LED lighting is an enabler for many new applications, expert says
The persons in the interview were Guenther Sejkora, managing director of Kompetenzzentrum Licht, a network of research institutions and enterprises in Austria; Paul Hartmann, Head Materials of the Joanneum Research center in Graz (Austria), Arno Grabherr-Meyer, editor in chief of LED professional; and Nisa Khan, president of LED Lighting Technologies.
eeNews Europe: What is the importance of the LED technology to the luminaries industry?
Sejkora: The LED lighting technology is an enabler for entirely new applications such as variable color illumination. From the perspective of the industry, we can expect significant changes: Now electronics and semiconductor vendors will enter this market and even start to compete with luminary manufacturers. This will open up many chances in terms of technology as well as in terms of market balance.
Hartmann: A big issue currently is the light quality, in particular in the warm-white color range. Not to mention the ongoing chase for ever-higher efficiency and better lumen/euro ratio. The LED industry currently is focusing on tightening the manufacturing tolerance and on innovative binning concepts. Both will play a major role for the market success of LED products. In the LED retrofit market segment, the industry is focusing on the light intensity of 806lm demanded by EU guidelines for the replacement of standard 60W incandescent bulb – of course at an affordable price level. Another major goal is the implementation of a 100W incandescent bulb – if possible without active cooling.
Grabherr-Meyer: There is no single challenge – quite the contrary: We see many challenges. Now that simply dominating the lighting technology is no longer the issue, the industry has to prove that LEDs do not only produce light but that this light can be adapted to the needs of specific lighting applications.
Lighting always calls for certain trade-offs – be it the trade-off between efficiency and color reproduction (CRI) and color temperature (CCT), be it the one between light distribution and design or between the geometry of a luminary and cooling, power and service life. There are innumerous combinations.
eeNews Europe: Which technology trends do you see in LED lighting?
Hartmann: There is a number of trends connected to the area of standardization. While the LED retrofit market can serve the large installed base of luminaries and calls for design solutions in the format of the classic incandescent bulb or for spot lamps, the activities in professional lighting markets are already oriented on the concepts of the future Zhaga standard currently under development for LED-based spot lights and street lighting. This standard will contain less compromises.
Grabherr-Meyer: Already in 2010 a clear trend towards modular systems has emerged. Modularity can be achieved at various levels and at varying extend. The Zhaga consortium is driving modularization by defining standards – for mechanical, optical, thermal and electric interfaces. In addition we see a continuing trend to reduce binning and light color deviations. McAdams 2-3 is already established as a standard in many cases.
Beyond this, more or less all LED manufacturers are looking into the possibility to manufacture LEDs on Si substrates and eliminate the extremely expensive MOVCD process on sapphire substrates. Wet etching as a technique for surface processing of LED chips will also to significant cost reductions without compromising the light extraction efficiency.
Driver chip vendors tend towards solutions with lower component count. Some concepts aim at eliminating electronic components which have a potentially negative impact on the service life of the product.
eeNews Europe: Which effect on CO2 emissions could be achieved if LED technology will be used of all new lighting installations in the next five years?
Khan: Currently, lighting accounts for approximately 20% of total global energy consumption. In many cases, LED replacement lights can save up to 75 to 80% on energy usage. The industry is still developing LED lighting technologies to achieve such energy savings for many lighting applications in the future. But, for arguments sake, if we could replace all lighting with such new energy-efficient products, we would reduce global coal production by about 600 megatons per year. This leads to an aggregate reduction of over 3 gigatons of coal production in five years.
eeNews Europe: What is the importance of the lpS for the European market?
Khan: Central Europe is one of the regions in the world that is historically a major contributor in science, technology, environmental aesthetics, and ecological sustainability. A symposium focused on LED lighting technologies in such a region that already has had a strong presence in premier lighting is indeed important as well as exciting.
Central Europe is at the forefront of semiconductor technologies now playing a primary role in LED lighting, which serves various markets including high-end uses such as automotive headlights and high-quality ambient lights. Europe plays a dual role in such markets as they are both manufacturers and end-users of such applications. LED lighting also holds a promising future for many other lighting and display markets around the world.
Paul Hartmann: Endeavouring to bring a wide circle of experts – from scientists to marketing managers and on to the user itself together in an international, high-level conference means that there is a chance to demonstrate and communicate the meaning of LED technology for Europe to the many players of this highly competitive market away from the sales-dominated mega-shows.
eeNews Europe: How can luminaries manufacturers benefit from LpS?
Sejkora: The requirements of most product designers in the area of LED technology have changed a great deal. While luminary designers, for the most part, used to be specialists in one area, LED technology requires a high amount of interdisciplinary expertise. LpS offers presentations and poster sessions from the most diverse areas of LED technology and the surrounding areas. At LpS, technicians and developers can get information about the trends in the different areas of LED technology at one event.