You are now visiting our Global professional lighting website, visit your local website by going to the USA website

Cultivating growth
with the energy of light

From Nepal to Japan: Plant Specialist Gauri Maharjan at Philips Lighting

 

by Gauri Maharjan, Plant Specialist, Japan 

 

Following some work experience in my native Nepal, my love of technology took me to Japan for a Masters in Agricultural & Environmental Engineering at Hirosaki University, followed by my PhD at Iwate University, where I studied Biotic Environment Science. During five further years in high-tech plant factory development, I became very interested in the powerful effect that light has in the plant cultivation process. This is what led me to the Philips Horticultural team in Japan, where I’m now working on lighting plans for horticultural projects, and providing advice to growers.

 

Crop-boosting light recipes

 

My aim is to create profitable cultivation models for growers. I support the Japanese team at Philips Lighting in developing light recipes – that’s different programs of LED light colors and intensities that will improve growth and enhance the qualities of different plants and flowers. I also help the team set up projects with different growers

 

Proof of concept

I’m fascinated by the results we can achieve with LED light recipes. We’re currently working on a trial for improving the red coloration of lettuce for one grower. With another customer, a food processing company, we’re exploring possible light recipes to improve the growth of edible chrysanthemums and coriander. (All chrysanthemum plants are edible, but it takes some experimentation to get the sweet or peppery flavors the customers want.)

 

Expanding knowledge

I’m always interested in expanding my own knowledge, and building co-development projects with universities and other research institutes and key influencers. I draw on my research experience to enable me to do this, and to represent Philips Lighting Horticulture at conferences and fairs. 
 

I feel privileged to be working in Japan, where “city farming” or “vertical farming” is truly pioneering. There are over 200 companies here involved in the city farming business, developing and promoting production using artificial light. Equipment and energy costs are high, with electricity for LED accounting for nearly 30% of the running costs – so the lighting solution is extremely important. Also, as population grows and environmental challenges continue, we’re quite likely to face a food crisis in the future. Efficient lighting solutions are a critical factor in crop cultivation, so it’s important that at Philips Lighting, we’re always working to optimize the lighting needed to grow crops.

I got my degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Later, I received my MBA at the Keller School of Management, after I had acquired several years of work experience as a design engineer in the ballasts division of Philips Lighting. I was working part-time with the application solutions team when a project became available in the horticultural venture – that was when I first learned of the Horticulture group. I’ve been working full-time there ever since.

 

I got my degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Later, I received my MBA at the Keller School of Management, after I had acquired several years of work experience as a design engineer in the ballasts division of Philips Lighting. I was working part-time with the application solutions team when a project became available in the horticultural venture – that was when I first learned of the Horticulture group. I’ve been working full-time there ever since.

 
Read moreShow less

Search for jobs

   

I aim to create efficient and profitable cultivation models for Japanese growers. I want my kids to be proud of my contribution towards developing this new kind of agriculture.”

 

Gauri Maharjan

Plant Specialist, Japan