Thursday, November 21, 2013

LA is Not LaLa Land It Is LED Land

Finally a government green program that is not a waste of money.   The US DOE reported today that Los Anegeles has undertaken the largest project in the world to replace old street lamps with new light emitting diode (LED) ones.    Here is the US DOE press release.

By Jim Brodrick, lighting program manager
The world's largest light emitting diode (LED) conversion project to date is under way in Los Angeles, California.
In the project’s first phase alone, the city retrofitted over 141,000 streetlights, reducing energy use by 63% and saving the city $7 million a year in electricity costs. The project is expected to reduce carbon emissions by 47,583 metric tons annually, which is equivalent to removing about 10,000 cars from Los Angeles roadways per year.
Lessons learned from this project were discussed during the Energy Department’s Municipal Solid-State Street Lighting Consortium (MSSLC) webinar in September. More than 560 attendees gained insight from Ed Ebrahimian, director of Los Angeles’ Bureau of Street Lighting. To date, more than 370 municipalities, utilities, and government agencies have signed on as primary members of MSSLC. For the complete story, see the EERE Blog.

I say Bravo LA.   I wrote my book on energy and sustainability in 2003, ten years ago.   In my book I opined that LED technology would become a widespread methos to lower power consumption in lighting.  Ten years ago we had just started to covert traffic lights to LED.  Now cities around the world are converting street lights.  Home owners are also switching to LED lights.

LED’s are solid state devices.  Just as the transistor (solid state) replaced vacuum tubes in radios in the 1950s and just like LCD TVs (solid state) replaced tube TVs over the past decade, LEDs will replace incandescent light bulbs in the coming decade.  The US has one very successful company in the LED space.  This company is Cree who are located in North Carolina.  Many Asian manufacturers have entered the LED lighting market and China in particular is making a strong push into LED manufacturing.

The LED’s are fabricated on sapphire wafers.  Integrated circuits are fabricated on silicon wafers, but manufacturing methods are similar.  The emerald is the green stone but the sapphire is truly the green precious stone.  Another US company GT Advanced Technology has leading edge technology in ultra-pure sapphire crystals.   Apple just announced a very large deal with GT to supply Apple with unique crystals.   My guess is that Apple needs curved sapphire crystals for their new curved handheld devices.   Yes the flat iPhone and the flat iPad are to be replaced by curved devices that are far easier to hold.

The green machine applauds companies like Cree and GT Advanced Technology that actually offer green products that do help the world.  They don’t get the press that Tesla does but they deliver green goods that are not pyrophoric.   It certainly looks like Tesla Motors has a lot of explaining to do about their self-igniting Model S that only achieves 22 miles per gallon equivalent if the real world data for power generation and distribution efficiencies are used.   In ten years time Tesla will be long forgotten and the LEDs installed on LA streets will still be burning bright.
This news from Digitimes

LED lighting market value in 2014 to reach US$17.8 billion, says LEDinside
Press release, November 20; Alex Wolfgram, DIGITIMES [Wednesday 20 November 2013]
According to data from LEDinside, the LED lighting market value in 2014 will come to US$17.8 billion, and the total shipments of LED lighting products will reach 1.32 billion units, representing 68% on-year growth.
LEDinside pointed out that the global LED lighting product replacement tide is caused by falling LED product prices. With replacement lamps being the most obvious, bulbs and tubes are the most popular ones in the market, which account for 38% and 24% of LED lighting product demand in 2013, respectively. In addition, the demand for LED luminaires in the future will gradually rise, the firm said.
According to the data, the growth rate of LED lighting market demand volume in North America is expected to reach 72% in 2014. In addition, in Latin America the LED lighting market is growing rapidly, especially the LED commercial lighting market, with the growth rate of LED lighting market demand volume expected to reach 64% in 2014. The growth rate of LED lighting market demand volume in Europe is expected to reach 69% in 2014.
LEDinside also estimated the growth rate of LED lighting market demand volume in China to reach 86% in 2014.