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Michigan State Explores LEDs for Horticulture
Indoor State-of-the-Art Lighting Laboratory

Michigan State Explores LEDs for Horticulture

Students and visitors to the campus can look inside CELL through a large window in the corridor on the first floor of the Plant and Soil Sciences Building. This was done to spark interest and curiosity in visitors. Photo Credit: William Meng

Located on the first floor of the Plant and Soil Sciences Building at Michigan State University is an advanced, vertical farming research facility that focuses on the indoor production of a vast variety of plants.

The Controlled-Environment Lighting Laboratory, or CELL, was developed by Dr. Erik Runkle from the Horticultural department with the aim of: researching controlled-environment production of food and ornamentals, informing growers on indoor growing systems, capturing the interest of the public and teaching undergraduate students. LEDs Magazine said that CELL was "arguably the most complex and capable such solid-state lighting system in the world."

CELL consists of two independently controlled and refrigerated growth rooms, each with 12 deep-flow hydroponic shelves. The lights found inside CELL are all LEDs and were developed in collaboration between the university and OSRAM, a multinational lighting manufacturer headquartered in Munich, Germany.

Customized software allows meticulous control of every shelf's lights. In a video with MSU, Dr. Erik Runkle states, "Thanks to the highly sophisticated lighting system that OSRAM developed... we can literally create an infinite number of lighting scenarios."

The custom-designed system includes the following LED channels:
aEUR? UV-A 380 nm
aEUR? Blue 450 nm
aEUR? Green 520 nm
aEUR? Hyper red 650 nm
aEUR? Far red 730 nm
aEUR? Warm white 2700K
aEUR? Equalized (EQ) white 6500K

Current research being done includes a study on the use of light to produce leafy greens with desired attributes, like thicker leaves or better taste, and an exploration on how sole-source lighting affects growth and development of flowering crops.

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December 6, 2019, 12:48 pm PDT

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