crop Physiology Laboratory at Utah State. His work ranges from research for NASA in growing food on the Moon or Mars to research in cannabis and hemp. Bugbee was the first researcher in academia to get a permit allowing him to perform research with the cannabis cultivar. Bugbee will anchor a stellar program of which we will release more details shortly.

Meanwhile in the commercial sector, Signify has struck a deal to supply tunable LED lighting and controls to six major vertical farms. As was discussed in detail at HortiCann 2019, vertical farming remains a contentious subject. The controlled environment agriculture (CEA) technique produces great quantities of vegetables from a small-footprint space that can be located near population centers. But the cost of the required electric lighting means that for now, traditional farming costs less in dollars and environmental impact.

Still, the growing population will need new sources of food and improving vertical farm technology is one of the few potential answers. Signify is engaged with Italian grower Plant Farms on the European project. The first installation is underway in a 9000m2 facility near Cavenego, Italy. Plant Farms has plans for five additional farms to be built in the UK and Switzerland.

Moving to outdoor lighting, the TALQ Consortium seems to be gaining momentum for its standardized approach to connected street lighting and smart city technology. By standardizing the interface between central management systems and network gateways, the TALQ technology can enable multi-vendor smart city networks with guaranteed interoperability. Now the city of Stockholm, Sweden has joined the consortium and will require TALQ-compliant systems in its coming smart city project. Having cities require TALQ will pressure more vendors to add compliance to their connected SSL products for outdoor applications.

Back to horticulture briefly, I have mentioned our Call for Papers for the HortiCann Light + Tech Conference a few times. We’ve been delayed in launching a portal for direct submissions. But please email me abstracts directly. Just remember we are looking for abstracts focused on science, not on company products and technology. And proposals that cross into other technologies beyond lighting such as in HVAC or nutrient delivery are especially desirable.

Finally, I am pleased to report that the 40 under 40 program that we announced last week is now open for submissions. We've launched a simple platform to enable folks across the entire LED and SSL supply chain, from the research community to end-product manufacturers, to nominate an up-and-coming professional in their organization who represents the next generation of leadership and innovation in the industries we cover. You can refresh yourself on what we're looking for in our recent blog post.

You will find many more stories of interest in the body of today’s newsletter. Please note my relatively new email address below. And always feel free to contact me to discuss content we post or to pitch a contributed article.

- Maury Wright, (858) 748-6785, [email protected]