OLED-based 'light emitting wallpaper' gets grant boost - Embedded.com

OLED-based ‘light emitting wallpaper’ gets grant boost


LONDON — A company developing ultra-efficient organic LED (OLED) lighting technology has been awarded a £454 000 (about $740 000) grant by the Carbon Trust, an independent company set up in 2001 by the UK Government in response to the threat of climate change, to accelerate the move to a low carbon economy by working with organisations to reduce carbon emissions and develop commercial low carbon technologies.

The OLED materials, being pioneered by LOMOX Ltd (Wilmslow, UK) , have a variety of potential applications and when coated onto a film could be used to cover walls creating a light-emitting wallpaper which replaces the need for traditional light bulbs.

As well as being flexible, OLED film will require a very low operating voltage (between 3 to 5 volts) so it can be powered by solar panels and batteries making it ideal for applications where mains power is not available such as roadside traffic warning signs.

The LOMOX OLED technology promises to be 2.5 times more efficient than standard energy saving bulbs. It has been estimated that, by replacing current lighting technologies, it could reduce annual global CO2 emissions by over 2,500,000 tonnes by 2020 and nearly 7,400,000 by 2050, roughly equivalent to a quarter of the annual carbon emissions of Wales (or the annual emissions of Birmingham).

The company aims to have the first lighting products using its technology available in 2012 and also plans to use the same technology to create more energy efficient television screens.

“Lighting is a major producer of carbon emissions. This technology has the potential to produce ultra efficient lighting for a wide range of applications, tapping into a huge global market,” said Mark Williamson, Director of Innovations at the Carbon Trust.”We're now on the look-out for other technologies that can save carbon and be a commercial success.”

Operating lifetime has traditionally been a problem with OLED technology, but LOMOX claims to have found a way to achieve significantly longer lifetimes than fluorescent lamps. The technology will also be more efficient (producing 150 lumens/watt) as it only emits light along one axis. OLEDs can produce a more natural looking light than other forms of lighting.

Technologies with significant carbon saving potential can receive up to £500k of grant funding through the Carbon Trust Applied Research scheme. It has recently launched an open call for applications which will close on 18th February 2010.

The Carbon Trust's Applied Research grant scheme has supported 164 projects from around 1900 applications and committed a total of £23 million towards research worth around £55 million. Approximately 65 percent of completed projects have, or are in the process of generating new patents, making commercial sales or receiving further investment into the development of the technology.

LOMOX Ltd.was set up in December 2007 and during 2008, it filed key patents and established a laboratory at the OpTIC Technium in St. Asaph, North Wales.

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