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combining LED and conventional lighting

25-hectare greenhouse to house largest US LED project

The 25-hectare greenhouse currently being built by AppHarvest in Morehead, Kentucky, will be equipped with a hybrid LED lighting system utilizing Signify’s Philips GreenPower LED toplighting compact and Agrolux high-pressure sodium lighting. The $15 million hybrid LED lighting system will be the largest US LED installation and the world’s largest LED installation for a single building. 

Rendering of the project

AppHarvest will grow tomatoes and cucumbers in its facility, which will be completed in the second half of 2020. By using the lighting system the company wants to increase efficiency and boost yields using significantly fewer resources in their 25-hectare greenhouse.

"Our engineers have devised a cutting-edge hybrid system to dramatically reduce energy usage in the greenhouse and increase yields. The Philips GreenPower LEDs, which are 40 percent more efficient than typical greenhouse lighting and disseminate less radiant heat, will be paired with Agrolux high-pressure sodium (HPS) lamps", they explain. During fall and spring, LED lighting will be used to grow more produce. HPS lamps will be used during colder months, in addition to the LED system. The heat from the HPS system will help warm the greenhouse and reduce natural gas usage.

Through their partnership with Equilibrium, a greenhouse investment firm that is providing upwards of $100 million for the facility, the state-of-the-art greenhouse will start producing cucumbers and tomatoes in 2020. The LED installation raises the all-cash investment by Equilibrium’s Controlled Environment Foods Fund from $82 million to upward of $100 million.

The LEDs will be installed by Dalsem Complete Greenhouse Projects, which is overseeing construction of the greenhouse. The AppHarvest produce will be distributed to the top 25 U.S. grocers through partner Mastronardi Produce. 

“This LED installation reinforces how we use proven technology to grow more fresh food with fewer resources,” said Jonathan Webb, Founder and CEO of AppHarvest. “With this cutting-edge hybrid system, we will dramatically reduce energy usage in the greenhouse. Working with Signify has given us the benefit of leveraging on a decade of growing knowledge and expertise.”

“We’re very excited about our collaboration with AppHarvest and Equilibrium,” said Bill Bien, CEO of Signify Agriculture Lighting. “It’s great to work with partners just as committed to sustainable horticulture as we are, and we’re looking forward to helping them increase growth predictability, crop quality and yields, while improving their energy efficiency.”

LED toplighting
The LED toplighting compact delivers high light output of 1,800 µmol/s and an efficacy of up to 3.0 µmol/J and helps growers effectively optimize crop growth, enhance crop quality and cut operational costs. Compared to a 1,000 W HPS fixture, the Philips GreenPower LED toplighting compact produces the same amount of light, has a similar light distribution, while consuming 40% less power and emitting considerably less radiant heat. By separating heat and light, this product gives growers independent control over their greenhouse climate.


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