General Lighting Future Future of technology LED

The New Longest-Ever “Smart Tunnel” Lit with LED Lighting

LED Tunnel Lighting Comes to Norway Tunnel

LED lighting has reached another milestonethis time in Norway. The newly opened Toven Tunnel in northern Norway has become the longest tunnel to be completely lit by LED lighting. The tunnel, which links the towns of Leirfjord and Vefsn, opened in November of 2014. It is 10.7 kilometers (6.6 miles) in length, surpassing other tunnels lit by LEDs in China, Italy, and the Netherlands.

Tunnel Features Unique LED-Control System

The Norwegian Public Roads Administration (NPRA) made the decision to use LED lights to improve energy efficiency and adaptability. While energy savings are inherent in LED lights, the NPRA also implemented a unique lighting-control system that adjusts light intensity based on the amount of traffic in the tunnel. Since the Toven Tunnel receives a relatively low amount of traffic, this control system is a tremendous energy-saving attribute. Additionally, daylight sensors will regulate the amount of LED lighting at the beginnings and ends of the tunnel (i.e., the lights will dim according to the brightness of the sun), providing a more seamless visual transition for drivers. It is estimated that these measures will save the Toven Tunnel 70% in energy costs.

Dark Tunnel Exit Needs LED Lighting

Savings in LED Maintenance—Improvements in Tunnel Safety

The NPRA will also save on maintenance costs, as the tunnel’s LED lighting will last about 84% longer than traditional lighting. Since fixing lights in a 10.7-kilometer tunnel is a bit more difficult (and expensive) than changing a light bulb at home, LEDs provide the Toven Tunnel a significant advantage.

LED lighting can also have benefits in more heavily trafficked tunnels where the level of lighting needs to be more consistent. Benefits of LED lighting include reduced glare and a better rendering of colors than traditional lighting, allowing drivers to better see the objects around them. This will likely increase comfort for drivers and reduce the number of accidents.

The issue of LED lighting in tunnels has become so popular that it will be the theme in the first ever Road Tunnel Lighting Conference. The conference will take place in Barcelona on October 8th and 9th.

“Now that there are self-adjusting tunnel lights and plans for smart, interactive highways, do you think the future of transportation is getting safer or more complicated? Are these innovations necessary?” –Dr. Bulb

General Lighting

Scientists make Big Developments with Tiny Graphene Bulb

A tiny new lamp made of graphene has proven to be not only the world’s thinnest light bulb, but also the worlds smallest too. In fact, the tiny graphene lamp—one atomic layer thick—is so small that it can be integrated with a computer chip. This new graphene lamp was developed by James Hone’s group of researchers at Columbia University, and led by a postdoctoral research scientist, Young Duck Kim.

“We’ve created what is essentially the world’s thinnest light bulb,…This new type of ‘broadband’ light emitter can be integrated into chips and will pave the way towards the realization of atomically thin, flexible, and transparent displays, and graphene-based on-chip optical communications.”

—Hone, James, Wang Fon-Jen Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Columbia University

An Amazing New Source of Illumination

Graphene is a form of Carbon. Some of its properties are: it is thin, it has poor heat conduction, and it is crystalline. When combined, these properties contributed to the successful design of the new graphene lamp that could be a game changer. Not only has this team of scientists finally created a lamp that can be integrated safely with computer chips, but in fact they have created something that has innumerable applications for the field of technology and innovative home and business lighting too.

White Light, Little Heat

The graphene that researchers used reached 2,500 degrees Celsius, which is hot enough to cause the strips to glow brightly enough to illuminate the surrounding area of the chip. This type of heat would generally hold the potential to damage surrounding computer chips in the same way as a filament bulb does, but it does not. Why? Because once it is hot, Graphene is a poor conductor of heat so the heat it produces stays within the filament and the surrounding computer chips remain intact and undamaged.

The Future of Light Lies in Integration

It seems that the future of the graphene lamp lies in its integration in the home and in other fields. Integrating the graphene bulb in the home and buildings would mean an actual physical integration of the lighting sources  into the walls and ceilings of a home or office, rather than being separate fixtures. In terms of technological applications, graphene light will enable computer chips to process information more quickly and with less energy consumption. One of the more exciting and futuristic prospects for graphene light is that it could be used to create “flexible and transparent smartphones and tablets” so those computers, phones, and other tech toys you so covet in your favorite sci-fi romp could be in a store near you faster than the speed of light.

General Lighting LED

New Reports Show LED Sales are Gaining on CFLs

Lighting trends have gone through a major transformation over the last decade or so. For many years, the design of the lamps remained about the same, with only a few minor adjustments over time but nothing new in terms of lighting capability, design, or energy efficiency. LEDs reached the market with the intention of giving traditional lamps competition in both the business and home markets—for example, the compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) that are currently dominating the market. Where those LED lamps fell short was the increased price point.

While the quality of light of the LED lamps was comparable, the cost was not. In the long-run, LED lamps can provide significant savings due to the energy efficient design, however those looking at the short-term costs were initially deterred from transitioning to the LED lamps. Now, with LED lamps and luminaires becoming more affordable, it looks as though the popularity of LED lamps are growing fast as a means for lighting a home, a parking lot, and just about everything else in between.

A recent annual benchmark survey commissioned by Osram Sylvania measures the public attitudes and awareness of energy efficient trends in the lighting market. This survey showed that 53% of the 1,000 people polled use CFLs in their home or business. However, 41% of the people surveyed are now using LED lamps. This trend shows that LED lamps could push the more traditional CFLs off the market in the same way incandescent lamps were pushed out by CFLs in 2014. The CFLs are not gone yet though, as 37% of those asked said they would buy the same CFL lamps again.

The loyalty of LED users is growing as well, with 35% stating that they would continue to use those lamps. The survey further uncovered that those who have switched to LED lamps are less likely to switch back as people start to weigh not only their long-term out-of-pocket costs but the life-span and energy efficiency aspects as well.

The main popularity behind the LED lights is the quality of the light produced and the fact that LED lights are brighter and do not generate the same amount of heat. The cost of LEDs vs. CFLs still tilts in the CFL’s favor. There are some general purpose LED light bulbs that sell for around nine dollars each and even less at some major discount retailers. Still, those single pack LED lamps do costs more than the three pack of CFLs priced at about ten dollars, however the markets are showing that the LED bulbs are starting to go down in price and push the lighting trends towards LEDs.