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LED plant factory past, present and future

In recent ten years, due to the appearance of blue LED and the successful development of the combination of red and blue LED light source, and the application of intelligent control technology based on network, the artificial plant light source energy consumption has been significantly reduced, the cultivation layer spacing is further shortened, energy efficiency Than the substantial increase. In the meantime, the application of sensors, intelligent controllers and IoT technologies has also made it possible to plant plants intelligently.
We can see that during this period, many countries across the country accelerated the pace of plant research and development and industrialization. For example, Japan has proposed in 2009 that it vigorously develop plant factories and revitalize modern agriculture plans. In the same year, the South Korean government also began to support scientific research institutions and enterprises to jointly carry out research and development of Artificial Light Plant. On the one hand, the United States, on the one hand, provides food security for space station and planet exploration through the research of plant factories; on the other hand, it proposes the idea of ​​"skyscraper agriculture" to break through the resource bottlenecks in space.
Also in 2009, the R & D team of plant plants of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences and the Institute of Horticulture and Gardening Technology Co., Ltd. in Central China reached the first case of intelligent plant in China. At present, the technical achievements have been extended to more than 20 provinces and cities such as Beijing, Shanghai and Shandong.
In fact, China started its research and development of plant plants in the 1990s. In 2002, it successfully developed the plant of natural light plants. In 2005, it developed the experimental system of the LED plant factory and the first LED plant factory was exhibited at the 2010 Shanghai World Expo. In 2013, the state formally listed the "Research on Production Technology of Intelligent Plant Plants" into the "863" project and currently has about 100 plants of artificial light plants of different sizes.
Plant factories in full swing the momentum of development gradually attracted the attention of many people in the LED lighting industry, coupled with President Xi Jinping in the country during the 12th Five-Year Scientific and Technological Innovation Achievement Exhibition, the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences independently developed intelligent LED plant Factories have shown a certain degree of attention, especially for those who are interested in joining the industry happy, for its future development has added a lot of confidence.
In this paper, Liu Wenke, a researcher, Ph.D., doctoral tutor at the Institute of Agricultural Environment and Sustainable Development, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, will give you a comprehensive understanding of plant factories and help you to understand more about the development in this area With foreground.
 
Definition of articles
According to the Japanese scholar Furukawa's "Artificial Light Plant Factory" and the Chinese scholar Yang Qichang's "Introduction to Plant Factories" gives the definition of plant factory: Plant factory is a facility through the high-precision environmental control, to achieve the anniversary of the crop Continuous production of efficient agricultural systems, is the computer of crop growth process temperature, humidity, light, CO? Concentration, nutrient solution and other environmental elements of automatic control, free or rarely constrained by the natural mode of labor-saving production methods.
Plant Factories make full use of modern equipment engineering, biotechnology, facilities, horticultural techniques, plant physiology, plant cultivation and environmental control information technology and other means, are highly technology-intensive industries, over the years has been internationally recognized as the highest level of development of facilities and horticulture Stage, is one of the important indicators of a country's level of agricultural high-tech development.
However, Dr. Liu Wenke said that plant factories originated from Japanese scholars have some deficiencies in the concept of plant factories, mainly in the areas of over-definition, ambiguous boundary conditions, lack of facility type, facility confinement and control factors and their precision difference. This hindered people's uniform understanding of plant factories, confused the direction of system technology research and development and industrial application. Plant Factories should have the "factory" basic attributes. Closed plant production systems and the degree of automation is a measure of plant plant modernization and factory production potential of the core indicators.
From the definition of generality and authority point of view, the plant plant environmental control essentially consists of three categories: automatic control of water and fertilizer, environmental control and automation of plant automation products production lines.
Plant factory should be a certain degree of automation of the assembly line plant production facilities. Automated assembly line is divided into three stages: prenatal (nursery), production (transplanting planting, cultivation and transport), postpartum (harvesting, packaging), with emphasis on prenatal and mid-delivery stage.
The essential characteristics of a plant factory are the automatic control of production factors. However, the level of automation in a plant factory is hierarchical and the facility intelligent level is divided. The plant plant's recommended definition should focus on the nature of the automation controls within its facility. Dr. Liu Wenke pointed out that the previous definition focused on the highest stage and ideal form of the plant factory while neglecting the various forms occurring during the plant plant development process and it is difficult to enumerate the current transition mode of all the plant factories and suggested amendments.
To this end, he suggested that the plant plant should be part of the plant growth and development of all or part of the production factors (environmental factors, water and fertilizer supply, etc.) can be fully automated control, and have a certain degree of plant automation of spatial production management functions to achieve Plants that produce large-scale and efficient plants with little or no disturbance from the outside environment Plant production systems. Based on this definition, solar greenhouse, multi-storey building facilities model can be regarded as a plant factory, as long as it has the definition of the essential characteristics.
 
Technical articles
According to reports, the plant's core technical equipment includes four aspects, namely, three-dimensional multi-layer soilless cultivation technology and equipment, artificial light lighting technology and equipment, intelligent environmental control technology and equipment, plant production automation control technology and equipment.
In recent years, these core technologies and equipment have been greatly developed and are being gradually standardized and applied on a large scale. Plant plant's peripheral envelope structure design, functional zoning, the regional airtight guarantee is very important, is directly related to plant initial installation costs and operating costs and energy consumption, but also related to production efficiency.
1, three-dimensional multi-layer soilless cultivation technology and equipment
Three-dimensional multi-layer soilless cultivation technology and equipment refers to the use of soilless cultivation methods, with the help of the cultivation bed and shelf pipeline equipment, plants in the multi-storey three-dimensional cultivation rack for production technology and equipment. Three-dimensional multi-layer soilless cultivation technology and equipment is artificial plant essential essential plant equipment, but also the sun plant plants need urgent development of technical equipment. Currently, a variety of three-dimensional multi-layer soilless culture technology equipment based on NFT and DFT technology has been developed for leafy vegetables and rhizomes. Three-dimensional multi-layer soilless cultivation technology and equipment mainly include nutrient solution storage and supply system (nutrient pool, pump system, liquid return line, planting bed, control system, etc.).
2, artificial light lighting technology and equipment
Artificial lighting technology and equipment is artificial light plant factory core technology and equipment for plant production to provide photosynthetic energy and light signals. Fluorescent light is a traditional light source, LED is a new light source. The mechanisms of plant physiology of the two light sources have been widely revealed, and the biological basis of the application of the two light sources has been very clear. However, LED as a new type of solid-state semiconductor light source has the incomparable photoelectric advantages of fluorescent lamps, including:
(1) The spectrum can be modulated according to the needs of plant growth and development, light on demand and high biological light efficiency;
(2) cold light source, close to plant irradiation, improve space utilization;
(3) good controllability, precise control of light intensity, light quality and light cycle, suitable for factory production;
(4) energy saving, environmental protection, long life, small size, light weight;
(5) LED light source device diversity (light board, lamp belt, lamp and bulb), suitable for all fields of horticultural facilities.
At present, there have been panel lamps, strip lights, lamps, lights and other plant with plant lights have been developed and popularized applications. At the same time, a variety of solar plant plant LED photo light has also been developed, including the canopy fill lights, flowering lights, lights and so on. Artificial lighting technology and equipment, including light source lamps, suspension systems, control systems, power supplies.
3, intelligent environmental control technology and equipment
Intelligent environmental control technology and equipment by the implementing agencies, testing agencies, control agencies, control factors include temperature, humidity, light, CO? Concentration, airflow, nutrient supply and other production factors, to a large extent the level of environmental control and intelligence determines the plant's plant operating efficiency. Based on the control of plant environment, intelligent environment control needs to be based on the plant physiological response under the coupled control of environmental factors, and needs to be systematically studied in depth. Among the environmental control elements, the most important are nutrients and light. Nutrient and illumination are two environmental elements that have both quantitative and qualitative attributes. It is very difficult to control the intelligence. Its control strategy has the time and space requirements. It also needs to be integrated with other environmental factors and is the focus of future research and development .
4, plant production automation control technology and equipment space
Plant production space automation control technology and equipment, including plant transplanting planting equipment, plant horizontal and vertical mobile transmission technology and equipment, horizontal and vertical light source lamps and lanterns mobile transmission equipment, and mechanized automatic lifts, automatic harvesting and other production management technology and equipment. Plant production automation control technology and equipment is the main plant plant assembly line operations, help to improve production efficiency and control level.
Course articles
It is understood that the development of plant factories began in the 20th century, Europe and the United States and some other developed countries in the 1950s. After more than half a century of development, it has now become an important part of the modern agricultural high-tech industry.
The foundation of the plant factory comes mainly from two technological breakthroughs:
(1) nutrition liquid cultivation techniques. Since the 1940s, based on the theory of "mineral nutrition" as the theoretical basis of plant nutrition, the rapid development of chemical fertilizer industry, water-soluble fertilizer in accordance with the fertilizer formula blending into plant production of nutrition liquid cultivation technology and equipment for large-scale application development for the plant to provide The important technical support.
(2) Environmental perception and control technology. With the sensor and controller as the core of environmental control technology breakthrough, the artificial environment control possible. Plant factory is precisely these two technologies as the basis, to achieve the anniversary of the plant continuous production. To 2000, with LED plant lighting technology advances, the advent of LED light plant plants, the achievements of the plant plant intelligent light environment control technology, which greatly enhance the level of plant automation and energy efficiency.
At present, plant factories are mainly distributed in East Asia and Europe and the United States, with Japan, the Netherlands and China the most representative.
 
Worldwide, plant research and development and industrialization there are several models, including: business-oriented, research institute-led, government-led.
 
The application models of plant factories in our country include: community model, public places (hospitals, shopping malls, restaurants, hotels, etc.), family mode, special places (islands and deserts), business models (lighting enterprises, agricultural enterprises, etc.).
The functions of plant factories include: production of plant products, ecological landscapes, popular science experiences, scientific research and high-tech exhibitions. Among them, the existing mainstream model is scientific research and commercial production.
The future plant industry plant model, will be the government, enterprises, research institutes and user companies dominate the establishment and operation of a variety of innovative modes.
Rough estimate, the global plant factory market in the total scale of hundreds of billions of dollars, China's plant factory market in more than 100 billion yuan. After 2000, the plant plant industry in our country thrived. Only in the first half of 2016, there were more than 20 artificial light plant factories in operation and thousands of hectares of solar plant plants.
However, plant factories in China are small (less than 200m2), single plants (mainly leafy vegetables), uneven levels of environmental control equipment and facilities, and plant factories that demonstrate demonstration and research plant plants and operate commercial plants Less urgently need to be vigorously promoted. After the maturation of plant production technology and equipment, efficient production can be realized and become the basis of profit-making operation.
First, we should explore and maximize the profit points of plant products, product audiences, sales methods, price advantages and other products. Secondly, diversify the profit channels of plant factories and widely receive social support .
The vast majority of plant plants in the world are built in cities and are an important part of urban agriculture. The world's major plant factories are all striving to develop overseas markets and export their technology and equipment. The competition is expected to intensify.
Problem articles
Plant factory development problems
Plant plant is the future trend of development of facilities and horticulture, is an important goal of modern agriculture, the market prospects. Moreover, plant plants are ubiquitous and have a wide range of applications and have seen a dramatic increase in the penetration rate in recent years. It is true that the current development of plant plants also faces many problems that need to be taken seriously and resolved one by one.
First of all, the initial cost of a plant factory is high. Initial cost of plant plants than solar greenhouse, multi-span greenhouse much higher, generally more than 6,000 yuan / ㎡, a 100 ㎡ artificial light plant factory, initial installation costs more than 600,000 yuan.
Second, the high cost of plant plants plant products. To lettuce, for example, artificial light plant lettuce plant production costs 10 to 30 yuan in China's vegetable market decision mechanism under the profit margins smaller.
Third, higher plant operating costs, high energy consumption and labor costs. On the one hand plant plants light source, environmental control system operation (air conditioning, air flow, nutrient solution supply, etc.) require energy consumption, high energy consumption; the other hand, low degree of automation, transplanting planting, nursery, harvesting labor costs high.
Fourth, the degree of standardization is low, and there is no government subsidy policy. Finally, the commercialization model matures, but profit points need to be further explored. Earnings are the ultimate driving force behind the development of the industry. Efforts should be made to tap into the profit-making ways of commercializing plant plants that meet the needs of the market.
Overall, the profitability of plant factories is not only related to their own production capacity, but also related to social background, industry development level and state policies and is a systematic social practice.
Plant plant development related countermeasures
Plant factory industry is a new industry, the need to systematically study the technology and equipment, operational strategies, and explore new business models, ways to profit, in order to achieve sustainable development. The face of the current problems, plant plant development strategy summarized as follows:
(1) R & D and production of energy-efficient plant plant technology and equipment to achieve the anniversary of high quality and yield. The high quality and high yield of agricultural production system is the basis for the profit growth of plant plants. Plant plants that consistently produce high quality and high commodity value must overcome the key technologies. Efforts should be made to develop efficient three-dimensional multi-layer soilless cultivation technology equipment, artificial light illumination equipment, intelligent environment control equipment and plant automation production control technology and equipment at the core technical level of the plant factory, and to launch an optimized integrated integrated system. Among them, intelligent environmental control technology and equipment is more important, directly related to the plant growth and development, yield and quality and plant operation and other energy efficiency constraints factor.
(2) To develop technical parameters for factory production of high value-added plants to increase profit margins. Accelerate the study of plant light quality biological laws of high value-added plants (medicinal plants, health-care plants, rare vegetables, etc.), expand plant species produced by plant factories, and ascertain the mechanism of environmental regulation for the accumulation of functional anabolic substances Available site biomass and beneficial compound content.
(3) Establish a brand strategy to speed up the social awareness and recognition of agricultural products and technical equipment in plant factories. Efforts to develop plant plants brand of plant products, compaction quality assurance mechanism, increase brand promotion efforts, so that plants plant products in depth, so as to increase sales and output.
(4) Construction of a variety of plant types, products, expand the profit model. Focused on developing plant types such as family, commercial and community types, enriching the commercialization of plant factories and expanding the purchase of people; increasing the plant species produced by plant factories and making full use of the multiple functions of plant factories for sustainable profitability.
 
Foreground articles
Prospects for the development of plant plants, the next 5 to 10 years will reach the level of universal application, Dr. Liu Wenke that the driving force behind the development of plant plants mainly from the following aspects.
First of all, the state and enterprises have increased their investment and efforts in the research and development of plant factories, and the confidence in the industry has doubled. Plant factory is an important symbol of modern agriculture. Its development reflects to a certain extent the level of high-tech agricultural development in a country and a region and is also an important direction for the future international high-tech agricultural competition. Plant factory is a high input, high-tech, high-output mode of production, in the early stages of development, inseparable from the national policy support. Therefore, during the "12th Five-Year Plan" and "13th Five-Year Plan" period, the state stepped up R & D of science and technology, carried out multidisciplinary coordination research, reduced costs and improved efficiency, and accelerated the industrialization rate of plant factories.
Second, the business community has stepped up its capital investment in plant factories. This is evidenced by the experience of Japan's development, which has been the main driving force for the development of the plant factory. China's lighting business community is actively promoting the development of plant industry, the use of their own light manufacturing advantages, combining production and research, the rapid development.
The national level is very much recognized for the development of plant factories, which is reflected in the following three events:
First, the 2013 "National 12th Five-Year Plan" project "Intelligent Plant Plant Production Technology Research" was initiated by the Institute of Agricultural Environment and Sustainable Development of Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, indicating the prospect of R & D and industrialization of plant factories at the national level Recognition, with landmark significance. There are 7 topics in this project, which include plant energy-saving LED light source, three-dimensional soilless culture, light and temperature coupled energy-saving environment control, nutrition liquid regulation, intelligent management based on network, artificial light plant factory and natural light plant factory integrated demonstration. A total of more than 20 advantages of science and education units and enterprises across the country more than 160 experts involved in the total project funding of 46.11 million yuan.
Second, on June 3, 2016, "Intelligent LED Plant Factory" independently researched and developed by the Plant Environment Engineering Team of Institute of Agricultural Environment and Sustainable Development, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences debuted in the 12th Five-Year Scientific and Technological Innovation Achievements Exhibition , Has received great attention from the party and state leaders, which has a positive effect on the industrialization of plant factories.
Thirdly, on June 17, 2016, the Agricultural Lighting Committee was set up to become a national organization platform for promoting the plant factory led by LED plant lighting. The above three major events highlight the recognition and continued support from the national level for the R & D of plant factories and their related technical equipment, laying a solid foundation for the sustainable development of plant factories and their related technologies.
Third, the development of the plant industry at the right time, need to be vigorously promoted. Plant plants LED lighting led by the rapid development of plant lighting industry, LED lighting applications become a new blue ocean, a new growth point for industrial development. With plant lighting industry as the basis of intelligent control, cultivation and other industries are developing rapidly. Plant factories to provide pollution-free, high-quality plant products, to protect the safety of urban and rural residents of great significance.
Finally, the basic technical reserves for the development of plant factories have matured, and the embryonic form of industry has been formed and will soon enter the period of rapid industrial development. At present, more than 200 enterprises have been involved in the plant industry and have introduced whole or partial component products. Therefore, driven by many favorable conditions and driven by the urgent needs of social development, in the continuous creation of cross-border innovation, the research and development and industrialization of plant plants in our country will surely shine and become one of the world's major industrial players in the plant industry Column.
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