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Illumitex research deal targets LED horticulture apps

Posted: 12 Sep 2011 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:LED lighting? horticulture applications? lighting systems?

Illumitex Inc., a company specializing in LED lighting for horticulture applications, is working with Syngenta in a joint research and business development relationship. Syngenta is a Swiss-based crop company.

"While once thought to be a small niche of the LED revolution, the horticulture segment is now an extremely relevant application for solid-state lighting," said Matt Thomas, CEO of Illumitex, in a statement.

The joint collaboration envisions projects to improve live plant production processes in Switzerland, the Netherlands and the United States scheduled to begin in Q3 2011. Additional projects are being planned globally.

Illumitex claims its horticulture lighting systems provide dynamic wavelength control to regulate plant growth and its Digital Distribution beam technology produces high light quality on the plants.

"As an LED manufacturer, Illumitex has solved the two previous impediments to successfully utilizing LED lighting in horticulture applications: color uniformity on the plants and cost per delivered photon," said Jon Campbell, Syngenta's head of partnerships and scouting for the lawn & garden business, in a statement.

"The combination of Illumitex's LED technology and Syngenta's deep understanding of plants will enable the development of integrated customer solutions to deliver better plants, more efficiently."

In conjunction with the collaboration, Syngenta Ventures, the venture capital arm of the company, has made an investment in Illumitex as part of the enterprise's latest round of private funding. The funds will be used to assist Illumitex with continued LED technology research and development as well as expand sales and marketing efforts of existing products.

Syngenta research has shown that LED lighting systems with low-energy semiconductors as the light source can better support plant growth in controlled environments such as greenhouses and reduce costs for growers. The benefits for growers include optimized color uniformity on the plants and the ability to control the wavelengths of light delivered onto the plant surface which also reduces energy consumption.

In an earlier release this year, Illumitex claimed that its new Surexitm technology produces the only LED on the market that includes a custom light spectra in a single LED package, eliminating the color separation issues inherent in other horticulture LED lighting.

LED companies said to be chasing the horticulture market include Philips, Osram and GE, among others.

- Nicolas Mokhoff
??EE Times

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