The University of Sheffield has been awarded funding worth £829,000 to significantly reduce the energy usage of its plant growth research facility while modernising it.
The Sir David Read Controlled Environment Facility enables researchers to grow crops in environments that are similar to the majority of climate conditions found across the globe.
It helps enhance their understanding of how crops are affected by climate change and develop solutions to overcome common plant pathogens and diseases.
The funding from the Salix Energy Efficiency Scheme will be used to replace existing lighting in the facility with LEDs, which along with requiring much less energy will give a “spectral composition as close as possible to that of natural sunlight” and provide the ability to mimic sunrise and sunset conditions.
Timo Blake, Controlled Environment Facilities Manager at the university’s Department of Animal and Plant Sciences said: “As well as saving a huge amount of energy, this upgrade will give researchers here at Sheffield access to some of the best controlled plant growth facilities in the world.
“Researchers using the facilities will be able to accurately track weather conditions from different parts of the planet, along with the ability to use climate data from historical and modelled weather systems too.”
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