COB LED arrays will enable horticultural SSL form factors similar to HPS fixtures used broadly in indoor cannabis farms, and the LEDs will enable spectral options.
Luminus Devices has announced its Horticultural COB portfolio — chip-on-board (COB) LEDs in two form factors and two spectra options. The initial products primarily target legal cannabis growing operations in indoor settings where the growing community has typically used high-pressure sodium (HPS) fixtures to illuminate relatively small square footprints that accommodate a number of plants. The COB LEDs will enable solid-state lighting (SSL) fixture designs that could operate in a configuration essentially identical to the HPS legacy lighting.
Of course, the LED option could offer benefits relative to HPS in terms of energy use and perhaps customization of spectrum. Still, the legacy fixtures have proven tough to displace in the cannabis sector, whereas LEDs are the only choice in other horticultural applications such as vertical farms. In the Strategies Unlimited “Horticulture Lighting Market Analysis and Forecast 2017” report, researchers stated that you need 1.31 LED fixtures for every 1 HPS fixture to deliver the same energy to the plant canopy. But the improved spectra afforded by LEDs could boost yield 5%.
“Horticulture COBs are perfectly suited to replace HPS lamps for growing light-hungry crops such as cannabis, as they offer high PPF output combined with excellent efficacy,” said Yves Bertic, senior director of global product marketing at Luminus. “Additionally, COB’s broad ecosystem makes it easy for fixture manufacturers to develop new lighting solutions for any indoor operation.”
The PPF metric of which Bertic speaks stands for photosynthetic photon flux and is essentially the equivalent of the lumen in the horticultural lighting world. Indeed, horticultural lighting introduced the need for an all new set of metrics and the DesignLights Consortium (DLC) is readying to release its first horticultural-centric metrics that will gate a horticultural lighting qualified products list (QPL).
New COB LEDs from Luminus are available with a choice of two LES sizes and targeted spectra for horticultural lighting used in growing crops such as legal cannabis.
As for the new Luminus LEDs, the products are available in light-emitting surface (LES) sizes of 11 and 22 mm. The smallest and lowest power (25W) models deliver PPF of 45 µmol/s, while the largest 125W LEDs deliver PPF of 150 µmol/s.
The LEDs emit what appears to be a purple light based on the use of blue emitters and a red phosphor. Luminus can vary the phosphor formulation to change the amount of Deep Red energy in the mix. The LEDs have energy peaks at 450 and 640 nm. The company is initially offering a device with a 1:1 Blue to Deep Red spectra and another with a 1:2 Blue to Deep Red spectra.
Luminus clearly recognizes the importance of yield in cannabis and with other cultivars such as vegetables. “Beyond the cannabis market, the need for improved crop yields is more important than ever, and our new horticulture COBs enable innovative luminaires that directly address the market’s needs,” said Bertic. “With the ability to customize spectra to specific crops or classes of crops, we foresee a portfolio that supports growers around the world.”
Strategies Unlimited’s aforementioned report projects global revenue for horticultural lighting in greenhouse and vertical farms to near the $8 billion range by 2022. Strategies Unlimited is focused on market research and is a sister business to LEDs Magazine within the PennWell LED & Lighting Network. The horticultural lighting report is available for purchase with the 2018 version due soon.
Meanwhile, topics such as cannabis and vegetable cultivation, LED light recipes, different growing configurations, SSL return on investment, and more will be the focus of our Horticultural Lighting Conference scheduled for Oct. 9 in Portland, OR. Eric Runkle of Michigan State University will present his research based on the use of a seven-channel LED lighting system. And Philip Smallwood, director of research at Strategies Unlimited, will present some of the latest market data.