Light-Speed USA today was named the winner of a lighting technology competition sponsored by NextEnergy, a nonprofit and accelerator of advanced energy technologies, businesses, and industries.
Light-Speed was awarded $80,000 in cash and in-kind services to support the development and demonstration of a next generation greenhouse lighting technology system for RecoveryPark in Detroit, a nonprofit organization established in 2010 to create jobs for individuals with barriers to employment.
“The Light-Speed approach is unique because multiple organizations teamed up for a great solution,” says Jean Redfield, president and CEO of NextEnergy. “We’re proud that our lighting challenge is leading to new partnerships and innovative technology solutions that will spur industry growth.”
The Light-Speed USA technology solution combines specialties of three Michigan entities – LumenFlow’s advanced photonic LED and optical engineering technologies, AMF Nano’s specialty control sensor system, and Nextek Power Systems’ direct current distribution system for a cost-effective, energy efficient, reconfigurable lighting system that optimizes plant growth and adapts to various environmental conditions throughout the year in greenhouses at RecoveryPark Farms.
“There is huge restaurant demand for local produce grown-to-order,” says Gary Wozniak, president and CEO of RecoveryPark. “The challenge was to figure out the best way to mimic Mother Nature by creating an affordable solution to replicate the amount of natural sunlight produced during the peak growing season so we can support the demand for the best produce year-round.”
LumenFlow will custom design lights per plant species to optimize plant sizes and yield as well as increase harvesting cycles and improve plant quality in color, taste and nutrients AMF Nano will adapt its nano sensor technology to sense humidity, water flow, temperature, fertilization levels and photosynthesis levels. The sensors will provide real-time data to the LED lights directing them to provide light only when it is needed, ensuring plant health and growth optimization.
“Light-Speed USA is designing and engineering this new greenhouse lighting system and we’ll be working to help RecoveryPark demonstrate and validate it in a real world setting,” said Redfield. “The timeline is not yet finalized, but we’re hoping to start the demonstrations as early as September.”
Demonstrations of the new technology are planned to be deployed, benchmarked and evaluated at Recovery Park Farms’ urban farming operations in Detroit.