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Stimulus Money Lights The Way For LED Technology

Mon, 06/07/2010 - 6:23am
Faraz Hasan, Global Marketing and Business Development Manager for Tyco Electronics' Circuit Protection

On January 15, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced funding of more than $37 million to support high-efficiency, solid-state lighting (SSL) projects.

With lighting accounting for approximately 24% of the total electricity generated in the U.S. today, it is no small wonder that the DOE decided to accelerate the deployment of SSL technology.

SSL uses light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) and has the potential to be 10 times more energy-efficient than traditional incandescent lighting. With this latest round of funding, the Solid State Lighting Program has selected 17 projects that encompass core research, product development, and domestic manufacturing.  

The award money is expected to be matched with nearly $28.5 million in private industry cost share, for a total project value of more than $66 million. The DOE’s goal is to lower U.S. electricity costs by 33 percent by 2030, and at the same time, significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The goal of the research money recipients is to improve the price, performance, and manufacturability of SSL products so that they can be quickly introduced to the mass market. Although they have been used in head lamps and street lights for years, making an LED bulb that can compete with a $5 compact fluorescent seems still a ways off.

Nevertheless, the Wall Street Journal reports that venture capital firms are increasingly turning their attention toward the lighting industry, in the expectation that the market — particularly LEDs and lighting control sectors — will boom in the coming years.

In fact, as manufacturers look for ways to reduce their energy costs, solid state lighting is likely to get a boost not despite the recession, but because of it.

More on Circuit Protection

In spite of the growing popularity of the technology, LED light manufacturers continue to wrestle with the fact that LED luminaires are very heat sensitive. Excessive heat or inappropriate applications can dramatically affect performance.

A new white paper, titled Coordinated Circuit Protection Options for LED Lighting, addresses these issues and describes how overcurrent, overvoltage and ESD protection can help protect LED lighting components.

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For more information visit "around the circuit" at www.blog.circuitprotection.com.

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