UvA’s most recent spinout SolarFoil aims to increase greenhouse productivity by optimizing sunlight to increase crop yields. In doing so, the use of SolarFoil aims to reduce the use of energy- hungry artificial lighting and make horticulture more sustainable. The team behind SolarFoil, professor Peter Schall and PhD Arnon Lesage of the UvA’s Institute of Physics, have made the UvA’s valorisation infrastructure work for them. SolarFoil received a Physics2Market grant for validating it’s technology and at Demonstrator Lab Amsterdam they found an excellent place to grow and develop the SolarFoil concept. Last but not least, Arnon Lesage ended up winning the Amsterdam Science & Innovation Award 2021 in the category Environment & Climate.
Agriculture is continuously under pressure to become more efficient and minimize the negative impact on the environment. Sunlight is at the heart of agriculture, yet plants and microalgae do not utilize all the light offered by the sun as efficiently. UV light is considered harmful, and green light is partially reflected giving plants their green color. SolarFoil develops a transparent layer, a foil, that can optimize the sunlight’s spectrum for crop growth to increase the yields in greenhouses, polytunnels and for algae.
At the root of SolarFoil’s innovative solution lie nanomaterials that can manipulate the sun’s light and output tailored light spectra. This innovative technology was developed at the UvA’s Institute of Physics, and is now incorporated into the spin off company SolarFoil B.V. It is very rewarding to see that IXA’s efforts to stimulate valorisation, turns into something inspiring as SolarFoil.
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