Rift Labs

This interview details Rift Labs, a cutting-edge light-based solutions provider based in Norway. The interview is with Halvard Aagaard, CEO of Rift Labs.

Source: Rift Labs

What is the origin story of Rift Labs?

Rift Labs was founded more than a decade ago, initially focusing on the cinema lighting industry – i.e., targeting professional cinematographers and directors of photography, where the requirements for high precision and light quality are extreme.

Over the years, we developed and perfected what is now a patented technology for the dynamic control of LED lights. In 2020, we realized that we had something unique with the potential to revolutionize the indoor farming industry and decided to focus our attention here. In short, our technology enables the continuous adaptation of dynamic light conditions for optimized plant growth, while at the same time achieving world-leading energy efficiency.

Source: Rift Labs


What are some of the biggest challenges facing Rift Labs in the future?

The global food production system is undergoing a significant shift, moving away from traditional climate-dependent practices to embrace soil-less, sunlight-less, climate-independent agriculture. This transition is a recent development, particularly when considering the relatively short history of agriculture, spanning only a few thousand years. The driving force behind this change is the convergence of two distinct yet independently developed technologies: artificial lighting, with a focus on LED lighting, and artificial intelligence. The combination of these technologies opens up new avenues for optimizing and enhancing current growing methods. Despite ongoing research in this field, it is clear that we have only begun to explore the full potential of this synergistic approach. While the shift poses challenges, it also presents an opportunity for innovation.

Rift Labs, recognizing our unique position, has invested significant time and resources over several years to understand how our LED technology can be effectively integrated to improve not only lighting conditions but also overall growing conditions. The goal is to address core challenges facing the industry and contribute to facilitating this transition. In doing so, Rift Labs aims to play a pivotal role in ushering in a more efficient and sustainable future for global food production.

Source: Rift Labs


What is unique about Rift Labs compared to competitors?

The LED light market today is heavily influenced by a few major companies that deliver standardized solutions that mostly rely on a static or fixed light spectrum. We make use of our proprietary and state-of-the-art software for mixing light, which enables extremely precise and consistent dynamic lighting – in high quality across all temperatures and colors. The significance of this is huge: By manipulating the light conditions in their vertical farm or greenhouse, the grower can induce their plants to exercise certain behaviors whenever they want, regardless of the conditions outside. For our customers, this translates to better yields, much higher flexibility, and more efficient LED operation, with up to 10-25% reduced energy costs compared to our main competitors.

Source: Rift Labs


What are your thoughts on CO2 usage in indoor farms?

I fully recognize the essential role of CO2 for photosynthetic efficiency, and indoor farms are no exception. However, plant growth is influenced by a multitude of input factors, each playing a crucial role in shaping the overall development and productivity of plants. Because the balance and coordination of these factors determine the plant's ability to thrive, understanding and optimizing this complex interplay is essential for successful cultivation. This is why we have a more holistic approach, where we have our own team of researchers and scientists running experiments, collecting data, and analyzing how all kinds of combinations of factors – CO2 included – impact plant growth.

Source: Rift Labs

Energy is a big topic in indoor farming right now. What range are you currently seeing European indoor farms pay for electricity? How much is from a renewable source?

Energy is indeed a big topic. In many instances relying on a floating priced energy grid has been the Achilles heel that forced indoor farms to cease operations. The exact cost per MWh will vary by country, but overall, it has stabilized since the spike caused by geopolitical instability in Eastern Europe. A successful indoor farm needs consistent power at a fixed price and this can only be achieved through direct wire to a combination of renewables and storage. Therefore, renewables are not only important as a source of clean power but also as a commercial imperative for cost management.

Source: Rift Labs

How can people connect with you or learn more about Rift Labs?

Rift Labs is a Norwegian LED technology company that has been developing award-winning LED products and solutions for the global market since 2010. Rift Labs combines unique and patented software with hardware to create exceptional LED technology solutions in two industries: cinema lighting through the brand Kelvin (www.kelvinlight.com), and indoor farming through the brand Photosynthetic (www.photosynthetic.com). The headquarters of Rift Labs is located in Oslo, Norway, with commercial offices in Berlin. To learn more about Rift Labs, visit: www.riftlabs.com.

Source: Rift Labs

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