UK tomato glasshouse benefits from heat and power

R&L Holt’s tomato glasshouse will be the first in the UK to use LED inter-row lighting to grow a year-round commercial crop.

The newly-opened 8,500sq m tomato glasshouse in the Vale of Evesham, Worcestershire was officially opened at the end of May to coincide with British Tomato Week.

Rick Holt, partner at family company R&L Holt told Horticulture World “With a conventional tomato crop in the UK you can only pick from March to November. The missing link so far has been the lights.
Tomatoes in glasshouse
“If you just have conventional lighting in the roof you get heat, which is a nuisance. But you can put LEDs closer to the crop – it’s a kinder environment and they can be used throughout the year, even on dull summer days.”

The lighting beams are mounted with four red LEDs for every blue LED, which research has shown is the optimum “light recipe” for tomatoes, he added. “LEDs are still very expensive but the advantages make it worth doing. It’s easier to make that kind of decision with a wholly new glasshouse.

Philips is surprised that it’s the smaller growers who are making use of this technology, but such firms can find it easier to make these kind of decisions.”

“The combined heat and power unit will supply all our CO2 needs. We will only need 10 per cent of the electricity it produces with the lights off, or 50 per cent with the lights on. The rest – around 1.2 MW – will go to the grid.”

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