This post was written by Keith Dawson for UBM Tech’s community Web site All LED Lighting, sponsored by Philips Lumileds. It is archived here for informational purposes only because the All LED Lighting site may go dark at any time. This material is Copyright 2013-2015 by UBM Americas.

2014-09-09

Tuesday Roundup: The Vanishing Dark

This week: Lumenpulse growing in Boston, disappearing darkness in Arizona, and lenses that collimate COB sources.

‣‣ Fraen's nested TIR lenses
A year ago we briefly surveyed the growing interest in chip-on-board packaging for LEDs, and the trend then apparent for LED makers to introduce COB arrays with smaller light-emitting surfaces. Now, an inherent problem with a COB source is that it is difficult to produce a narrow or collimated beam from it. A smaller LES helps this problem but does not solve it. Now optical expert Fraen Corporation has introduced a lens technology featuring multiple nested layers of total-internal-reflection (TIR) elements that the company says are capable of collimating a COB source into a tight beam with high punch in the center. The multi-TIR lenses have less optical height, and therefore less weight, than traditional optics solutions that don't produce as tight a beam. Fraen is sampling this technology now.


Fraen's multi-TIR nested lens technology

‣‣ Utility wants to raise rates to offset energy savings
Last December we looked at a public utility in New Hampshire that was taking actions to discourage an upgrade to LED street lights, because more efficient lighting would eat into its revenue stream. Now a utility company in Wisconsin is proposing to raise their rates to offset declining revenues caused by efficiency measures and renewable energy solutions. Environmentalists are mounting a fight against the rate increase, which they say could stifle the growth of renewable energy in the area. Opponents point out the irony of Wisconsin Public Service Corp. justifying a price hike because, in part, the energy-saving appliances and renewable energy systems that WSP has been promoting are actually reducing energy usage.

‣‣ Lumenpulse to triple headcount in Boston
The Canadian company, which went public on the Toronto Stock Exchange last spring, had located its product development and sales and marketing teams in Boston. From a staff of 25 currently, Lumenpulse expects to grow to 75 by 2018. The firm has plans to move to larger quarters in Boston. Lumenpulse aims its products at lighting designers and architects who need LED lighting technology to create particular lighting environments. We have covered their work for MIT and the New England Aquarium.

‣‣ Disappearing darkness
We humans seem to like brightness at night, even if it is not good for us or for the environment. For some time we have been discussing the ill effects of bright night-time lighting in cities -- for example see Banishing the Night and Turn Out the Lights — Including LEDs. Author Megan Finnerty has a long-form piece in The Arizona Republic about the endangered darkness in that state, which more than most depends on dark skies to support major astronomical observatories. "Scientists estimate that in about 10 years, America will have only three dark patches of land where people will be able to clearly see the Milky Way," Finnerty writes. The light from Phoenix and environs spills out in all directions for 200 miles.

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