Light Science Technologies wins Innovate UK funding to develop ground-breaking sensor technology for vertical farming

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Light Science Technologies (LST) has secured part of a £90 million government investment to support the UK’s most innovative technology to boost agricultural productivity and set food production systems towards net zero emissions by 2040.

The Derby-based company is one of just 23 feasibility projects which has been awarded up to £500,000 from £4.3 million funding which has been set aside for the Science and Technology into Practice feasibility competition, as part of UKRI’s £90 million Transforming Food Production (TFP) programme. In partnership with Nottingham Trent University, the company will be leading the project to develop a growing sensor and innovative transmission node for vertical farms over the next six months, synergy with their light and science offering.

The IoT precision data solution for vertical farming will help boost productivity and efficiency, reflecting the government’s drive to help the agricultural sector grow economically with less environmental impact.

The ‘all in one’ indoor farm sensor will enable farms to monitor and control their environment by measuring key areas including light, water, air, temperature, humidity, oxygen and soil to ensure optimal plant productivity and yield.

The Controlled Environment Agricultural (CEA) market is growing fast at a CAGR of 21 per cent, with increasing demand from AgTech CEA farmers looking to install or replace existing indoor farms to achieve maximum yield on crops for optimum profitability. High start-up costs are attracting investment from stakeholders eyeing the potentially significant ROI opportunity.

Through its custom-made solution for the CEA market, LST works with growers to provide an integrated, cost effective and low maintenance solution that can be used across different crops to achieve maximum yield, creating the full growing “recipe” of lighting, nutrient and environment.

The sensor will form a vital part of its bespoke offering, reducing energy and saving costs using technology and real-time data. LST is focused on becoming a technology driven trailblazer in vertical farming innovation and technology over the next four years, as it looks set to shape the future of the CEA market.

Simon Deacon, CEO of Light Science Technologies added: “This is an especially important boost to our business. To be selected by Innovate UK is confirmation of the urgent need for more sustainable, productive and cost-effective solutions in farming. Investment in UK technology and innovation in this sector is crucial in achieving a better approach to agricultural production and reducing emissions.”

Innovate UK Executive Chair Dr Ian Campbell said: “There are many innovative projects in our latest feasibility competition showcasing ideas for improving productivity and cutting emissions that range across the whole agricultural sector, from arable, to livestock, to sensor technology and to new biopesticides. Our funding and support for these projects is ongoing.”

Innovate UK drives productivity and economic growth by supporting businesses

to develop and realise the potential of new ideas. Innovate UK is part of UK Research and Innovation. For more information visit www.innovateuk.ukri.org.

 

 

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About Author

Editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer as well as responsibility for the Agronomist and Arable Farmer and Farm Business websites. After 17 years milking cows on the family farm John started writing about agriculture in 1998 and has since written for a variety of publications and has developed a wide circle of contacts within the industry. When not working John is an avid follower of Stoke City.