Making Printable Light Sources a Reality
Artificial lighting currently accounts for 19 per cent of global electricity consumption, requiring as much electricity as is produced by all gas-fired power generation worldwide. This produces approximately 1.9 gigatons of carbon dioxide each year—that’s equal to roughly 70 per cent of the combined CO2 produced by the world’s light passenger vehicles.
Driven by mass urbanization in the developing world, global demand for lighting is expected to rise by 80 per cent by 2030. This will produce 3 gigatons of carbon dioxide annually, unless the design and implementation of efficient, low-cost lighting technologies improves substantially.
The University of British Columbia’s Dr. Zachary Hudson, Canada Research Chair in Sustainable Chemistry, aims to address this challenge. Dr. Hudson’s lab seeks to develop new materials for solid-state lighting technologies, in order to improve efficiency while reducing manufacturing costs.
Solid-state lighting based on organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) is one such promising technology. OLEDs are lightweight, flexible and can be significantly more efficient than traditional incandescent or fluorescent bulbs, but manufacturing large-area OLEDs displays and lighting panels remains prohibitively expensive.
Dr. Hudson and his team are working on designing electronic materials that can be processed by low-cost technologies such as inkjet printing. Their eventual goal is to realise the vision of efficient and affordable printed electronics.