Since 2017, the Leaf Carrier from Bever Innovations is in production. The idea for the growing cart with lights started after contact between tissue grower John Bijl with Vitro Plus and Jacco de Ronde (from the lighting producer) in ... the gym. Bever Innovations was, up until then, a rather unknown company in horticulture, but together with the grower they developed a very practical concept that growers around the world now use.
Grower John, growing about 30 million fern cuttings a year, had a lighting question. He wanted to take a step in quality in the nursery proces, by doing more and better with lighting. LED seemed to be great, but that also generated heat and that heat, when you're stacking growth layers, often gets too close to the plant.
Stephan den Boer is a sales man for Bever Innovations Horticulture
Simpel, but unique too
An innovative technique solves this problem, Stephan den Boer, sales man for Bever Innovations Horticulture knows since 2019. "Bever Innovations has always been good at the development and production of LED displays in price signs, like at gasstations. Around the world you can find our products at major oil companies like Shell, BP and Q8.
Together with John we started developing a product that wasn't around in horticulture. We apply a technique that is on the one hand, simple, but on the other hand unique , creating uniform light above the plants, in the whole growing layer. This is made possible by a light transmission plate we specially designed, where the LEDs are only on the sides of the plate."
The layers are 9 millimeter thick. The light transmitting plate is integrated in the Leaf Carrier's frame.
The lamps are integrated in the sides of the plate. Only there a minimal amount of heat releases. But all the plants get equal light. "The light of the LED lamps at the side of the layer is reflected by the laser dots in the plate. This ensures that the light isn't pawn-shaped like a normal lamp, but it is completely uniform."
That ensures a very uniform production. "With a pawn-shaped light, you get overlap of light and not all plants receive as much. With our technique the light is even, and so is the layer's production. It's no rocket science, but it is a technique where the profits really show, for the growers as well."
Bever Innovations has a patent pending on the optimalisation of light via side-reflection.
Growers are getting more and more acquainted with the technique. "There's interest from all sides. Many nurseries are testing the Leaf Carrier. We stimulate that, so they can work out for themselves if it helps them as much as it does for Vitro Plus. Thanks to the carts, they've even been able to add a new process: sowing fern spores.
Next to growers of all sorts of plant material, tests have also been done with lettuce, Stephan explains. "There, the layers of the Leaf Carrier are filled with 1 liter of water and full heads of lettuce came from the cart, which had used very little water. Water is very expensive in some countries. Think about Qatar, where water costs as much as gas. With our carts, growers could grow very efficiently there."
Looking beyond the cart
The technique is now set up on a cart, but it can be applied loose as well. They've been doing that in Japan, Stephan says. "One customer over there is equipping his lettuce production with loose growing layers using the special light technique that we apply in the carts as well."
That the customers around the world are trying to apply the technique in their own unique situations, is great, they think at Bever Innovations. "It shows that our innovations work in practice."
In Zierikzee (the Netherlands), where the headquarters are, work isn't stopping either. "The Leaf Carrier is now ideal as a simple way to get in, so it's applicable everywhere. We're working on a waterproof cart, too. We're also looking at the application of multiple spectra. We've now made the choice for one spectrum. For many of our potential customers, that works. For now, if they need all colours in one lamp, the uniformity of the light is compromised."
Stephan den Boer
+31 (0)638 69 08 02