As energy use by the U.S. military grows — the Department of Defense (DoD) uses 300,000 barrels of oil every day — the conversation about how the military can consume cleaner power continues to grow, too. One potentially good fit could be concentrating solar photovoltaic technology.
A researcher’s report says that the growth of solid state lighting, replacing incandescents and compact fluorescents, could increase the consumption of light by a factor of ten within two decades. Ruh roh.
Cheap LEDs? Not yet, but Philips isn’t taking any chances. BusinessWeek explores how Philips plans to ride the ascendancy and eventual commoditization of LED lighting. From locking in a presence across the entire supply chain to offering custom lighting services, the company is girding for a bruising fight as competitors start lining up. For some added perspective on the technology’s challenges and opportunities, be sure to consult Katherine Austin’s analysis of the solid-state lighting market (subscription required).
OLED lighting may arrive faster than big-screen OLED TVs if the U.S. Department of Energy’s latest gambit pays off. The agency awarded DuPont a $2.25 million grant to fund a two-year project on developing low-cost manufacturing techniques for OLED solid-state lighting. Judging by the baby steps the technology is taking in the video display market, OLED producers may make their fortunes in lighting before selling home theater gear to videophiles.
Cree isn’t the only outfit that’s bullish on LED lighting. The seven employees at Ilumisys are moving ahead with an expansion in time to take advantage of the LED sales explosion that the U.S. Department of Energy forecasts will take place in 2012. Ilumisys’ strategy? Selling LED tubes that act as direct replacements for the millions of fluorescent tubes that you can find in nearly every office building. They’re not cheap, but if increased production means price reductions, it’s not bad a sector of the lighting industry to make a buck.
Attention LED manufacturers: The U.S. Department of Energy is watching and prepared to take action. That’s the message the DoE is sending to companies that are taking liberties with the agency’s Lighting Facts label. Twenty-five cases have been reported since the program went live in December 2008, including instances of companies like Philips creating their own labels. Naturally, consumers lose out if the labels become suspect or even meaningless. So it’s a good thing that the DoE is signaling tough measures for companies that don’t play fair this early in the LED lighting game.
Thanks to LED lighting, Arizona State University is going to save a bunch of money on electricity and maintenance. Just don’t expect to be wowed, unless you like parking structures. Industrial applications are all well and good, but if LED lighting is going to take off, it desperately needs to shed its image as a niche player. Sure, it may take a some time before an LED bulb hangs over every kitchen table, but silicon chip makers have a good reason to help make it happen. Why? LED fixtures can open market opportunities for semiconductor companies that are licking their wounds after getting battered during the IT downturn.