NEWS IN THE WORLD OF POWER AND INTEGRATED BUILDING SYSTEMS
> THERE IS NO SHORTAGE of blustering and boasting in the
digital age, as entrepreneurs and innovators always claim to
have invented the next big thing. Elon Musk, founder and CEO
of electric-vehicle and battery pioneer Tesla, is known for
making his share of boastful claims.
Now, others are trying to outdo him. In an interview
with CNBC in March, Ellen Williams, director of the
federal Advanced Research Projects Agency—Energy
(ARPA-E), claimed that projects funded by her agency
could soon outperform Tesla batteries.
Williams credits Tesla with driving the
learning curve for the battery-storage industry
but only by producing economies of scale. She
said the company’s technology is not innovative
in the sense of “creating new ways of doing it.”
In contrast, projects funded by ARPA-E
are innovating battery technology, not just the
manufacturing process, and, in her eyes, they “have the potential
to be significantly better.”
Williams said that her agency, which is dedicated to funding
projects that transform energy markets, has helped kick-start
a dozen high-risk projects based on newer technologies that
could soon outperform Tesla batteries. She said ARPA-E
has made huge strides over the last few years on next-
generation batteries that could make electric cars and
renewable energy cheaper and more accessible.
ARPA-E was created in 2009 with a $400 million
budget, and it could soon receive a huge budget
increase. President Barack Obama’s 2017 budget
would increase the agency’s budget to $1 billion in
“With that kind of budget we can definitely
make a difference,” Williams said.
> ACCORDING TO A REPORT published
by the U.S. Department of Energy’s
(DOE) Energy Efficiency and Renewable
Energy division (EERE), “Energy Savings
Forecast of Solid-State Lighting in
General Illumination Applications,” the
DOE’s lighting market model assumes
the market adoption of light-emitting
diode (LED) lighting technology is driven
primarily by projected improvements
in LED product efficacy, price and
established technology diffusion rates.
“At the end of the analysis period,
LEDs are anticipated to dominate lighting
sales in each of the submarkets examined,
comprising 84 percent of all sales by
lumen-hours. This will dramatically
lower national energy consumption.
“Without LEDs, the model projects
that the energy consumption of
the lighting sector would grow to
approximately eight quadrillion Btu
(quads),” the report states.
LEDs’ market penetration is projected
to drive a 40 percent reduction in energy
consumption, in 2030 alone. This amount
is almost equal to the total energy
consumed by 24 million U.S. homes today.
Of the eight submarkets the report
examined, EERE’s lighting market
model anticipates LEDs
will grow most rapidly in
the “street and roadways”
and “general service”
submarkets, in terms of the
percentage of total lumen-
hour sales. In the “street
and roadways” submarket,
already a popular area
for LED upgrades, LEDs
are predicted to reach 83
percent market share of sales by 2020 and
nearly 100 percent by 2030.
“The ‘general services’ submarket will
shift to LEDs a bit more slowly, with a
projected 55 percent market share of sales
by 2020, but will almost entirely consist of
LEDs by 2030,” the report states.
While the future of solid-state
lighting (SSL) is bright, it also faces some
challenges in research and development
and in marketing. For example, cost is
still an issue. While component prices
are coming down, SSL is still a bit costly.
Other challenges relate to concerns over
lumen maintenance, color stability, flicker
and dimming performance.
In addition, “The current LED
market focuses primarily on products
that fit into the existing infrastructure
of legacy lighting products, and this
approach presents challenges related
to compatibility, interoperability and
interchangeability,” the report states.
The increased sophistication of future
lighting systems will present further
challenges, as well as opportunities,
according to the EERE.
“Tomorrow’s lighting systems have the
potential to offer added benefits related
to health and wellness, communications,
and data exchange,” the report states.
“Emerging SSL program areas of focus
include evaluating the performance needs
of advanced lighting systems, addressing
interoperability issues, and identifying
ways to optimize energy performance of
future lighting systems.”
DOE Explores Solid-State Lighting Trends
Big Talk Surrounds Battery Technology