The technology, with its prominent characteristic of energy efficiency, is transforming the $100 billion global lighting industry, Fred Maxik, Chief Technology Officer, Lighting Science Group, informs R Srinivasan.Recognised as a pioneer and authority in the development of solid state lighting for use in general illumination, Fred Maxik, Chief Technology Officer, Lighting Science Group, is author of 100+ patents (issued, pending and in-process) that have become the base of the intellectual assets of the group. He is frequently consulted by the US Department of Energy (DOE) on various topics regarding solid state lighting and related standards. He was recently awarded the 'Champion of Change' an award associated with President Obama's 'Winning the Future' initiative in recognition of his contributions to LED lighting. He along with Greg Horn captured some of the possibilities of LED light in their first of a three series book called 'The Meaning of Light'. He spoke to us about certain elements of LED lighting, Excerpts:What measures has the company taken to leverage the fact that the Indian market for LED lighting is expected to grow to Rs 1,600 crore by 2015 - making it one of the fastest-growing sectors?The biggest growth areas are going to be street-lighting followed by lighting for commercial or infrastructure projects. India is going to need five times the infrastructure of today between now and 2025-2030. This growth will have lighting needs associated with it. LED lighting is one of the most efficient and environment-friendly forms of lighting and is bound to grow. In India we will be targeting commercial customers to begin with and also the government sector for street lighting. We have recently partnered with discom BSES to demonstrate the benefits of LED lighting and to influence the changeover more rapidly.Kindly mention features of the world's first sub 60-watt equivalent omni-directional LED bulb.The newly-announced Definity bulb fits perfectly into existing screw-in light sockets and creates a clean, bright light level equivalent to a conventional 60 watt incandescent bulb using 85 per cent less electricity and is designed to handle the variable quality of power in India and other emerging economies. Even compared with relatively efficient compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), the new bulb uses 35 per cent less electricity and, unlike all fluorescent lights, contains no toxic mercury. At a retail price that is below $15, the payback from electricity savings versus traditional incandescent light bulbs is 8 months and the LED bulb has an expected life of approximately 8 years.B) What prevented the big manufacturers, who have more money for R&D and marketing, from coming up with such a product?The group was founded in 2002 and focused exclusively on LED lighting. The group has more energy star certified lamps than the entire industry put together and also had the first energy star certified lamp. Continuous focus on innovation and improvement has kept us ahead of the curve.C) How much has the company set aside for R&D?The group has cutting-edge technology which is proven by products that are at par or better than the industry. The company has always focused on research and development to keep itself at the cutting edge. The typical investment is 6 -10 per cent of revenues, but investment is not a constraint for pursuing good projects.LED technology is transforming the $100 billion global lighting industry. What factors prevent its large-scale adoption world-wide?LEDs are being adopted worldwide now on a large-scale and green technology has become the need of the hour. With its prominent characteristic of energy efficiency, LEDs are here to stay.What factors ensured the growth of the company from eight employees squeezed into a small space in the back of a building on South Patrick Drive to nearly 400 workers now?Persistence and self-belief. Not all answers will be visible when one needs it but perseverance along with self-belief will ensure that you are still around when the answer does appear.You were awarded the 'Champion of Change' award in recognition of your contribution. Is this a first (in LED lighting)?Earlier this year, I was honoured to be recognised as a Champion of Change and to join in a White House roundtable discussion with leaders in the science and technology community. The invitation to join in the discussion gave me the chance to share how the LED lighting company that I founded in 2004, benefits from the expertise of scientists and engineers who have joined us from NASA Kennedy Space Center.What are the possibilities of LED lighting in view of your books, 'The Meaning of Light', with Greg Horn?The 'Meaning of Light' is a manifesto on light, its implications and its applications illuminating one of the universe's great mysteries. This book tells the clear and compelling story of light, man's relationship with this magical element and implications of new lighting science and technology on our society, economies, health and the human condition. This concise, thought-provoking treatise will change the way you see light, our most basic and most fascinating form of energy.Comparison between LEDs & CFLsLight-emitting diode (LED) technology is one of the most efficient and environment-friendly form of lighting. LED lamps last much longer than compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), as much as 10 times longer, are energy efficient as they do not contain mercury and convert almost 80 per cent of the electrical energy into light energy whereas the remaining 20 per cent is lost as heat energy whereas incandescent bulbs operate at about 20 per cent efficiency since 80 per cent of the electrical energy is lost as heat. LED lamps turn on instantly (reaching full brightness immediately). But CFLs have a warm-up period, which may last from a few seconds to over a minute, to achieve full brightness. This can lead to problems ranging from having to wait for light levels to increase to a useful level, wasting time, to turning the lights on before you really need them in anticipation of the warm-up period and wasting electricity. LED lamps are also more robust than CFLs and can be used in colder temperatures than CFLs.About Lighting ScienceThe company in addition to its Satellite Beach, Florida Innovation
Center and manufacturing facility, has its European operations based in
Goes, The Netherlands, and has sales offices in Castle Hill, and Sydney
in Australia and a manufacturing facility in Monterrey, Mexico. The
company had recently announced a partnership with Dixon Technologies to
launch a full range of LED lighting solutions in India. It also signed a
MoU with BSES to explore avenues to demonstrate and promote energy
efficiency using next gen LED lighting. It also announced the launch of
the lowest cost 60 W bulb in the world which will be made out of India.
It is also coming out with a Definity lamp range which will cover a
complete package in LED lamps and bring about a paradigm shift in
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