Casestudy Summary

The objective of this case study was an investigation of the eco-efficiency potential of new nanotechnological products in the lighting industry. For this purpose, white LEDs were compared to conventional light sources including the incandescent lamp and the energy-saving lamp (compact fluorescent), and the future potential of quantum dots was considered.

The case study demonstrates very clearly that energy consumption during the use phase is by far the most significant factor in the environmental assessment of light sources for lighting purposes. The current white LED compares more favorably to the classic incandescent lamp, but is at a disadvantage by a factor of three when compared to the energy-saving lamp. Only at luminous efficiency values above approx. 65 lm/W, values which were assumed for a future white LED, will they be able to compete with the energy-saving lamp with respect to environmental impact. This was confirmed by Arpad Bergh, president of the US Optoelectronics Industry Development Association (Interview by Siemens NewsDesk 2003). He makes the assumption that the luminous efficiency of the white LED must be increased to 85-100 lm/W before it will become interesting for everyday illumination purposes.

It can be assumed that the use of quantum dots in the future will make possible increases in the energy efficiency of light sources. Quantum dot technology is expected to have a firm place in display technology over the long term, particularly in combination with OLEDs. Actual application of quantum dots in commercial products, however, is still some years away.

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