Yamaguchi University and Showa Denko ally to promote plant factories

16/03/2015

National University Corporation Yamaguchi University and Showa Denko (SDK) (Tokyo:4004) have concluded a partnership agreement to jointly promote global dissemination of technologies for LED-based plant factories.

This agreement aims to promote dissemination and development of plant factories in global scale by transferring our original high-speed plant growth technology “SHIGYOTM method,” which was jointly developed by Professor Masayoshi Shigyo, Faculty of Agriculture, Yamaguchi University, and SDK. The results of joint researches related to SHIGYOTM method will be disseminated to research institutions of the world through Yamaguchi University’s global academic network, and also to enterprises who operate plant factories through spread of SDK’s proprietary design and operation know-how for integrated plant factory systems.

SHIGYOTM method is a technology to accelerate growth of plants by irradiating light emitted from SDK’s proprietary ultra-bright red LEDs and blue LEDs in optimum pattern for plant growth, and consequently shorten harvest cycles and increase yields of plant factories. On the other hand, the optimum light irradiation methods differ depending on the plant and the environment in which it is grown. Therefore, after introduction of SHIGYOTM method, it is necessary for plant factory operators to receive technical support to attain optimum high-speed plant growth. Thus, in order to promote global marketing of plant factories in combination with SHIGYOTM method, establishment of reliable support program was an urgent issue.

Yamaguchi University is now aggressively promoting internationalization of its activities, and has concluded academic partnership agreements with various research institutions worldwide including agricultural colleges. Yamaguchi University also has ample experience in international economic cooperation programs including acceptance of trainees and dispatch of specialists to institutions outside Japan. Thus, Yamaguchi University and SDK expect that the new partnership will accelerate transfer of plant factory technologies to research institutions in various countries of the world, raise many engineers, and consequently contribute to the creation of a global support network that provides detailed follow-up guidance on plant factory operation and cultivation for enterprises that introduce plant factory systems.

In addition, SDK has been developing many plant-factory related products that support realization of optimum environment for high-speed plant growth and productivity improvement of plant factories, including LED lighting equipment, aluminum racks for plant cultivation, and heat insulation panels coated with antimicrobial photocatalyst “LUMI-RESHTM.” SDK also has know-how to support launches of integrated plant factory systems, and is now involved in operations of 21 plant factories in Japan. Together with Yamaguchi University, SDK will aim to contribute to the dissemination and development of plant factories conforming to environment of each region of the world through cooperation with research institutions worldwide.

Yamaguchi University and SDK are now making effort together to obtain patents for SHIGYOTM method, and will promote licensing of these patents to customers who wish to introduce SHIGYOTM method. Through integration of Yamaguchi University’s academic knowledge about agriculture and SDK’s base technologies and business knowledge about plant factories, the two parties will further develop cultivation technologies for plant factories, and contribute to stable supply of safe and secure foods.

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Cultivation of plants by SHIGYO™ method (provided by TJ Create)