Cree, Eaton, Philips OLEDWorks and PPG Industries are to carry out five US Department of Energy-financed manufacturing research and development projects aimed at supporting energy efficient lighting products.
The projects, announced by US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, will focus on reducing lighting manufacturing costs while continuing to improve the quality and performance of light-emitting diodes and organic light-emitting diodes.
The Energy Department’s $10 million investment is matched dollar for dollar by private sector funding.
According to a new report by the Energy Department, titled Adoption of Light-Emitting Diodes in Common Lighting Applications, LED lamps and fixtures installed in the United States have increased 10-fold over the last 2 years—from 4.5 million units in 2010 to 49 million units in 2012.
These installations, which include common indoor and outdoor applications such as recessed lighting and streetlights, are expected to save about $675 million in annual energy costs. During the same period, the cost of an LED replacement bulb has fallen by about 54 percent. Switching entirely to LED lights over the next two decades could save the United States $250 billion in energy costs and reduce electricity consumption for lighting by nearly 50 percent. By 2030, LED lighting is projected to represent about 75 percent of all lighting sales, saving enough energy to power approximately 26 million US households.
Still, while life-cycle costs are attractive, the initial price of LED and OLED lighting is currently higher than the price of traditional lighting. The projects announced today aim to help achieve significant cost reductions in manufacturing equipment and processes, while improving lighting quality and performance.
Eaton Corporation has been granted $2.5 million of Energy Department money to develop a manufacturing process that streamlines the LED fixture design and removes unnecessary materials and parts. With this approach, the LED chip can sit directly on the heatsink, improving heat transfer within the design and increasing LED efficiency.
Cree will use a $2.3 million DOE investment to develop a modular design for LED lights that can link together multiple units to fit larger areas. The design aims to use less raw material, reducing manufacturing costs while ensuring high lighting quality and efficiency.
Further details of these projects and the others can be read here.
In May, the DOE awarded 88 grants to small businesses in 28 states to develop clean energy technologies with a strong potential for commercialization and job creation. These awards, totaling over $16 million in investments, aim to help small businesses with promising ideas that could improve manufacturing processes, boost the efficiency of buildings and generate electricity from renewable sources. Companies competing for these grants were encouraged to propose outside-the-box innovations to meet ambitious cost and performance targets.