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Technology

The Streetlight of the Future

August 2017 - by Soraa

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Researchers at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology have recently announced their development of a new, more efficient system for “Public Illumination” –  or street lighting. According to a press release titled, “Novel LED Street Lights Reduce Costs,” when compared with traditional street lighting systems, a new LED street lighting system minimized power consumption by up to 20% — which in turn lessened costs and emissions. Unfortunately, there is no indication if this new system will be blue free at all, but the system will be more efficient, will increase service life and safety and will produce a better-looking light.

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Parallel connection of a large number of LEDs is difficult, as failure of a single diode will cause failure of the overall system or section. According to Michael Heidinger of KIT’s Light Technology Institute, the alternative of connecting LEDs in series is also associated with drawbacks, because the voltage required increases with the number of diodes used. As the legally permissible contact voltage is limited to 120 volts, only up to 40 LEDs have been connected in series so far.

Heidinger has now invented an interconnection method that compensates aging and failures of individual LEDs. This method allows to install a large number of LEDs – 144 in the prototype – on a single board and to operate the array safely. This new switching concept works with far smaller voltages. “Voltage of the prototype was 20 volts,” Heidinger says.

Moreover, the array produces less heat. “In case of a few LEDs, power loss is highly concentrated,” Heidinger says, “and has to be distributed with a high effort.” Insufficient heat distribution causes local overheating that massively affects the service life of the lamp. Heat distribution or reduction requires a high expenditure and, hence, is expensive. Such costs are reduced when using Heidinger’s new LED array.

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Sources: Novel LED Street Lights Reduce Costs | Karlsruhe Institute of Technology
Photo credit: ThinkStock 

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