Vertical Farming with Horticultural LED lighting helps Italian Basil farmer to triple the yield per qm and shortens time to harvest
The delicious smell of fresh basil greets visitors of the farm Bio Extra Solum in Moncalieri near Turin (Italy). In the midst of the sea of green basil a pink glow catches the visitors’ attention. In cooperation with Ambra Elettronica and with Oslon SSL LEDs by OSRAM Opto Semiconductors as the key component of the horticulture lighting system AMBRALIGHT, the basil producer has established the first functional vertical farming plant in Italy. The hydroponic plant does not only triple the yield per square meter, but also more than doubles the speed to harvest while ensuring a consistently high basil quality.
Location: Regensburg, Germany
Technology/Services: LED components
The company Bio Extra Solum was founded in 2011, utilizing the support of a government issued subvention. It enabled the company to apply innovative and cutting-edge concepts in the agricultural field for the cultivation of basil. The concept of soil based basil cultivation was expanded with the specific goal to increase the crop yield during the winter months, when low temperatures and short supply of sunlight are not optimal for the cultivation of basil. This goal in mind the owners built a 300 m² indoor hydroponic vertical farming facility. The key element, enabling the weather and season independent indoor plant is a horticulture lighting system.
"I have spent two years testing LED lamps for horticultural applications,” explains Vittorio Gariglio, Architect and Owner of Bio Extra Solum, who was responsible for the design and implementation of the vertical farming system. “First of all, I have built and tested a small-scale prototype to identify the most suitable lamp-design in terms of light spectrum and energy-consumption. The prototype also served to find the right combination of different parameters to balance a lower energy-consumption while achieving the best performance and quality”.
“It hasn't been easy to find a partner who could support us in planning and implanting a lighting-system tailored to the specific need of this application field. But in the end we managed to create a true partnership with horticulture lighting specialist Ambra Elettronica. Their AMBRALIGHT system proved to be the right fit for our requirements. The choice of the correct horticultural lamps is the basis for the entire system since it significantly influences the growth and the quality of the plants as well as the energy-consumption."
A system of 528 AE32 AMBRALIGHT LED lamps by Ambra Elettronica, powered with Oslon SSL LEDs by OSRAM Opto Semiconductors, delivers the light ideally suited to grow the healthy basil inside the 300 m² vertical hydroponic farming plant. The LEDs provide an outstanding high efficiency (μmol/J) to minimize the power-consumption and combine the best suited light spectrum for the indoor cultivation of plants such as basil.
The winter growing cycle for basil in vertical farming only takes one month, whereas it takes more than two months using traditional methods. Consequently the traditional method also increases the costs and the risk for both the plants and the grower. With the vertical farming system Bio Extra Solum has managed both to triple the yield per square meter and to more than double the speed to harvest while ensuring a consistently high basil quality for the consumers.
Over the last years OSRAM Opto Semiconductors has extended the horticulture portfolio with new packages and upgraded efficiency by up to 20%. An important addition was a 120° Oslon complementing the 80° and 150° options for 450nm (deep blue), 660nm (hyper red) and 730nm (far red). Together the solution portfolio provides the basis for tailored lighting solutions for all types of plants and flowers, allowing the light to be exactly adapted to the needs of various crops.
AMBRALIGHT is part of the LEDLightforyou network that brings together customers and LED lighting solution partners from all over the world. The network has a broad spectrum of expertise to provide optimum support for any LED lighting project.