Volkmar Keuter studied Bio-Process Engineering at the University of Applied Science in Berlin and Mechanical Engineering at the University of Essen. After stations at Lurgi Australia, in the R&D department of Envicon in Dinslaken, at the Betriebsforschungsinstitut BFI in Düsseldorf and MNT Systems GmbH in Oberhausen he came to the Fraunhofer-Institute for Environmental, Security and Energy Technology UMSICHT in Oberhausen in 2006. Among others he established there inFARMING®, a concept of integrating food production systems within metropolitan regions. Topics are the development of specific materials, lighting systems and cultivation processes. From 2013 to 2016 he has been the Managing Director of the Fraunhofer-inHaus-Center in Duisburg. Keuter took the Head of the Department Photonics and Environment at Fraunhofer UMSICHT in January 2016.
LED Lighting Systems for Indoor Horticultural Systems of the Future – inFarming
Securing food for a growing world population, loss of fertile soils by urbanization, erosion and desertification and change of precipitation patterns due to climate change and negative impacts of conventional agriculture – these are the factors making it inevitable to develop new concepts for a resource efficient food production. Moreover urban horticultural systems can contribute to enhance the supply of urban inhabitants with high quality products.
Especially fresh vegetables as tomatoes or cucumbers are grown hydroponically in protected horticultures already in significant rates where soil-independent water-based systems are used to ensure the supply of much of the vegetables. The site conditions are only linked to light, water, heat and nutrient availability. These four factors can be found without any difficulties in urban areas. By integrating food production into new or existing building technologies (inFARMING®) synergies of the greenhouse and the original building can be used effectively.
As part of our work we will present new results of demonstration plant experiments for intelligent grow light systems. Regarding new requirements in indoor farming applications growth conditions of plants concerning concentrations of the active ingredients can be regulated among others by adapting the light spectrum. The technology is demonstrated by the example of chard and the light-optimized production of the flavonoids formed by the plants.
Furthermore the presented work will give an overview to further needs as of predictive lighting systems and responds to large scale test facilities and will show first drafts of a demonstration and test center in Germany to be build.
In green plants chlorophyll (a) and (b) are mainly responsible for the absorption of light. This needed spectrum is generated by LED. We developed a HPLC-method to measure the variations of low concentrations of flavonoids induced by different light spectra and light intensities in the plant biomass. Furthermore we are working on faster and nondestructive methods.