Lighting Research Center Adds New Staff, New Study

October 23, 2013 - 13:56

Light and plants expert Tessa Pocock, Ph.D., has joined the Lighting Research Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute as a senior research scientist, leading the development of a new plant physiology lighting program.

Light and plants expert Tessa Pocock, Ph.D., has joined the Lighting Research Center (LRC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., as a senior research scientist, leading the development of a new plant physiology lighting program. Her research will focus on plant photosynthesis, development and regulation by light for traditional greenhouse crops and medicinal plants.

Prior to joining the LRC, Pocock was director of research at Heliospectra in Sweden, where she designed light-emitting diode (LED) regimes to reduce energy consumption, produce healthier plants and improve the quality of greenhouse crops.

For the last four years, she has been developing a biofeedback system in which the physiology of the plant regulates the spectrum and intensity of LED arrays, in collaboration with Chalmers University of Technology, under a grant from the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Environmental Research (Mistra).

NYSERDA-funded study

One of Pocock’s first projects at the LRC is a study in collaboration with Gotham Greens, a New York City-based agribusiness with rooftop greenhouses in Brooklyn. The team will research, evaluate and model LED and high intensity discharge greenhouse lighting systems to reduce energy and its associated atmospheric pollution and improve plant throughput and appearance for higher margins.

The study is funded by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, which is providing $500,000 through a research and development program targeting improvements in energy efficiency and crop production for controlled environment agriculture, such as greenhouses. This research will identify optimal lighting to increase leafy vegetable production using energy-efficient LEDs compared with existing HID fixtures.

For more information visit www.lrc.rpi.edu.

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