Technology & Science

'Solid-state' light uses one-10th energy, maker says

A Canadian-made lighting technology that uses one-tenth the energy of conventional light bulbs could sharply reduce the power needed to light homes and offices.

ACanadian-made lighting technologythat uses one-tenththe energyof conventional light bulbs could sharply reducethe power needed to lighthomes and offices.

The lights couldsave the equivalent of double the energy used by Toronto homes each year ifit replaced incandescent light bulbs nationwide, said Group IV Semiconductor Inc. on Wednesdayin Ottawa.

In testingat a National Research Council facility in Ottawa, theenergy-efficient lightcan last about50,000 hours, or more than 5.7 years. A normal incandescent bulb lasts about 1,000 hours;a compact fluorescent lightabout 5,000 hours.

To produce light, the so-called "solid state" lighting passes electricity through semiconductors such as siliconinstead of gases used by fluorescent tubes or filaments used by incandescent bulbs.Unlike conventional incandescent bulbs, most of the energy used by the solid-state devices is converted to light instead of heat.

The technology was developed by the Solid State Lighting Project, a three-year, $9.1 million endeavour of Group IV, EnCana Corp., and Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC).

Sustainable Development Technology Canada is a non-profit foundation created by the federal government. Its$550 million funddevelopsenvironmental technologiesfor clean air, water, soil and climate change.

Group IV Semiconductor plans to further develop the technology for use in commercial lighting products.

The technology is being tested at the NRC's Photonics Fabrication Centre in Ottawa.