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Carbon Trust awards £454k to sustainable 'light emitting wallpaper'

Revolutionary ‘light emitting wallpaper’ could be available by 2012, following the Carbon Trust’s award of a £454k grant to a company developing ultra-efficient organic LED (OLED) lighting technology.

The OLED materials, being pioneered by LOMOX Ltd, have a wide 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 Welsh 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 using LOMOX OLED technology consume significantly less energy and emits less CO2 than conventional lights.”

Ken Lacey, LOMOX

OLEDs are new light emitting devices for low energy lighting and flat panel display applications, said LOMOX chief executive Ken Lacey. “LOMOX OLEDs are more efficient, cost effective to produce and do not suffer from the oxidation defect of other polymer OLEDs, providing substantially longer lifetimes,” he said.

“Lighting using LOMOX OLED technology consume significantly less energy and emits less CO2 than conventional lights.”

Operating lifetime and efficiency have traditionally been a problem with OLED technology, but LOMOX OLEDs will be more efficient (producing 150 lumens/watt) as the technology only emits light along one axis.

More efficient

Lighting in buildings accounts for a sixth of total electricity use in the UK. 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 2,500,000t by 2020 and nearly 7,400,000t by 2050, roughly equivalent to a quarter of the annual carbon emissions of Wales (or the annual emissions of Birmingham).

“Lighting is a major producer of carbon emissions. This technology has the potential to produce ultra efficient lighting for a wide range of applications,” said Carbon Trust director of innovations Mark Williamson. “We’re now on the look-out for other technologies that can save carbon and be a commercial success.”

The Carbon Trust recently launched an open call for applications from other technologies with carbon saving potential to receive up to £500k of grant funding through its Applied Research scheme, which will close on February 18 2010. Applications can be made at www.carbontrust.co.uk/appliedresearch.

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