LED makes grass on Bundesliga football pitches 'healthier'

The Greenkeeper LED system in action at the FC Köln ground. Coloured LEDs are used to help spur grass growth.

A wheeled lighting frame stacked with LEDs is being used to improve grass conditions at leading German football club FC Köln (FC Cologne).

FC Köln, which holds a prized place in the German Bundesliga, is using a mobile LED light structure that can move around the team’s training and match pitches beaming LED light onto the field.

The club hopes that the LEDs will speed up the turf's recovery after taking a bruising during a match.

The areas in front of the goals see a disproportionate amount of traffic during a match and therefore need more treatment from the LED lighting.

The team has found that the system leads to grass filling in gaps damaged by play much more quickly than with the older system. Meanwhile, the LED sources are delivering energy savings at the same time.

Hennef, Germany-based Rhenac GreenTec AG developed the LED lighting system, named Greenkeeper, which uses Tina2 optics from Finland-based LEDiL Oy to deliver the required beam pattern.

The frame uses mainly red LEDs with a smaller number of blue LEDs to cover the well-documented chlorophyll absorption peaks of plants. Furthermore, the system includes an integrated infrared heating system to approximate ideal grass-growing conditions, as reported in LEDs Magazine.

FC Köln has found that the LED system delivers six times more light to the playing surface relative to the older HID system. And the mobility enables the pitch crew to move the system into areas that require extra attention.

Evidence gathered from numerous trials, taking place around the world, seems to prove that plants and crops grown using LED light sources, with spectrums tuned specifically to the individual plant or crop, will not only grow faster, but will generally be healthier and provide greater yields - something that bodes well for the future of the LED lighting industry.

A revolution is happening in horticulture. It’s a seismic shift that will change fundamentally how we grow plants – and it’s all down to lighting. Lux's Horticulture Lighting Conference  

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