ORNL Part Of Team To Cast Industry, Offices In New Light

February 12, 1997

OAK RIDGE, Tenn. -- Artificial lighting consumes about $75 billion, or about a fourth of the nation's electric bill, but that may change because of a new type of lighting being developed by the Department of Energy's (DOE) Oak Ridge Nation al Laboratory (ORNL) and several partners.

The hybrid lighting concept combines natural and artificial light by using collectors to capture sunlight and waveguides to transmit the light to special fixtures. These fixtures are fitted with fluorescent tubes and natural light tubes to produce the desired light output.

"Hybrid lighting holds great promise for improving quality and efficiency of lighting," said ORNL's Art Clemons, co-developer and a member of the Engineering Technology Division. "Even a modest improvement could result in significant savings."

The hybrid lighting partnership, which combines the capabilities and resources of industry and DOE labs, is designed to combine the technologies needed to make hybrid lighting a reality.

"Even though there have been a lot of advances in fiber optics and other technologies critical to this effort, there has been a lack of overall coordination and integration of these technologies on a systems level," said co-developer Jeff Muhs, also of ORNL's Engineering Technology Division. "The purpose of this partnership is to address that concern."

Aside from offering significant improvements in efficiency, hybrid lighting provides reduced maintenance requirements and safety advantages. Blends of natural and artificial light are also more pleasing to the eye and result in improved productivity in the workforce, Muhs said.

Despite the promise of reduced demand for electricity and the other advantages, ORNL researchers note that significant challenges remain before hybrid lighting is ready for the marketplace.

For example, today's light guides that transmit sunlight from collectors atop roofs to fixtures within the building lose 1 percent of light per foot. If the light is being directed several stories into the building, that amount of loss cannot be tolerated.

"Our goal is 1 percent loss per 10 feet," Clemons said, "so we have a considerable way to go."

Other specific areas that require further development include optical materials, light dispersing elements, hybrid lighting systems integration and automatic feedback and control systems. Each of these play a vital role in ensuring the lighting system is uniform and efficient.

"The immediate goal is to bring together a team with expertise in these areas," Clemons said. "The partnership will address the requirements in these areas and then we will develop a program plan that we'll present to DOE."

ORNL's specific areas of expertise include fiber optics, materials and systems integration. In addition, ORNL has demonstrated success in forming government/industry partnerships, Clemons noted.
-end-
ORNL, one of DOE's multiprogram research facilities, is managed by Lockheed Martin Energy Research Corp.

You may read other press releases from Oak Ridge National Laboratory or learn more about the lab if you have access to the Internet. You can find our information on the World Wide Web at http://www.ornl.gov



DOE/Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Related Artificial Light Articles from Brightsurf:

Light from rare earth: new opportunities for organic light-emitting diodes
Efficient and stable blue OLED is still a challenge due to the lack of emitter simultaneously with high efficiency and short excited-state lifetime.

Guiding light: Skoltech technology puts a light-painting drone at your fingertips
Skoltech researchers have designed and developed an interface that allows a user to direct a small drone to light-paint patterns or letters through hand gestures.

Painting with light: Novel nanopillars precisely control intensity of transmitted light
By shining white light on a glass slide stippled with millions of tiny titanium dioxide pillars, researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and their collaborators have reproduced with astonishing fidelity the luminous hues and subtle shadings of 'Girl With a Pearl Earring.'

Seeing the light: Researchers combine technologies for better light control
A new technology that can allow for better light control without requiring large, difficult-to-integrate materials and structures has been developed by Penn State researchers.

Artificial brains may need sleep too
Neural networks that become unstable after continuous periods of self-learning will return to stability after exposed to sleep like states, according to a study of simulated spiking neural networks, suggesting that even artificial brains need to nap occasionally.

Controlling artificial cilia with magnetic fields and light
Researchers have made artificial cilia, or hair-like structures, that can bend into new shapes in response to a magnetic field, then return to their original shape when exposed to the proper light source.

Artificial pieces of brain use light to communicate with real neurons
Researchers at The University of Tokyo, University of Bordeaux and at Ikerbasque have created a way for artificial neuronal networks to communicate with biological neuronal networks.

Scientists use light to accelerate supercurrents, access forbidden light, quantum world
Iowa State's Jigang Wang continues to explore using light waves to accelerate supercurrents to access the unique and potentially useful properties of the quantum world.

Artificial synapses on design
Memristive devices behave similarly to neurons in the brain. Researchers from the J├╝lich Aachen Research Alliance (JARA) and the technology group Heraeus have now discovered how to systematically control the functional behaviour of these elements.

Synthetic chloroplast enables light-powered CO2 fixation in artificial biological systems
Combining microfluidics and the natural photosynthetic membranes from spinach plants, researchers have developed 'synthetic chloroplasts,' which are capable of mimicking complex and life-like photosynthetic processes, a new study reports.

Read More: Artificial Light News and Artificial Light Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.