New technology which can create 'natural' sunlight in offices and homes and save billions on energy bills will soon be in everyday use, according to scientists.
Researchers from the University of Bath give details of work which will help change fundamentally the way that mobile phones, TVs, cars and buildings use lighting.
The new technology, called Solid State Lighting, will save billions of pounds by reducing the amount of electricity needed to light homes and offices. The researchers estimate that in the next 20 years 90 per cent of the world’s lighting will be provided by this technology, saving billions of pounds in energy costs.
Until recently, light emitting diodes (LEDs) – devices that turn electricity into light – only produced red light and so were unsuitable for illuminating rooms. But recent research by scientists has allowed LEDs to emit high-quality green and blue light as well, allowing the full spectrum to be produced for the first time artificially.
This means that offices which now use conventional light bulbs which emit yellow light can now be lit by LEDs that produce light that is the same as the sun’s. It also means that at the turn of a dial, the light can be changed to any colour of the spectrum. In addition, the improved quality of blue and green light from LEDs will make images on TV, cinema screens and mobile phones much clearer.
LEDs last 20 times as long as ordinary light bulbs, and the new technology could cut the cost of lighting homes and offices by half by 2025, which could, for example, save the USA over one hundred billion dollars each year, the equivalent output of 133 power stations. Savings in the UK are expected to be similar, proportionally.