– for the development of energy-efficient and water-conserving plant cultivations in the Middle East Heliospectra AB (publ), a world leader in intelligent lighting technology for plant research and greenhouse cultivation, has been awarded a grant from the Swedish Energy Agency totalling SEK 500,000. Until 31 August 2016, Heliospectra will analyse and improve the possibilities for engaging in energy-efficient, water-conserving growing in the Middle East.

– This venture represents a strategically important development project for Heliospectra. It also of utmost significance for the region as a whole, where water is in short supply and is expected to be an even scarcer commodity in the future. The need to identify energy-efficient and, perhaps even more importantly, water-conserving means of growing plants in the Middle East is enormous in places such as the Middle East, says Staffan Hillberg, CEOof Heliospectra.

For example, a minimal amount of Qatar’s food consumption comes from crops grown in the country, with almost all foods being imported. This system is not sustainable in the long term. While a limited growth regime is possible in a greenhouse environment, temperatures during the summer months can reach over 45 degrees Celsius, making crop growth all but impossible. In certain areas in Africa and California, water will be at even more of a premium than it is today.

– Projects like the Middle East project at hand, which aim to advance the efficiency of plant growth, are going to be increasingly necessary. These are projects where we at Heliospectra, with our products and expertise, can play a major role, according to Staffan Hillberg.

The project’s budget stands at an approximate total of SEK 1.7 million, of which the Energy Agency’s grant covers 30 percent and Heliospectra is funding the remaining 70 percent. The project is part of a larger cooperation agreement between Heliospectra’s part-owner Midroc New Technology and GORD – Gulf Organisation for Research & Development. The aim is to create a pilot facility combining energy-efficient products from Swedish companies in the Midroc portfolio.

Heliospectra is already one of the driving forces behind future-oriented projects aiming to develop effective growing systems with minimal consumption of light and water resources. Among other leading positions, Heliospectra is part of an international consortium which constitutes a part of the EDEN Initiative, a research programme developed by the German aerospace centre, DLR Institute of Space Systems (ISS). EDEN ISS’ primary objective is to develop, integrate and demonstrate various crop cultivation technologies and operating processes for safe food production on board the International Space Station and for future manned space expeditions.