Thursday, June 30, 2011

SmartWatt Energy Supports Americold's Fort Worth, TX Cold Storage Facility for Reducing Lighting Cost

Currently, SmartWatt Energy has completed the replacement of 319 fixtures with LED lighting retrofits at Americold's temperature-controlled storage facility in Fort Worth, TX resulting in an 86% reduction in total lighting cost.

It’s estimated that this LED lighting retrofit project will reduce Americold's energy consumption at just its Fort Worth facility by 516,024 kWh and will help it shed 85.92 kW, while resulting in additional cooling savings of more than $17,000.

The project gave rise to a utility incentive greater than $46,000 from the local energy provider. Americold partnered with SmartWatt Energy's Sacramento, CA office for the Fort Worth project. Earlier this year, SmartWatt Energy completed LED lighting retrofit projects at Americold's Rochelle, IL, Victorville, CA, Allentown, PA, City of Industries, CA and Russellville, AR facilities. Latterly, SmartWatt Energy teams will be upgrading two additional Americold facilities by the end of July.

Source: LED Inside

Iowa footbridge features inspired LED design

Reminiscent of the support cribs used to shore-up the walls of coal mines, the High Trestle Trail Bridge in Central Iowa is visually captivating owing to its linear LED illumination with iLight Plexineon Blue Light fixtures.
The High Trestle Trail bridge at night.The High Trestle Trail bridge at night.
A stunning LED installation is part of a project to link the 25-mile High Trestle Trail with other trail systems running throughout the state of Iowa. The half-mile-long bridge over the Des Moines river artfully pays homage to Iowa's rich railroad and coal mining history.

The design firm, RDG Planning & Design, selected iLight’s LED fixtures based on their durability and reliability.

“We’ve used iLight products on several other projects,” he says, “so we have confidence in their reliability,” said David Raver, lighting studio director at RDG Planning & Design.

iLight Technologies has also provided the lighting for impressive architectural designs at Microsoft's office in Cambrige, MA and a rapid transit station in Eagan, MN.

One of the largest footbridges in the world is adorned with 300m of LEDs.
In this project, RDG Planning & Design was engaged to develop the artistic elements, conceptual design and lighting design related to the 41 steel frames that stand 13 stories high over the bridge. Within the 18 frames located directly over the water, specially constructed channels house Plexineon Blue Series fixtures from iLight Technologies Inc (Chicago, IL).

Placed at strategic angles, the illuminated frames create the illusion of descending into a coal mine - or perhaps traveling through a time tunnel - while the lights emit a blue aura that suggests the water below.

LEDs were chosen because of their ability to create a dramatic effect, while providing high reliability and durability.

The half-mile bridge installation from a distance.

From the start, iLight worked with the firm to ensure smooth installation, including supplying detailed, custom drawings. Raver appreciated that the product - a total of 976 linear ft (~300m) -arrived in palletized, clearly labeled boxes.

“It was a smooth process,” he says. “We were able to put all of the cribs up in a week’s time.”

The final result is a new state icon that’s quickly become a destination for families, hikers and cyclists alike. The “wow” factor can be appreciated both while crossing the bridge on foot or by bicycle, and when viewing the bridge from a distance, especially after darkness falls.

About the Author
Laura Peters is a Senior Technical Editor with LEDs Magazine.

Source:LED Magazine

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

IMRE and the University of Michigan Announces Breakthrough on OLED External Quantum Efficiency

Reportedly, Researchers from IMRE, a research institute of Singapore's Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), and the University of Michigan, US have turned out that the efficiency of fluorescent blue OLED devices can reach 9.4%, trumping the current theoretical limit for OLED external quantum efficiency (EQE) by nearly two-fold.

This breakthrough has overcome the weakness of the blue emitters on short lifetime and poor colour quality, and it is likely to make OLED displays the
next wave in consumer displays.

By changing the thickness of the light emitting layer and optimising the concentration of light emitting material in the same layer, the researchers double the OLED efficiency from the current maximum 5% EQE.

This breakthrough enable manufacturers of full colour OLED displays to make devices that have significantly longer lifetime, consume less power and more importantly, can emit pure, and brighter blue light that will give more life-like colours to OLED displays compared to LCDs and LEDs.

In addition, the material is also solution-processable making it easy to manufacture and cost-effective. This could greatly enhance the attractiveness of OLED displays in the consumer market.

Source: LED Inside

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

LEDs development in India

The Indian government is to provide incentives for LED lighting.

The Indian government is set to provide incentives to the country’s emerging energy-efficiency industry, including LED lighting, under the National Mission for Enhanced Energy Efficiency (NMEEE), according to an article in the Hindustan Times.

Two funds have been set up under the mission to provide financial incentives necessary to kick start a new industry. "Both these instruments [will provide] public money towards energy efficiency," said Ajay Mathur, Director General of the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE). "Many banks are not ready to pay loans for companies in the energy-efficiency sector because the risk has not been evaluated."

In addition to it, the Bureau has also asked the government to reduce excise duty on energy-efficient appliances. "We are looking at making LED cost-effective in the next two years through market intervention and a labeling regime," Mathur said.

The article says that a 40W LED light that used to cost Rs 1,200 (around $27) a year ago now sells at around Rs 500 (approx $11). The BEE believes that prices will go down further down in the next two years as demand rises. Already, municipal bodies in Kolkata, Bhopal and Gwalior are using LED streetlights, and others are expected to follow suit.

Also, the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) has come out with specifications for LED lights, and the government has created a testing facility at the Central Power Research Institute (CPRI) to examine LED lights.

Source: LEDs Magazine

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Institute of Energy Economics Estimates LEDs may Help Japan Reduce 9% Power Consumption

According to the Institute of Energy Economics (IEE) of Japan, a foundation supervised by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, if LED lights replace all the fluorescent and incandescent lights used in the country, 92.2 billion kilowatts of electricity -- worth the output of 13 nuclear reactors -- would be saved, that is, the annual domestic power consumption would be slashed by 9 percent.

A group of researchers led by Yoshiaki Shibata at the institute conducted the calculation. According to their survey, among an estimated 1.6 billion lights being used in Japan, 870 million of them at households, 580 million at offices and commercial buildings and 160 million in the manufacturing sector.

Translated into annual power consumption, they equal to 38.2 billion kilowatts per hour of electricity is used at households, 89.1 billion kilowatts per hour at offices and 23.3 billion kilowatts per hour in the manufacturing industry, totaling 150.6 billion kilowatts per hour.

It will make sense when all lights replaced LED lights, as the annual power consumption is estimated to decline to 14.1 billion kilowatts per hour at households, 34.6 billion kilowatts per hour at offices and 9.7 billion kilowatts per hour in the manufacturing sector, totaling 58.4 billion kilowatts.

Source: LED inside

Sunday, June 26, 2011

New Energy-Efficient Lighting Saves € 10,000 per Year at Nature Museum

Thanks to a new, energy-efficient LED lighting solution by Zumtobel, the Inatura Nature Museum in Dornbirn/Austria has started into a new lighting era. The museum’s previous lighting system using conventional spotlights has been replaced by advanced, energy-saving LED spotlights. With its compact, clear design, the Supersystem lighting system blends perfectly into the museum architecture. Inatura’s new lighting solution features 3-phase LED units, each including 3 LED spots with 2.6 W each, which have been installed in the entrance area as well as in large parts of the exhibition area. The client opted for Supersystem mainly because the old spotlights could simply be disassembled, allowing Supersystem units to be installed in the track system in place.

For Inatura, the new multifunctional LED lighting system by Zumtobel opens up
exciting new perspectives: the lighting quality for our exhibits is significantly increased, and many exhibits are literally shown in a new light. Moreover, this highly energy-efficient system allows us to save energy costs of approx. EUR 10,000 a year", explains Peter Schmid, Managing Director of Inatura.

The LED-based Supersystem lighting system by Zumtobel cannot fail to impress on account of its resource-efficient use of materials in combination with lighting comfort of outstanding quality. With a service life of approx. 50,000 hours, its extremely compact LED spots allow for energy-efficient illumination and are particularly suitable for accent lighting of exhibits. A variety of spotlight models, a wallwasher and the option of integrating indirect lighting make Supersystem the number one for sophisticated lighting tasks. High-quality reflector technology ensures uniform illumination without any flaring effects. In museums, art galleries and exhibition areas in particular, Supersystem allows to create lighting solutions which provide maximum enjoyment of art by subtly illuminating art objects and sculptures.

The new lighting solution is a donation in kind by the Zumtobel Group for use in the new "Science Center", which is intended to give children, young people and adults a better understanding of technology and the sciences through fun, games and interaction. Energy is the main theme of the so-called "Science Zones" and also covers the field of "Light and optics".

"The Science Center addresses mainly children and young people, making an important contribution to their technological education and empowerment. For us as a leader in innovation, it was only logical to support this project. Having provided a donation in kind, we are now also in a position to demonstrate - here at our group’s head office - Zumtobel’s lighting competence to our customers and employees via an excellent application", explains Harald Sommerer, Chief Executive Officer of the Zumtobel Group.

Source: LED Professional

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Bridgelux’s Third Generation LED Array Portfolio Delivers Dramatic Energy Efficiency and Cost Advantages

Bridgelux inc.,a leading developer and manufacturer of LED lighting technologies and solutions, recently launched the third generation of its advanced LED Arrays, including its industry-leading LS, ES, and award-winning RS product families. This new product generation features the latest technical advancements in epitaxial GaN layer growth, LED chip design and packaging technologies, delivering an increase in efficacy of up to 20% and a reduction of up to 30% in the cost per lumen compared to previous product generations. These new Arrays offer greater system design flexibility to achieve Energy Star, Title 24, Part L and other global energy efficiency standards. Additionally these products are configured to align with industry standard drive currents to simplify the electronic driver selection process for new lamp and luminaire product development, enabling accelerated time to market.

The Bridgelux product portfolio includes light output performance ranging from 240 to 10,000 lumens continuing the expansion of the industry’s broadest range of high performance lighting class LED light sources. The third generation of Bridgelux’s LS and ES star Arrays are available immediately. These energy efficient, high flux density sources enable new MR-16, GU-10 and A-19 lamp applications. The small source size of the 800 to 1000 lumen ES Star Arrays enable precision beam control for directional luminaires and PAR lamps. The new generation of Bridgelux’s ES rectangle and RS Arrays will begin shipping in Q3, 2011.

As with the current product lines, these third generation arrays are available in a broad range of color temperatures ranging from 2700K to 5600K with 3 SDCM color control options to enable clean and consistent lighting installations. Additionally multiple color rendering index (CRI) options are now available, providing increased design flexibility for lamp and luminaire manufacturers. To enable customers to easily take advantage of these performance enhancements, these new LED arrays use the same form factor as previous generations, allowing for drop in replacements and a simple upgrade path while minimizing design efforts.

“Our commitment to technological innovation has enabled Bridgelux to continue to deliver increasing efficacy while driving down the cost of LED lighting, said Jason Posselt, vice president of Global Marketing. “Since our first LED Array introduction in 2009, the company has increased efficacy by over 80% and reduced the cost of light by over 50%. Bridgelux is the light source provider of choice for our customers because we continue to address their needs for reduced design complexity, lower cost, and high quality lighting. We remain confident that this is the right approach to drive rapid market adoption of solid state lighting (SSL).”

Source: LED inside

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

LED lighting allows companies to go green and save money

Green initiatives are certainly worthwhile given the positive impact on the environment, and LED lighting is one green technology that can also save companies and individuals money, explains RON LUSK, CEO of Lumetech Group.

Environmental issues are not typically associated with maximizing the profits of big business. With the advent of LED-based solid-state lighting (SSL), however, companies and individuals can slash greenhouse-gas emissions while positively impacting the financial bottom line. Indeed, while LED lighting costs more than other technologies, savings in energy and maintenance costs more than cover the upfront premium. And with LED lighting dropping in price, SSL becomes more of a bargain every day.

Some green technologies have created more problems than they have solved. Ironically, the push for replacing incandescent light bulbs with lower-wattage compact-fluorescent lamps (CFLs) – thereby reducing consumption of electricity and the fossil fuels needed to produce it – brought its own set of environmental problems.

The supposedly green, environmentally-friendly CFLs contain mercury, albeit a small amount. However, if they are not handled or disposed of properly, CFLs can leach deadly compounds into the air and water supply, as well as contaminating landfills. A fact sheet about CFLs from the US Environmental Protection Agency notes that, “Exposure to mercury, a toxic metal, can affect our brain, spinal cord, kidneys and liver, causing symptoms such as trembling hands, memory loss, and difficulty moving.” It goes on to add that, “Mercury is released into our environment when products with mercury are broken, disposed of improperly, or incinerated. If you break a CFL, clean it up safely.”

Many states, cities and counties have outlawed the disposal of CFLs in the trash. Does anyone actually believe that CFLs survive intact in a landfill after a bulldozer has compacted the load into place? This assumes, of course, that a CFL actually arrives at a landfill in one piece.

LED lighting, conversely, is poised to deliver on energy savings with a positive environmental impact. With LEDs, businesses can reduce costs and not have to be concerned about proper disposal because the lights can be recycled.

Given the incredibly useful life of LEDs, recycling won’t happen very often. With a minimum life of 50,000 hours, LEDs last five times longer than their nearest competitors. When compared with incandescent lamps (average life of 2,000 hours) the disparity is even more remarkable. Given their solid-state circuitry, LEDs are very durable. It takes a lot more than accidentally dropping or hitting an LED light to render it inoperable.

One of the major advantages of LEDs is that they can be placed in hard-to-reach locations that are sometimes accessible only with special lifts or scaffolding. Once in place, it will be years before these lights will need to be changed. Often, businesses wait until the number of burned-out light bulbs reaches critical mass before making replacements. And then, usually, all of the bulbs, including those that are still working, are replaced at the same time. The longevity aspect of LEDs can save businesses thousands of dollars in maintenance costs, not to mention operating costs from reduced electricity usage.

The decrease in electricity usage can actually have a double benefit in some situations. LED lights are often eligible for rebates and other cash incentives provided by governmental agencies and public utilities, thereby greatly reducing their cost of ownership. Another economic advantage of LED lighting for businesses is that due to their long lives, the initial cost can be capitalized on a company’s balance sheet and depreciated over a period of five to ten years. This is an important feature for publicly-traded companies because it can significantly decrease operating costs which, of course, increases reported net income.

The reduction in energy use has another benefit. As less electricity must be produced, less coal must be burned in coal-fired power plants to supply that electricity. A significant amount of electricity produced in the United States comes from burning coal. This means that as less electricity is used, less coal is burned, and therefore less carbon dioxide (a greenhouse gas), sulfur dioxide, nitrous oxides, and mercury are emitted to the environment.

As a result, installation of LEDs leads to less pollution and a lower carbon footprint. LEDs are good for the environment and good for business.

Source: LED Magazine

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

University of Miami Professor Assists to Design a Smaller, Flexible LED

It’s reported that Jizhou Song, professor from the College of Engineering in University of Miami, has helped to utilize an array of LEDs 100 times smaller than conventional LEDs to develop a smaller, flexible LED light.

The new LED light has flexibility, maintains lower temperature and has an increased life-span over existing LEDs.

Under the research, the scientists focused on improving certain features of LED lights, like size, flexibility and temperature. And Song mainly participated in analyzing the thermal management and establishing an analytical model that reduces the temperature of the device.

According to Song, "The new model uses a silicon substrate, novel etching strategies, a unique layout and innovative thermal management method.The combination of these manufacturing techniques allows the new design to be much smaller and keep lower temperatures than current LEDs using the same electrical power."

The findings are published online by the "Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences."

In the long run, the researchers may stretch the device to be used on any surface, such as deformable display monitors and biomedical devices on the curvilinear surfaces of the human body.

Source: Led inside

Monday, June 20, 2011

Polycarbonate Lenses for Efficient LED LightingPolycarbonate Lenses for Efficient LED Lighting

Vienna, June 2011 – The potential cost and energy savings alone make LED’s (light-emitting diodes) a smarter choice than other lighting technologies for interior and exterior lighting applications. Bayer MaterialScience recognized this trend early on and has supported it by developing special grades of its transparent polycarbonate Makrolon®. Lenses made from this material are characterized by particularly high light transmission and ensure that the light is concentrated and directed efficiently.

Photo a) At Bayer’s branch office in Vienna, Austria, an innovative facade lighting was achieved by replacing the metal halide lamps used previously with LED spotlights developed by LEDworx GmbH (photo b). The purpose of switching to LEDs was to improve the lighting situation in front of the building and create safer walkways with fewer accidents for its employees and other pedestrians. As photo a) shows, the new LED luminaires display significant advantages in terms of brightness on the walkway combined with uniform illumination of the entire area. And most importantly, these advantages are achieved with a 25 percent lower connected load. Bayer MaterialScience supports this technology by developing special grades of its transparent polycarbonate Makrolon®. Lenses made from this material ensure that the light is concentrated and directed efficiently.

At Bayer’s branch office in Vienna, Austria, an innovative facade lighting was achieved by replacing the metal halide lamps used previously with LED spotlights developed by LEDworx GmbH (photo b). The purpose of switching to LEDs was to improve the lighting situation in front of the building and create safer walkways with fewer accidents for its employees and other pedestrians. As photo a) shows, the new LED luminaires display significant advantages in terms of brightness on the walkway combined with uniform illumination of the entire area. And most importantly, these advantages are achieved with a 25 percent lower connected load. Bayer MaterialScience supports this technology by developing special grades of its transparent polycarbonate Makrolon®. Lenses made from this material ensure that the light is concentrated and directed efficiently.

Furthermore, LED technology offers the possibility of adjusting the color of the light as needed. LED lighting can thus significantly improve contrast and color rendering, which in turn contributes to better vision in a dark environment.

The innovative facade lighting at Bayer’s branch office in Vienna, Austria, exploits these very characteristics. The metal halide lamps used previously were replaced with LED spotlights developed by Vienna-based LEDworx GmbH. The purpose of switching to LEDs is to improve the lighting situation in front of the building and create safer walkways with fewer accidents for the employees and other pedestrians. The feedback received since the installation of the lights has all been positive.

“The new LED luminaires display significant advantages in terms of brightness on the walkway combined with uniform illumination of the entire area, says Thomas Zeiler, Sales Director at LEDworx. “And most importantly, these advantages are achieved with a 25 percent lower connected load. In other words, saving energy and enhancing quality are not contradictory.”

In collaboration with Bayer, Carlco Optics is currently testing the new Makrolon® LED2643, and also used it to manufacture the lenses for this project. The material was developed specifically for lighting fixtures for solid-state lighting (SSL). It is characterized by particularly high transmission and very good resistance to the light emitted by LEDs. Bayer MaterialScience developed this product and others in the Makrolon® LED family specifically for lens applications in LED-based luminaires.

About Bayer MaterialScience:
With 2010 sales of EUR 10.2 billion, Bayer MaterialScience is among the world’s largest polymer companies. Business activities are focused on the manufacture of high-tech polymer materials and the development of innovative solutions for products used in many areas of daily life. The main segments served are the automotive, electrical and electronics, construction and the sports and leisure industries. At the end of 2010, Bayer MaterialScience had 30 production sites and employed approximately 14,700 people around the globe. Bayer MaterialScience is a Bayer Group company.


Sunday, June 19, 2011

Grocers find LED lights 'really make food pop'

The next time you shop for groceries, take a closer look at your fruits and vegetables. Hold them up and you may be surprised at their dazzling appearance. Grocers are now discovering a secret that jewelers and actors have known for years: lighting matters.

New kinds of LED lighting technology are invading retail stores with a dual purpose: saving energy and luring shoppers. And as old-style incandescent bulbs are being phased out by the U.S. government, the race for a replacement is on between LEDs and compact fluorescents.

"We're turning oranges into diamonds," said Paul Kelly, senior vice president of business development for Nualight, an Irish firm that is pushing its way into the U.S. retail marketplace. "We want to create a fabulous space, to get (customers) to feel like they are eating the food, tasting the food — all with the lighting."

Nualight has its lights in the California-based Fresh and Easy chain, as well as another in New England. Other companies are installing LED lights in stores throughout Texas and the Southeast. Kelly said he can nearly replicate the true color of the sun's illumination using digital LED lighting. He said his firm is able to program the LED bulbs to accent individual colors on food — reds for meat, yellows and greens for veggies or fruits. That's important because LEDs put out less lighting power than fluorescents.

The Star Market in Chestnut Hill, Mass., went all-LED in October 2009 and has seen a big reduction in both energy and maintenance costs since then, said store director Liam Flanagan. There's also the appearance.

"It really makes the food pop compared to a fluorescent light," Flanagan said. "A few customers commented saying the fruit looks more colorful than other stores."

Several states have adopted a rule promulgated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that limits certain kinds of lighting as deceptive, according to an FDA spokeswoman in Washington, D.C. The rule states that "food or color additives, colored overwraps or lights may not be used to misrepresent the true appearance, color or quality of a food."

Judging whether lighting is misrepresenting or simply enhancing a food is subjective, although some LED makers said they remain concerned about the FDA rule.

"I don't think it's going to stop LED lighting," said Terry Roberts, president of Merchandising by Design, a Dallas-based retail consulting firm. "The big issue is just how its color corrected and that it doesn't cross the line. The good news with LED is you have ability to program it and correct it."

While LEDs last longer, use less energy, have no toxic mercury and produce less heat than other kinds of bulbs, they are more expensive. As with many technologies, advocates say their price will lower over time as they become more widespread. Roberts said it won't be long before LEDs make it to the home market.

"They will be more palatable to the consumer because the lighting will be more correct," Roberts said. "It's really a big advance."

LED Bulbs Get Brighter As Ban Looms

Makers of lighting products are showcasing LED bulbs that are bright enough to replace energy-guzzling 100-watt light bulbs set to disappear from stores in January.

Their demonstrations at the LightFair trade show in Philadelphia this week mean that brighter LED bulbs will likely go on sale next year, but after a government ban takes effect.

The new bulbs will also be expensive -- about $50 each -- so the development may not prevent consumers from hoarding traditional bulbs.

The technology in traditional "incandescent" bulbs is more than a century old. Such bulbs waste most of the electricity that feeds them, turning it into heat. The 100-watt bulb, in particular, produces so much heat that it's used in Hasbro's Easy-Bake Oven.

To encourage energy efficiency, Congress passed a law in 2007 mandating that bulbs producing 100 watts worth of light meet certain efficiency goals, starting in 2012. Conventional light bulbs don't meet those goals, so the law will prohibit making or importing them. The same rule will start apply to remaining bulbs 40 watts and above in 2014. Since January, California has already banned stores from restocking 100-watt incandescent bulbs.

Creating good alternatives to the light bulb has been more difficult than expected, especially for the very bright 100-watt bulbs. Part of the problem is that these new bulbs have to fit into lamps and ceiling fixtures designed for older technology.

Compact fluorescents are the most obvious replacement, but they have drawbacks. They contain a small amount of toxic mercury vapor, which is released if they break or are improperly thrown away. They last longer than traditional bulbs but not as long as LEDs. Brighter models are bulky and may not fit in existing fixtures.

Another new lighting technology, organic light-emitting diodes, or OLEDs, has had problems reaching mass production. OLEDs are glowing sheets or tiles, rather than pinprick light sources, as LEDs are. They're used as vibrant color screens for smartphones, particularly from Samsung Electronics Co.

But making OLEDs that are big, bright, cheap and long-lasting enough for use as light sources has proved difficult, in part because they use chemicals that are sensitive to oxygen and spoil unless sealed very carefully.

LEDs are efficient, durable and produced in great quantities, but they're still expensive. An LED bulb can contain a dozen light-emitting diodes, or tiny semiconductor chips, which cost about $1 each.

The big problem with LEDs is that although they don't produce as much heat as incandescent bulbs, the heat they do create shortens the lifespan and reduces the efficiency of the chips. Cramming a dozen chips together in a tight bulb-shaped package that fits in today's lamps and sockets makes the heat problem worse. The brighter the bulb, the bigger the problem is.

The most powerful pear-shaped LED bulbs in stores today -- the kind that fits existing lamps -- produce light equivalent to a 60-watt bulb, though there are more powerful ones for directional or flood lighting.

Before the 100-watters, there will be 75-watters on the shelves this year.

However, 60-watt bulbs are the big prize, since they're the most common. There are 425 million incandescent light bulbs in the 60-watt range in use in the U.S. today, said Zia Eftekhar, the head of Philips' North American lighting division. The energy savings that could be realized by replacing them with 10-watt LED bulbs is staggering.

To stimulate LED development, the federal government has instituted a $10 million "L Prize" for an energy-efficient replacement for the 60-watt bulb.

However, LED prices are coming down quickly. The DoE expects a 60-watt equivalent LED bulb to cost $10 by 2015, putting them within striking range of the price of a compact fluorescent bulb.

Bob Karlicek, the director of the Smart Lighting Research Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., thinks that price is achievable.

But, he said, "it's not necessarily clear to people in the lighting industry that LED chips were ever meant to go into a bulb."

What's really needed, he said, is a new approach to lighting -- new fixtures and lamps that spread out the LEDs, avoiding the heat problem.


Thursday, June 16, 2011

LED Lighting Prices to ‘Plummet’ By 2015LED Lighting Prices to ‘Plummet’ By 2015

VantagePoint Capital Partners, the Silicon Valley investor that helped bring Tesla Motors Inc.
(TSLA) public, expects prices for LEDs to "plummet" within three years as competition
intensifies to satisfy surging demand for energy-efficient lights. Prices for LEDs,
or light-emitting diodes, may fall 90 percent by 2015, said Alan Salzman,
chief executive officer of the San Bruno, California-based venture capital company,
said in an interview.


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

LED Strip Lights: the Superman of LED Lighting

LED strip lights are like the superman of lighting – they can do almost anything. Any time someone who is new to strip lighting sees them in action or experiences an LED strip lighting demo, they are immediately impressed with the quality of light, ease of use, and versatility that these flexible, cuttable, dimmable, energy-efficient lights offer. From kitchens to offices to wine cellars to restaurant signs and behind bars, LED strip lights stand out for their excellence as a lighting tool in virtually any scenario.

Though LED string lights are available with a number of special features, including being dimmable, extra bright models, waterproof models, and projecting light at special angles, two particular LED light strip options make them particularly well suited for art lighting. Lighting and highlighting art, whether it is a painting, sculpture, or other physical piece, tends to be a very particular and detailed task with a number of restrictions on the specifications of acceptable lighting.

Because LED strip lights produce almost no heat and zero ultraviolet radiation, they pose no risk of damage to paintings or other delicate pieces of art that need to be protected to preserve them. And because of the availability of color-changing, dimmable LED strip lighting, LED art lighting can be specifically tailored to exactly compliment the art and to work with the rest of the lighting in the space.

Lastly, because each LED light strip is flexible, cuttable, ultra-low profile, and has an adhesive back, it can be installed and set up discretely in any number of customized ways to be hidden from sight and project the right intensity of light in the right direction. For example, it is easy to hide strip lighting behind ledges and rails, along the edges of platforms to uplight an object, or along a wall behind viewers to soften shadows.

Because it can be installed virtually anywhere and then fine-tuned for color and brightness, there is virtually no limit to the ways that strip lighting can be used to highlight an object and draw people’s attention, just in the context of art lighting. Of course, there are countless other applications of LED strip lights, including as part of an art piece itself. Your creativity is the only thing limiting how you take advantage of this environmentally friendly technology.

SOURCE: elementalled

Solar LED Flashlight (HIS technology)

Hightech Information System, also known as HIS, is a well-known enthusiast graphic cards manufacturer. Occasionally a company deeply rooted in computer hardware products will step away from their tried-and-true product lines and reinvent themselves. In this particular case, HIS has branded their own rechargeable solar LED flashlight. In principal, the solar LED flashlight is everything a consumer could ask for: practical purpose, renewable energy source, and durable construction.

SOURCE: leds-news & benchmarkreviews

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

National Semi and Micrel introduce linear LED drivers

National Semiconductor’s LM3466 driver targets LED-based street lights while Micrel targets architectural and landscape lighting applications with the MIC4801/4802.

National Semiconductor has announced its linear LM3466 LED driver that’s designed to power a string of LEDs in street and area lighting applications, requiring only a resistor and capacitor in terms of external components. The new Micrel MIC4801/4802 drivers are designed to power a single LED at 600 mA and 800 mA respectively for solid-state lighting (SSL) in architectural or landscape applications.

Parallel LM3466 ICs drive LED strings

The LM 3466 driver is designed for use in a typical street-light design where a switching constant-current AC/DC power supply must drive multiple strings of LEDs. Multiple LM3466 drivers would operate in parallel in such a scenario taking the constant-current input with each driving one LED string.

Generally, switch-mode power supplies offer superior efficiency to linear power supplies and an LED driver is basically a power supply. But National claims several advantages for the linear option in a multi-string street light with a separate AC/DC power supply. The linear driver creates no switching noise. Manson Chan, Principal Product Marketing Engineer at National Semiconductor, said, “There is no interference emitted from a linear regulator which simplifies the system design and saves the cost of an EMI filter.”

Chan also asserts that the efficiency of a linear regulator matches or exceeds that of a switching regulator in the case of a string driver powered by a separate AC/DC supply. He said, "The LM3466 can go up to 99% in efficiency.” Moreover, Chan says the linear driver eliminates the need for magnetic components saving both money and space.

The LM3466 integrates a MOSFET that can drive LED strings with stack voltages as high as 70V. External components can allow the driver to handle even greater voltage levels.

The driver can output current up to 1.5A, and only an external capacitor and resistor are required to configure the device. In a multiple-string application, a control bus allows the parallel drivers to equally or ratio-metrically allocate the drive current. If a string fails with an open circuit, the other drivers in the system can automatically equalize the current throughout the operating strings to maintain constant output power.

LED driver for architectural lighting

The cause for a linear regulator in applications such as architectural and landscape lights as envisioned by Micrel is simplicity. The MIC4801/4802 LED drivers are designed to operate from a low-voltage input such as 5V and to generate a constant-current output for a single LED.

Linear Micrel IC drives single LED
Linear Micrel IC drives single LED

The linear design eliminates switching losses associated with typical boost converters. The Micrel drivers also eliminate the need for an inductor and offer the benefit of no EMI noise.

The drivers offer 1% accuracy in terms of current regulation to ensure uniform illumination. An external resistor is used to set the current level.

Moreover, the drivers include what the company calls an Ultra Fast PWM Control interface. A microcontroller or other PWM controller can control the brightness setting of the driver down to a duty-cycle setting of 1%.

Micrel also recently introduced a six-channel linear LED driver designed for lighting billboards, marquees and other large-scale applications. Each channel drives a single LED at either 50 mA (MIC4811) or 100 mA (MIC4812).

Other recent driver news

In other recent driver news, Analogic Tech introduced the AAT1451 LED driver that targets display backlighting applications. The IC can drive four LED strings at up to 93% efficiency. “Power management considerations for system designers vary depending on the size of the display and the use-case scenarios they are targeting," said Ray Chan, Technical Marketing Manager of AnalogicTech. "With the AAT1451 we bring to market the most comprehensive feature set available in an LED driver that makes it possible for batteries to last longer, a critical differentiator in the rapidly growing tablet market.”

For engineers working on retrofit lamps, Marvell has teamed with Philips Lumileds to create a manufacturing-ready reference design based on the former’s 88EM8081 driver IC. According to the companies, the reference design for a 6.5W LED replacement for a 40W incandescent can cut four to six months from the typical product design cycle. The design utilizes Philips Luxeon A LEDs. Marvell has also created reference designs for 40W-equivalent A-lamps and 100W-equivalent PAR38s in partnership with Cree.

Source: LEDs Magazine

Monday, June 13, 2011

How will LEDs affect our museums’ artwork?

While museums and galleries could use lighting technology to significantly reduce energy and labor costs—it costs more than you’d think to change a light bulb–they’re moving into the world of LEDs with caution.

Naomi Miller, senior lighting engineer at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) in Portland, Ore., one of the Department of Energy’s 10 national laboratories will develop and give more information about LED lighting in museums. Miller’s group is trying to develop standards for LEDs. They put out fact sheets, anonymously test products on the market to make sure they do what manufacturers claim, and track how well LEDs are doing compared to other lighting technologies.

Lighting is a tremendous expense for museums, but most of the institutions are apprehensive about making too many changes before we know about the long term benefits and the effects on priceless works of art. Excerpts of our conversation are below.

She just returns from LightFair International in Philadelphia. What was the most interesting thing she learned?

The most interesting thing is that products are getting better. We used to have a lot of weird and cold-color LEDs. Over time the color has gotten more consistent from LED to LED. There’s starting to be less flicker. The manufacturers are learning about the technology and how to make products that are more comparable to what we expect.

Also, manufacturers are learning that they don’t just take LEDs and stick them into the same fixtures that used to have fluorescent light. We’re actually seeing dedicated LED products and don’t have to reproduce a form factor from the past. It’s taken years for that to happen. We’re starting to see office products and track lights for retail applications that are dedicated LED lights. We’re also seeing more attention paid to the dimabilty of LEDs. A lot of manufacturers have claimed that their products were dimmable but in the past, the color wasn’t right or they flickered. That’s still a big problem, but a lot of manufactures are figuring out how to make the products better.

What are the unique challenges for museums and lighting?

One of their biggest concerns is whether the spectrum of the LED going to deteriorate our artwork faster than the halogen we’ve been using. There is some research going on at the Getty Conservation Institute, and they’re looking at standard fading materials so they know how they react under certain conditions and the number of hours a piece of art can be exposed before it starts deteriorating. Different materials have different sensitivities to light.

One thing we’ve learned so far from the Getty Conservation Institute is that LEDs don’t seem to be doing any more damage than the halogens. They may be performing a little bit better. We just have to wait and see what the research shows.

The other thing museums are concerned about is how to make the art visible and bring out the colors the artist intended us to see. The early LEDs weren’t very good in color, but now the color of LED products has gotten so good it’s very similar to halogen. There’s a little more energy in the blue portion of the spectrum.

So that will bring out more blue and purple in the artwork?

Everyone is being very careful, and they don’t want to have a dramatic change in how their artwork looks. In some museums they are making sure it’s not a dramatic difference, so they may filter out of some of that blue. Each museum will have a different philosophy.

Is the National Gallery in London switching over its lights?

I don’t know if they’re switching over, but they’re trying it in a few galleries. And that’s the best thing to do. LEDs are so expensive and the technology is changing so quickly. It’s best to test in a few galleries in case they don’t end up working out in the long run. Maybe you’ll find that a particular bulb fails prematurely. We don’t know; we don’t have enough history with LEDs.

Dependability seems to be a big issue with these bulbs.

That’s right. Part of the process is trying different manufacturers’ bulbs, seeing how they perform over time. Every museum is going to have to figure that out themselves.

But I have to tell you, there are good LED products out there and there are bad ones. There is some stuff that has dreadful color and some stuff that won’t hold up.

So it’s just trial and error?

Well, that’s partly why PNNL is here. We’re trying to establish standards and give them the metrics to examine LED products. We’re also publishing data about the performance of these products.

How are museums dealing with the expense of LEDs?

They may cost between $50 and $130 per bulb where halogen was $10. Theoretically it lasts a long time and it saves so much energy it will pay back over time. But we want to document how long it will last, how much power it draws. We can do the calculations to show that it saves energy and money over time. It will pay back quickly depending on the hours of use.

In places where you have high electricity costs–if you‘re in New York or Washington or San Francisco or San Diego–those are places where electricity is very expensive and everything you can do to use a more energy efficient is beneficial.

Then there’s the cost of changing the light bulb. You’re probably aware there are lot of museums that have extremely valuable art. You don’t have a $10-an-hour teenage kid up on the ladder to change the light bulb. So changing light bumps in museums is very expensive—it happens after hours and by a crew that has to be careful with the art, the light, the 30-foot ceilings. Because it’s expensive to change a light bulb, if you can have a bulb that lasts 25,000 hours—and that’s conservative– versus 3,000, you’re changing it one-eighth as often and you’re saving on labor costs.

What types of light users are leading the way with LEDs?

There are some large retailers that are using LEDs in parking lots and in window displays. The Macy’s here in Portland put LEDs in their window displays, which makes sense because they are operating 24 hours a day. The large retailers see the benefit. You’re also seeing some cities, towns and highway departments replacing them largely because it’s reducing the cost of getting up there and changing bulbs. It may not be a big energy savings in the case of roadway lighting, but it may reduce long term costs because of the labor.

But they aren’t changing out everything. In most cases, they’re trying it out and once they feel like it’s a worthwhile investment they’ll use more.

SOURCE: smartplanet

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Waterproof LED Light Bulbs

LED lights are high tech and have electronic components. Very few retrofit LED bulbs have sensitive components sealed. There is a new generation of waterproof LED lights IP rated against dust and water spray. They still should not get dunked in water, but work great outside and exposed.

The photo below shows a waterproof LED PAR20 (top) compared to our standard LED PAR20 (botto006D). Look closely between the heat sync on the non-waterproof style and you’ll see some exposed wires. Those wires connect to the LED driver and, if exposed to the elements, can permanently damage the bulb. On the top, everything gets sealed tight and the LED diodes are completely protected from the elements.

There is give and take to the technology, which is why most LEDs aren’t outdoor rated. Customers lose rated life by going to a outdoor rated bulb (20,000 hours vs 50,000 hours). The bulbs still last over 10 times the life of halogens, but half the rated life. The waterproof bulbs have less thermodynamic heat sync, shortening the effective life.

Many of the standard lower powered bulbs (G4s, MR16s) work great inside protected landscaping fixtures, but those fixtures must protect the bulb come rain or shine. Above all else, make sure any exposed LED has an IP rating in the 60s. Protect your investment and only use LED lights as directed from your supplier.

SOURCE: greenlightingled