Portneuf, Quebec, February 23, 2011 -- GE and The Government of Canada announced today they are each investing $1.3 million, for a research project with Les Serres St-Laurent (Savoura) and McGill University, to develop innovative LED lighting technology for commercial greenhouses to help improve growing efficiency while reducing business operational costs.
The joint investment is expected to develop technologies that will enable Canadian greenhouse growers to become more profitable and competitive in the global marketplace. The anticipated benefits to Canadian greenhouse operators may include: reduced energy consumption, year-round production, lower operating cost and may stimulate new jobs in the Canadian greenhouse industry.
"Today's announcement exemplifies successful collaboration driving technology innovation. The application of GE's LED technology will significantly enhance commercial greenhouse operations, not just in Canada, but around the world," noted Elyse Allan, President & CEO, GE Canada.
LED lighting is more energy efficient than high intensity discharge light sources typically used today, so growers will be able to reduce energy consumption and operating costs. "Past studies have also shown that plants react better to certain wavelengths, and this new LED system is expected to increase crop quality and yield," said Minister Blackburn.
GE Lighting Solutions selected McGill University's Mark Lefsrud to conduct research on plant-specific Photo-synthetic Active Radiation (PAR) curves (the specific light wavelength plants require for optimum growth) that plays a key role in the advancement of this significant new lighting option for the horticultural industry.
Savoura, one of the largest greenhouse tomato growers under supplemental lighting in the world, will receive trial testing of GE's LED lighting fixtures to help increase energy efficiency and lower production costs. Since Savoura has the technical growing expertise of tomatoes under artificial light, they will provide leadership, expertise and technical support for planning the experiments.
This unique relationship will combine the key knowledge in LED technology, greenhouse operation and crop science necessary to develop a cutting-edge product aligned with Canadian customer needs.
"Innovative technologies like the one the company will develop will lead to real benefits. They help growers tap new market opportunities, expand their businesses and contribute to the environmental sustainability of the sector," said Minister Blackburn. "Today, our Government is investing in a project that will help farmers reduce their operating costs, produce all year round, and increase their profits."
"This forward looking program will allow Savoura as well as the entire Canadian Greenhouse industry to continue to offer fresh, healthy and tasty vegetables year round, while maintaining operating costs at acceptable levels by using energy more efficiently", noted, Marie Gosselin, President and Director General of Savoura.
"This is the kind of university-industry partnership we at McGill are trying to encourage," said Dr. Rose Goldstein, McGill's Vice-Principal (Research and International Relations). "It's positive for a major Quebec-based company on a number of fronts, including job-creation, it's of benefit to the environment in terms of reduced energy use and it will boost Canada's competitiveness in world markets. McGill is delighted to participate in this project and looks forward to many other such collaborations in the future."
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About GE Lighting Solutions
GE Lighting Solutions, LLC, a proven expert in LED lighting, drives innovation, energy efficiency and cost savings for customers that use LED products, systems and solutions. GE offers an extensive line of high-performance, energy-efficient LED lighting for signage, architectural, outdoor, display and transportation applications. With an installed base of more than 25 million linear feet of LED lighting, GE Lighting Solutions is one of the largest providers of LED lighting systems in the world. For more information, visit www.gelightingsolutions.com.
GE (NYSE: GE) is an advanced technology, services and finance company taking on the world's toughest challenges. Dedicated to innovation in energy, health, transportation and infrastructure, GE operates in more than 100 countries and employs about 300,000 people worldwide. For more information, visit the company's Web site at www.ge.com. In Canada, GE has operations across the country, including major manufacturing, sales and service locations with 8,000 employees. Follow GE Canada on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/GE_Canada and YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/user/GECanada
Sarah Triantafillou, Communications & PR Manager, GE Canada