FutureProteins – Developing a hybrid lighting system

© Fraunhofer IOSB
Basic idea of the hybrid lighting system being developed at Fraunhofer IOSB.

Short description of the project

The Fraunhofer lighthouse project “FutureProteins” combines the manufacture of alternative protein sources in closed agricultural systems with the integrated use of all by-products to manufacture other raw proteins. The alternative protein sources used include certain plants (potatoes, wheatgrass, alfalfa), insects (mealworms) and filamentous fungi such as microalgae. These all contain an amino acid profile that is well suited to human nutrition, as well as good application properties that make them highly attractive for the food industry.

Solution approach

When it comes to producing plant-based proteins, the vertical farming approach is crucial. A major advantage of this approach is that it means cultivation can take place year-round regardless of climate, making it highly efficient and resilient. The closed systems conserve far more resources than conventional farming methods: Vertical farming of plants uses just 5% of the water required for conventional methods and 50% less fertilizer, while also completely eliminating the need for pesticides.

Project goals

To optimize vertical farming even further in terms of energy and cost efficiency, a hybrid lighting system is being developed at Fraunhofer IOSB to combine sunlight and LED light dynamically in a wavelength-specific way. This allows special lighting recipes to be implemented and adapted to the different growth phases of the plants (germination, root development, stem growth etc.).

Project partners

  • Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME (leadership)
  • Fraunhofer Institute for Process Engineering and Packaging IVV
  • Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology IGB
  • Fraunhofer Institute of Optronics, System Technologies and Image Exploitation IOSB
  • Fraunhofer Institute for Machine Tools and Forming Technology IWU
  • Fraunhofer Institute for Environmental, Safety, and Energy Technology UMSICHT

Department SIG of Fraunhofer IOSB

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Project details

FutureProteins – Developing a hybrid lighting system

Project duration: January 1, 2021 - December 31, 2024

The project is funded by the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft.