Light Science Technologies' lab growing plants in a controlled environment

AgriTech firm Light Science Technologies Ltd (LST) has announced the start of a project to develop a lighting and sensor technology system for indoor farming, reducing the need for import substitution by extending the harvest window.

The contracted project, potentially worth up to £13.84 million* is with UK grower Zenith Nurseries Ltd and Morrish Engineering Ltd, and will focus on development of the first retrofittable, semi-automated, all-in-one lighting and sensor solution, providing year-round harvests for growers across multiple plant varieties in vertical farming, polytunnel and glasshouse environments.

With an initial potential UK market of 4,000 industrial growers, producing over 300 types of field-scale and protected vegetable and salad crops, and tree and berry fruits, the solution will aim to improve productivity by increasing yields. It will look to help growers by providing a possible solution to labour shortages and reduce the need for import substitution by extending the harvest window.

Last month, LST announced its flotation on the London Stock Exchange, raising gross proceeds of £5 million with the company’s market capitalisation on admission at £17.4 million. It was established in 2019, the same year it won Innovate UK funding to develop its tech. The firm currently employs 17 staff at its Derby-based HQ with inbuilt lab facilities and is set on global expansion as demand for growing fresh produce using more sustainable farming methods soars. This year it launched its own award-winning lighting technology nurturGROW which is 90% recyclable and 85% reusable to reduce landfill waste.

Simon Deacon, CEO of Light Science Technologies, commented: “The development of our LED grow lighting solution is an exciting progression for the AgTech market as we look at creating more sustainable ways of farming.

“We are in the midst of an extremely buoyant period of growth for LST, having last month floated on the LSE. We have a growing number of routes to increased commercialisation and believe that we are well placed to scale up rapidly.”

There are strong prospects for the indoor farming technologies market over the next four years, as the CEA market is poised to grow by $624.28 million during 2021-2025, progressing at a CAGR of almost 9% during the forecast period, with reduction in pollution and deforestation said to be driving growth.

*Source: subject to specific milestones and conditions as more fully described in LST’s flotation announcement on 15 October 2021