8 June 2012

DOE selects three projects for $7.1m SSL Manufacturing R&D funding opportunity

In response to SSL Manufacturing R&D funding opportunity announcement (FOA) DE-FOA-0000561, the US Department of Energy (DOE) has announced the competitive selection of three projects for solid-state lighting (SSL), involving a total of $7.1m in DOE funding plus an additional $5m in private-sector funding from the three firms.

The two-year projects will focus on achieving significant cost reductions while maintaining quality by improving manufacturing equipment, processes, or monitoring techniques.

This is Round 3 of the DOE’s investments in solid-state lighting manufacturing projects. The efforts are part of DOE’s initiative to accelerate the adoption of SSL technology through improvements that reduce costs while maintaining product quality and performance. They are intended to play a key role in encouraging US-based manufacturing of SSL technologies — creating jobs, boosting exports, and promoting the USA’s role as a global leader in energy efficiency.

The projects selected are as follows (final details are subject to negotiations):

  • Recipient: Cree Inc of Durham, NC. ‘Low-Cost LED Luminaire for General Illumination’ aims to develop an optimized LED fixture design for efficient manufacture that can be readily integrated into buildings and outdoor applications and uses fewer raw materials — all without compromising the performance of the light source. The project builds on Cree’s existing LED platform and has the potential to quickly reduce the cost of producing an already highly efficient LED fixture and allowing it to compete with existing fluorescent systems. The goal is to efficiently provide warm-white light over a minimum lifetime of 50,000 hours, while reducing the cost of manufacturing the major components and assembled products.
  • Recipient: KLA-Tencor of Milpitas, CA. ‘High Throughput, High Precision Hot Testing Tool for HBLED Wafer Level Testing’ plans to remove one of the major barriers to the adoption of high-efficiency LED lighting — namely, the difficulty of providing low-cost white light that has consistent color quality and brightness. Current practice is to separate LEDs according to color during the manufacturing process in order to maximize product yield, but this creates variation in light output and color quality of the product, leading to reduced performance and increased costs. KLA-Tencor seeks to improve the color consistency of LEDs by using a measurement tool during manufacturing that reduces the variation in LED quality, improving performance and reducing cost.
  • Recipient: k-Space Associates of Dexter, MI. ‘Optical Metrology for Volume OLED Manufacturing’ plans to create a more efficient manufacturing process by building on KSA's existing optical monitoring technology to enable high-precision measurements of OLED layers during mass production (most monitoring of the OLED layers during the manufacturing process currently takes place after the fact; if problems are detected then there's little or no chance to change the production inputs). The tool will measure layer thickness and composition to ultimately control the efficiency, color and lifetime of OLEDs. This development will serve as a platform for future large‐scale OLED production facilities, paving the way for a strong US presence in OLED manufacturing.

However, the DOE is not selecting or funding any projects in response to SSL Core Technology Research FOA DE-FOA-0000564 or SSL Product Development FOA DE-FOA-0000563 (Round 8 of both the SSL Core Technology Research and the SSL Product Development FOAs). SSL program funding for fiscal-year 2012 has been impacted by Congressional direction, which specifically targeted manufacturing R&D. Congress has also directed the DOE to use fiscal 2012 funds to fully fund the new multi-year projects, which further impacted the number of selections fiscal-year 2012.

Nevertheless, the DOE says that SSL program strategy and direction remain unchanged, and that it continues to support SSL Core Technology Research and Product Development to improve the efficacy and quality of SSL. However, in light of these considerations, it will postpone the release of new solicitations for Core Technology Research and Product Development (which would normally be issued in summer 2012) until fiscal-year 2013, in order to gain a better idea of available funding.

Tags: SSL LEDs k-Space Associates Cree KLA-Tencor

Visit: www1.eere.energy.gov/buildings/ssl/financial.html

See Latest IssueRSS Feed


This site uses some harmless cookies in order to function click here to view our Cookie and Privacy Policy