Research body unveils findings from glass trials

Closer study of the relationship between glass and daylight is leading to advances in the protected crop sector, showcased at Horti Fair.

Dutch horticultural research organisation Wageningen UR Glastuinbouw has conducted promising trials on the benefits of glass with various properties such as light diffusion.

According to researcher Frank Kempkes: "Direct sunlight only hits the plant's surface, whereas diffuse light enters deeper into the crop. By diffusing direct light, you can get an increase in production of five to 10 per cent - though the glass is more expensive."

His team also looked at the use of glass to focus incoming light on a photovoltaic cell, which can serve as an energy source within the glasshouse, he added.

Meanwhile, among the Innovation Award nominees in the technology category was what is thought to be Eastern Europe's first contender - GroGlass AR, a metal oxide-based glass coating from Latvian firm GroGlass.

The company's chief executive, Alexander Kelberg, said: "The coated glass lets eight per cent more PAR light through, but also five per cent less heat. It's also optimised for lower light angles. We believe it offers growers a three-year payback."

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