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Monday, 01 February 2016 16:00

Edinburgh firm's efficient agricultural LED light jumps verification hurdle

An Edinburgh-based small company has overcome the hurdles faced by developers of new green technologies by being the first in the UK to use an EU initiative to verify the product claims for its new agricultural light - called ALIS - that cuts energy consumption on farms by 90%.

ALIS led light2Greengage Lighting Ltd, who have develped the AgriLamp Induction System (ALIS), has achieved verification of the performance claims of its energy efficient lighting product through the European Commission’ Environmental Technology Verification (ETV) pilot scheme. The verification, which is also the first energy verification under ETV, was completed by the UK’s national measurement institute, the National Physical Laboratory (NPL).

NPL verified the energy efficiency of the light source, and validated that its innovative light spectrum matches the colour vision of poultry rather than humans.

Slow-moving industry standards and lack of R&D funding pose a challenge to SME's commercialising cutting-edge green technologies. ETV gives companies working in the water; material, waste and resources; and energy sectors the proof of verification they need to secure investment and market their products. The scheme aims to remove one of the biggest barriers to the uptake of green technologies: lack of confidence that they perform as they claim to. Under this scheme, businesses or entrepreneurs take their product to an accredited ETV verification body of their choice, where innovative features or performance not reflected in existing standards can be assessed.

Marieke Beckmann, Research Lead at NPL's Centre for Carbon Measurement, which acts as a UK verification body for energy technologies under the scheme, explains: "Start-ups are often at the heart of developing breakthrough innovations but also often lack the R&D resource of large organisations. They can't simply rely on brand recognition and are regularly hard hit by sluggish standards. Through ETV, we are working to help small companies in particular get to market more quickly. AgriLamp's ALIS system is a great example of a technology that can deliver change, helping farmers to reduce their environmental impact whilst ensuring productivity."

Optimal lighting conditions are difficult to achieve in poultry farming. If it is too bright, birds can suffer stress. If it is dark in certain areas, birds will lay eggs on the floor in these areas rather than their nest boxes, making them harder to collect and affecting productivity.

ALIS led light1AgriLamp's LED ALIS product provides light designed specifically for situations such as this. It is able to provide consistent lighting conditions, in a spectral band that meets the requirements of Directive 2007/43/EC which lays down minimum rules for the protection of chickens kept for meat production. Evidence suggests that this leads to calmer flocks and lower mortality rates, as well as reducing floor eggs. The product reduces energy consumption by up to 90% and is a flexible clip-on system, so it is flexible and easily tailored to different setups.

Under the ETV pilot scheme, NPL verified ALIS' performance including how it distributes light and how much power it uses. This has proven that ALIS gives a high luminosity for low power consumption through a safe current. 

Azeez Ashiru, Technical Development Engineer at AgriLamp, said: "We wanted to test ALIS within a system that reflected the real situation it would be used in. Existing standards would only be able to compare ALIS to existing, non-agriculture lighting products, rather than recognise its industry-specific key differentiators. Having our light verified by a globally recognised national measurement institute, NPL, through the ETV pilot scheme gives our customers around the world confidence that our product does what we say it does, and that it is safe and efficient."

The ETV pilot scheme is open for applications from companies looking to accelerate industry uptake of their green technologies. The scheme can support any environmental technology, from waste water treatments to sources of renewable energy. A subsidy of up to 50% of the cost of verification through NPL is available for SMEs. For more information visit www.npl.co.uk/carbon-measurement/etv

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