LIGHTING: Making a Difference with High-tech Materials

by , 09/26/07


The Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (iom3) is playing host to a number of events throughout London Design Week through the Materials and Design Exchange (MaDE) which was set up to facilitate the development of design skills to exploit the benefits of new materials and processes. On Wednesday morning, a number of speakers were invited to talk about new advances in lighting, including Chris Williams from UK Displays & Lighting and Ceravision.

Chris was keen on getting across the message about ineffective lighting. It’s now clear that the Incandescent bulb’s future is hanging in the balance, but he also explained the problems with other lighting. A 100W tungsten incandescent bulb dissipates around 93% of the electricity used through heat and a 50W Halogen bulb loses 45W through heat. These are big heat losses by very common products.

Whilst compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL) are rated as the next best thing to existing incandescent bulbs, they too have their problems. Many don’t last the listed lifetime, stopping short at less than ½ of the estimated hours. Domestic users still don’t have the option to buy quality CFLs and they also carry 10X the safe limit of mercury, bringing about issues surrounding the disposal of such a product.

So, what is available for the future? Well, Chris suggested a number of alternatives including Inorganic LED, Organic LED, and a new Microwave Elecrodeless Lamp System. An example of one of these new lamp systems is the Ceravision Continuum™2.4 lamp. It contains no mercury, has a simple bulb chemistry, solid state power source, simple manufacturing, lifetime improvements, high efficiency and ultimately at a low cost. The Economist looks into the inner workings of the light with a little more detail.

With an efficiency above 50%, no toxic materials to dispose of and without the use of a filament, this new lamp system could help to reduce the estimated 650 TWh of electricity used globally on artificial lighting.

+ Materials and Design Exchange
+ Ceravision Continuum™2.4 lamp
+ Everlasting Light

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  1. Jane Grosslight, LC January 1, 2008 at 1:13 pm

    Maybe throw of LEDs is not necessarily the issue. LEDs do not need to try and imitate incandescent or fluorescent sources. They can illuminate differently–be a wall of light -giving elements; be a table top of light; or be lighted clothing that walks around with us. Let’s think out of the box with this exciting light source!

  2. links for 2007-10-01 &l... October 1, 2007 at 3:18 am

    […] Inhabitat » LIGHTING: Making a Difference with High-tech Materials Posted by roedward Filed in Uncategorized […]

  3. art donovan September 27, 2007 at 10:43 am

    Thank you, Inhabitat, for this great post.

    Mr Willams has certainly conducted accurate research and it’s good to hear the true, empirical facts about bulbs.

    However, LEDS, be they organic or inorganic, have so very far to go before they can be used as an effective alternative.

    The problem with LEDs is this: The “Throw” or ability to illuminate an object at a distance, is sorely inadequate with LEDs and currently does not compare to any other type of illumination. But I’m sure that problem will be overcome in the near future.

  4. M Schneider September 27, 2007 at 10:10 am

    The “2.4” in the name of this bulb represents the frequency that the microwave oscillates at; 2.4 GHz. You might recognize that number because it is the same frequency most wireless access points and many cordless phones operate on. I recall issues with this technology causing significant interference with those two existing technologies, to the point of them not working. This concerns me a bit when a lighting source emits radiation outside of the visible spectrum, that includes incandescents that do so as heat.

    Their web site indicates this technology should work on many other frequencies, that it is not limited to the 2.4 GHz range. However, the nice thing about 2.4 Ghz, is that it is the unlicensed spectrum in the US. Which means they can bleed 2.4 Ghz emmisions without having to get a FCC license.

    Personally, I would like to see them improve or shield the technology to address any emissions outside the visible spectrum, and if they can’t… perhaps license a portion of the spectrum for their technology.

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