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Light Science Technologies awarded £503,000 Innovate UK funding to develop AgriTech grow lighting solution

Light Science Technologies awarded £503,000 Innovate UK funding to develop AgriTech grow lighting solution

Light Science Technologies (LST) has been awarded a £503,000 grant to develop a lighting and sensor technology system for indoor farming. 

Awarded by Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency, the grant is part of its Farming Initiative Pathway (FIP) consortium for more sustainable and efficient plant growth in the UK agricultural sector and will leverage LST’s expertise in sensor and lighting technology for indoor growing. 

LST’s turnkey, intelligent LED grow-lighting product is expected to be the first retrofittable, all-in-one solution designed for polytunnels and glasshouses - bringing sustainable, controlled environment technology to growers. It will extend the growing season, enabling farmers to grow a wider variety of produce all year round, while providing a potential solution to ongoing labour shortages and reduce reliance on food imports. 

The initial potential UK market includes over 4,000 industrial growers, producing over 300 types of field-scale and protected vegetable and salad crops, and tree and berry fruits covering over 10 million m2. 

The solution is being developed as part of a consortium between LST, Zenith Nurseries and Morrish Engineering Ltd, which began in November 2021, with a potential value of up to £13.84 million*. 

In October 2021, LST announced its flotation on the London Stock Exchange, raising gross proceeds of £5.2 million with the company’s market capitalisation on admission at £17.4 million. Established in 2019, the firm currently employs 16 staff at its Derbyshire-based HQ with inbuilt lab facilities and is set on global expansion as demand for growing fresh produce using more sustainable farming methods soars, including vertical farming, polytunnels and glasshouses. Last year, it launched nurturGROW, its 90% recyclable and reusable lighting product designed to reduce landfill waste, winning a global award for sustainability.  

Simon Deacon, CEO and founder of Light Science Technologies, said:

“Due to the shorter growing seasons, unpredictable climatic conditions and heavy reliance on manual labour processes, the UK struggles to produce enough food to meet demand. We are delighted to have been selected for funding by Innovate UK, which is testament to the potential value of our product in alleviating both these national issues and extending our routes to market. We look forward to keeping the market informed with developments as we capitalise on our growing number of routes to market.” 

The total market size for polytunnel in Europe is worth a potential £2.96 billion in 2022 with a predicted CAGR of 9.6% from 2021-28. 

* subject to certain milestones and conditions as more fully described in the company's announcement on 15 October 2021.

Picture: L-R Vickie Cooper, Innovate UK; John Matcham, LST; Tony Newell, Zenith Nurseries; Andrew Hempsall, LST; Mike Brain and David Brain, Morrish Engineering


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