Susturbanfoods

Integrated sustainability assessment of social and technological innovations towards urban food systems

NEW PAPER: The eco-efficiency of LED farming

New paper of Susturbanfoods published in Sustainability.

ABSTRACT: Notwithstanding that indoor farming is claimed to reduce the environmental pressures of food systems, electricity needs are elevated and mainly associated with lighting. To date, however, no studies have quantified the environmental and economic profile of Light Emitting Diodes (LED) lighting in indoor farming systems. The goal of this study is to quantify the effect of varying the red (R) and blue (B) LED spectral components (RB ratios of 0.5, 1, 2, 3 and 4) on the eco-efficiency of indoor production of lettuce, chicory, rocket and sweet basil from a life cycle perspective. The functional unit of the assessment was 1 kg of harvested fresh plant edible product, and the International Reference Life Cycle Data System (ILCD) method was employed for impact assessment. Even though most of the materials of the LED lamp and electronic elements were imported from long distances (14,400 km), electricity consumption was the largest contributor to the environmental impacts (with the LED lamps being the main electricity consumers, approximately 70%), apart from the resources use indicator, where the materials of the lamps and the mineral nutrients were also relevant. RB0.5 was the most energy-efficient light treatment but had the lowest eco-efficiency scores due to the lower crop yields.

Link to the publication here.

The results of this paper are linked to the case of LED farming in Bologna (Italy).

LED_farm

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