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Environmental Protection & Preservation

Revolutionary Design to Build a Better Light Bulb

A worldwide quest to build a better light bulb took a big leap forward with the announcement that a new Canadian technology is under development. This innovation could lead to a light bulb that uses 90 per cent less energy than traditional incandescent light bulbs, and lasts 20 years, Group IV Semiconductor Inc. (Group IV), EnCana Corporation and Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) announced today.

Group IV's unique approach is to pass an electrical current through silicon in order to produce light. Because almost all of the energy is converted to light instead of heat, Group IV's solution is designed to consume one tenth the energy and last years longer than traditional light bulbs. Solid-state lighting technologies like this use semiconductors to produce light instead of gases (fluorescent) or filaments (incandescent).

"Solid-state lighting is gathering momentum as a means to reduce the world's energy consumption", said Stephen Naor, CEO of Group IV. "Our vision from the very beginning has been to introduce light bulbs priced for mass adoption that are compatible with existing fixtures. Group IV's goal is to revolutionize the $12 billion global lighting market."

The Group IV - EnCana - SDTC Solid State Lighting Project is a three year, $9.1 million initiative being led by Group IV. Along with its partners, Group IV plans to further develop the technology and demonstrate its application in commercially viable lighting products. SDTC has confirmed $2.1 million of funding for the project. EnCana has confirmed $2.5 million, while Group IV has leveraged the remaining $4.5 million from other sources, including McMaster University.

"Canada's new Government is proud to support research that makes Canada the first country in the world to develop a light bulb that uses 90-percent less energy and will last 20 years," said the Honourable Gary Lunn, Minister of Natural Resources. "When this technology hits the market, it will have real and tangible benefits for Canadians and for the environment."

"Group IV is an example of Canada's extensive clean-technology expertise which helps the country claim a global leadership position in this area," said Vicky J. Sharpe, president and CEO, SDTC. "By helping Canadian companies overcome hurdles in the pre-commercial phase, SDTC plays an important role in increasing the likelihood that our companies' innovations succeed, thus offering better choices in the reshaping of our economy. In this way, the investment is as much economic as it is environmental."

"EnCana is pleased to provide financial support for this project through our Environmental Innovation Fund. This project supports our commitment to innovation and leadership in cleaner and more efficient energy technologies," said Gerry Protti, Executive Vice-President, Corporate Relations, EnCana Corporation. "With over 20 per cent of electricity use in North America coming from natural gas and oil, EnCana recognizes the need for efficient lighting technology and the value it adds to the life cycle of our own products."

Potential benefits of the technology include:
  • Mass adoption could lead to electricity savings equivalent to almost twice the electricity used annually by Toronto homes.
  • A longer lasting bulb - potentially 50,000 hours. The typical life of an incandescent bulb is 1,000 hours; for compact fluorescents it is 5,000 hours.
  • Excellent quality of white light.
  • Can be used with existing light fixtures.
  • Not hot to the touch like traditional incandescent or halogen bulbs - useful in situations such as display cases and freezers where heat is a concern.
  • Lower manufacturing costs than other solid state solutions due to use of silicon.

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