have sat down with a calculator and worked out that if the world plus dog adopts some of the new developments in photonics and solid state lighting, trillions could be saved in electricity bills.
The pair, Schubert and Jong Kyu Kim, from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, have released a report this week claiming that innovations in solid state lighting will lead to trillions of dollars in cost savings, along with a huge reduction in the amount of energy required to light homes and businesses.
A new generation of lighting devices based on light-emitting diodes (LEDs) will supplant the common light bulb in coming years, the paper said. Not only do LEDs lead to environmental and cost benefits, the technology is expected to enable a wide range of advances in areas as diverse as healthcare, transportation systems, digital displays, and computer networking.
Schubert and Jong said that what the transistor meant to the development of electronics, the LED means to the field of photonics. They said that it will revolutionize how we use light.
The paper, with the catchy title, "Transcending the replacement paradigm of solid-state lighting," is expected to appear in the bumper Christmas issue of much loved journal Optics Express. Boffins say they can control every aspect of light generated by LEDs, allowing the light sources to be tweaked for nearly any situation. LEDs require 20 times less power than today's conventional light bulbs, and five times less power than "green" compact fluorescent bulbs.
If all of the world's light bulbs were replaced with LEDs for a period of 10 years, it would save $1.83 trillion, carbon dioxide emissions would be reduced by 10.68 gigatons, crude oil consumption would be reduced by 962 million barrels, the number of required global power plants would be reduced by 280 and the Palestinians and Israelis will start getting on (we made the last one up).