Sharp Corp built a laboratory for growing strawberries in the site of SMEF (Sharp Middle East Free Zone Establishment), Sharp's sales subsidiary in the Middle East, in July 2013 and started experiments in earnest in the laboratory in September 2013.
Sharp plans to conduct tests during the period from July 2013 to March 2015 in the aim of realizing an automated strawberry plant.
Strawberries grown in Japan are popular as high-grade fruits in other countries including Middle Eastern countries. But they are easily bruised and rapidly spoiled, and it is difficult to send them to overseas markets, Sharp said. If strawberries can be grown in a vegetable plant that is not influenced by location, season or weather, local production of fresh strawberries for local consumption can be realized.
The laboratory is a hermetically-closed plant-growing facility that uses only artificial light. In the laboratory, Sharp's electronic technologies are used to carefully control the growing environment of strawberries.
They include (1) LEDs for controlled lighting, (2) the Plasmacluster technology for controlling air quality and (3) other technologies for monitoring room temperature and humidity. With those technologies, Sharp plans to digitize know-how required for growing strawberries and realize stable production and high product quality.