Natural Light Growing (NLG) Centre

CHAP has partnered with RIPE building services Ltd to realise the development of a new approach to commercial protected crop production utilising full UV spectrum natural daylight.

For the first time, RIPE enables the cost effective replacement of glass with Ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE), a material that allows full UV penetration. ETFE has become increasingly popular with architects and has already been widely adopted as the optimal replacement for glass in iconic buildings such as the Water Cube, built to house the aquatic arena for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Working closely with CHAP, RIPE are constructing the world’s first Natural Light Growing (NLG) Centre at University of Warwick Life Sciences, Wellesbourne to scientifically prove the impact of full spectrum natural light on crops within a protective environment.

Pictured above you can see the first crop grown in the structure, baby cucumbers.

The strip of pictures at the bottom of the page shows the complex heating, irrigation, environment and electronic control wiring that will keep the NLG Centre operating at maximum efficiency. There are also photos showing the ETFE film in place but not yet tensioned, and below you can see the roof panels with the now tensioned ETFE during the testing of the Venlo roof systems and the  final fit installation of frame sealing rubber. The structure also has in-built rainwater harvesting, with a 74,000 litre above-ground rain storage tank and a 63,000 litre additional underground (soakaway) rain storage facility. This means there is almost 140 tonnes of on-site rain water storage. There is also a smaller 20,000 litre water and fertiliser storage tank.


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The NLG Centre’s research will focus on UV’s impact on:

  • plant health
  • nutrition
  • flavour
  • shelf life
  • growth and development
  • disease resistance
  • pollination
  • biological control
  • photosynthetic efficiency

RIPE will also focus on new and emerging technologies for controlled environments such as micronutrients and bio-stimulants, through to the next generation of power and lighting control systems.



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