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£200,000 grant will be used to develop breakthrough low energy lighting

The Advanced Technology Institute (ATI) at the University of Surrey has been awarded a £200,000 Carbon Trust Applied Research Grant to produce prototype solid state lighting devices using nano-composite materials invented at the ATI. This funding will contribute to a larger programme of development worth £465,000, which will use carbon nanotube-organic composites to fabricate ultra low energy lighting devices.

The ATI is confident that its Ultra Low Energy High Brightness Light (ULEHB) will require minimal power, significantly reducing both energy costs and carbon emissions. According to the Carbon Trust, lighting can contribute up to 40% of a company’s energy bill, so any technology which can provide flexible, low-energy illumination should have wide commercial application, as well as contributing to the UK’s fight against climate change.

Promisingly, Surrey's ULEHB could be used in a wide range of settings, as its long-life modular components are designed to suit a variety of applications, including signage, displays, street lighting, commercial lighting, public buildings, offices and image projectors.

The ULEHB light may also offer a cost efficient and clean replacement solution for mercury based fluorescent lamps and many other low efficiency 'heat producing' light sources. The patented technology can also be used for low cost solar cell production and has the versatility to be tuned to produce eye pleasing coloured light. Potential uses such as variable mood lighting over a whole wall or ceiling are also being explored.

Professor Ravi Silva, Director of the ATI and project leader said "This isn't the everlasting light bulb, but it is a highly energy efficient invention which could completely change the way we use lighting. ULEHB lighting will produce the same quality light as the best 100 watt light bulb, but using only a fraction of the energy and lasting many times longer".

Garry Staunton, Head of Low Carbon Research at the Carbon Trust, added: “We are delighted to be providing grant support to the University of Surrey, and will be monitoring the development of this exciting low-energy lighting technology with interest. Grants are a key part of the Carbon Trust’s work in encouraging the transition to a low carbon economy. Our aim is to support the best emerging thinking in the energy world, and bring the worlds of science and business closer together by converting theory into potential profit.”

Stuart Miller | alfa
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