A Lighting Revolution: Dr. Gary Allen at TEDxCLE


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Gary has been developing novel, energy-efficient light sources as a physicist with GE Lighting for 25 years. In his current role as Principal Engineer on the LED Innovation Team, he and a talented team of engineers and scientists at their 100-year old headquarters in Cleveland’s NELA Park are helping to forge a Lighting Revolution with new LED lighting products and technologies. With over 40 issued US Patents, his recent contributions include the world’s first Energy Star certified LED replacement for the traditional incandescent light bulb, and a line of no-glare LED PAR lamps that can replace halogen reflector lamps, both products providing ~80% lower energy consumption. His earlier work in Lighting touched every one of the company’s traditional lighting technologies, including Incandescent, Halogen, Automotive, Fluorescent, and High Intensity Discharge. He’s active in teaching and mentoring his colleagues, and in community service.
At Pennsylvania State University, he obtained a BS in Engineering Science; and a BS and MS in Nuclear Engineering. In 1981, he obtained a PhD in Astrophysical Sciences, Plasma Physics Division, at Princeton University. His career began with R&D in Nuclear Fusion for 5 years in the Particle Beam Fusion department at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque; followed by 2 years in the research labs of GTE Sylvania Lighting in Boston.
While fusion still promises to provide the world with limitless, relatively benign power, as the timeline to its commercialization stretched to 2050 or beyond, Gary shifted his career from the supply side of the global energy challenge to the demand side, where energy-efficient lighting is providing immediate and very cost-effective solutions to our global energy and eco challenges. The significant eco contribution of the rapidly unfolding LED Lighting Revolution, and Cleveland’s unique heritage and promising future in it, are the themes of his TED talk.
In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)

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  • 00:10 Why talk about Lighting? It’s not one of the 3 basic needs for human life – food, shelter, and clothing. It’s not included in Maslow's hierarchy of needs, from the most basic to the sublime, it doesn’t make that supposedly complete list of human needs! Why not? It’s because Light is SO fundamental that it supersedes lists like this. It’s like air, and water, and the earth itself. If we take light away, the list itself goes away.
  • 01:10 … a sudden or momentous change in a situation (the FreeDictionary.com). But that wouldn’t be the last lighting revolution.
  • 01:15 Fire was all we had for the next ¼ million years – in the form of torches, oil lamps, candles, and gas lamps.
  • 01:30 Then, in 1879 Edison provided the first practical electric light bulb. Incandescent lighting was the 2nd of our 4 fundamental light sources. That lighting revolution was a sudden and momentous improvement in the convenience of lighting – now you just throw a switch!01:45 That bulb also ushered in the use of electricity itself into our homes and commerce,leading to all the electrical appliances and gadgets that we have today. THAT was a revolution. Not just in lighting. It basically created what we know as the modern era. It was a big deal!
  • 02:00 The progression of lighting technologies and products from Edison’s first light bulb has been steady and pervasive – really an evolution, not a revolution. Now, in 2/3 of the world, but sadly not the entire world, we have all the light we can use, and even enough to waste!
  • 02:25 To understand the lighting revolution that’s unfolding today, let’s look at that evolution over the past 133 years. One of the ways we measure our progress in lighting is by the efficiency of a light source. It’s defined as the amount of light, measured in lumens, generated by each watt of electrical power. Lumens per watt, or LPW.
  • 02:40 A plot of the lumens per watt of the incandescent bulb looks like this from Edison’s time to ours. There were sudden jumps then long periods of gradual improvement.02:50 Incandescent technology improved from 1 LPW to 30 LPW over a period of about 100 years.
  • 02:55 The shape of this plot resembles the progress of many human technologies over time – it grows slowly at first as we learn to improve it; then more rapidly as it becomes mainstream; then it levels off, usually due to some limitation of the technology.
  • This shape is sometimes called an S-curve.
  • 03:15 When a technology runs out of steam, it’s vulnerable to better technologies.03:20 In 1938, as INC efficiency was leveling off, the first fluorescent lamp was developed by GE. That launched the 3rd fundamental form of lighting technology. It’s known as discharge lighting. It’s literally lightning in a bottle, but enclosed, controlled, and optimized for light production.
  • 03:50 Discharge lighting includes fluorescent, compact fluorescent, and some very bright lights that we call high intensity discharge that include metal halide and high pressure sodium lamps.04:00 This 3rd lighting technology, discharge, produces so much light, so efficiently and inexpensively, that we have virtually lit the whole world with it. 90% of all artificial light is now produced with discharge lamps.
  • 04:10 Now that we’re back to the present, I want to acknowledge Cleveland’s role in all of this. Although the first wave of lighting technology, fire, probably wasn’t invented here in Cleveland, much of the technology of the 2nd and 3rd waves of lighting technology were either invented, or first developed, right here in Cleveland – at GE Lighting’s global headquarters, called Nela Park. You might know the place, where the beautiful Christmas lights are displayed every year on Noble Road in East Cleveland.04:30 In fact, we’re celebrating the 100th anniversary of Nela Park next month. When it was built in 1913, it was the first industrial park in the world, and it’s now listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.
  • 04:40 That fluorescent light bulb that launched the 3rd wave of lighting technology was developed at Nela Park in 1938, and then demonstrated at the New York World’s Fair in 1939. 04:50 Then in 1959, the world’s first halogen lamp was invented at Nela Park. Then in 1960, the world’s first metal halide lamp was invented at Nela Park – that’s the type of bulb used in almost every stadium, gas station and parking lot in the world, and in many other outdoor applications. Then in 1976, the world’s first compact fluorescent bulb was invented at Nela Park – it now rests in the Smithsonian Institution.05:20 These were the developments that attracted me into the lighting industry, and to Cleveland in the 1980’s. When others may have been leaving Cleveland, this exciting technology attracted us to come here, raise our family, and stay here. I’m an eco geek, as my family can testify – we always had the weirdest light bulbs in our house as our kids were growing up. We have a hybrid car, our house is too cold in the winter, and we compost or recycle nearly everything.
  • 05:45 In the first 10 years of my career, prior to lighting, I did research in the development of nuclear fusion as a potentially clean and limitless energy supply. When I entered the PhD program in fusion research, the promise of fusion power was 20 years away.
  • 06:00 Now, 40 years later, fusion power is 50 years away; and while I’m still an enthusiastic fan for fusion (and they’re making great progress), I wanted to see my work have a direct impact in my lifetime. 06:10 So, I switched from the supply side of our energy challenges to the demand side. Working in lighting, we’re making immediate and significant improvements to global energy usage and greenhouse gas emissions.
  • 06:35 But, that efficiency S-curve for discharge lamps that attracted me into the lighting industry has a fatal flaw. It’s saturating far short of where we were hoping we could take it.
  • 06:45 So, it’s vulnerable to a new and better technology – the 4th one – Solid State Lighting, or SSL. Most of today’s SSL technology is what we call LED (Light Emitting Diode). In the wings, OLEDs and Laser Diodes are also emerging as viable SSL technologies, but today I’ll focus on LEDs.
  • 06:55 That 4th technology, too, was first invented at GE in 1962, not here at Nela Park, but in our research labs in Syracuse, NY, where Nick Holonyak created the first ever visible LED, shown here from a celebration last year of the 50th anniversary of his invention.
  • 07:10 So, why do we think this 4th type of lighting is going to be such a big deal? Simply because we can finally produce light directly from electricity. You see, in each of the 1st 3 lighting technologies, light was produced as a by-product of heat. 07:25 First, we made fire, and the heat from the fire produced a little bit of light. We realized that if we could make the fire hotter, we could get more light out of it. So Edison found ways to heat metal wires inside vacuum tubes – that was incandescent light.
  • 07:35 Over the decades, we found how to get the wires hotter and hotter – up to about 3000K without burning out.
  • 07:40 That’s about twice as hot as a typical fire. But, no metal can tolerate temperatures higher than that, so to go hotter we vaporized metals to form luminous gases inside of vacuum tubes. That’s what we call discharge lamps. That doubled the temperature again to about 6000K, or about 10,000 degrees F. 07:55 Discharge lamps are as hot and as bright as the surface of the sun, and they can convert heat to light even more efficiently than the sun does. But, we’re near the limit in how efficient we can make discharge lamps. 08:05 That’s where solid state lighting provides a breakthrough. For the first time in our history, we’re producing light directly from electricity without the need to heat anything up. As LED efficiency approaches the theoretical maximum, only a little bit of heat will result when we produce light.
  • 08:15 Let me show you how LED does that. Look inside an LED light bulb to find the LEDs themselves, and pull out one of those LEDs. In the center, there’s about a 1 mm square area that emits the light. Looking at the light emitter from the side view it looks like a layer cake.
  • 08:25 Two of the upper layers are charged with negative electrons and molecules with holes in them – i.e., missing an electron. The electrons are pushed into the holes by the applied voltage. When an electron falls into a hole, the energy of the electron is emitted as light.08:35 By using different materials, the color of the light can be varied.08:45 We can make all colors from violet to red, and also into the ultraviolet and infrared. We can mix colors to get white. But, because today’s blue LEDs are more efficient than the other colors, the best way to make white right now is to convert the blue light to white by using phosphors (demo blue light engine with remote phosphor).
  • 09:00 So, back to that Discharge S-curve, saturating lower than we had hoped. Look at the S-curve that’s evolving for LED lighting! Sudden and momentous – An explosive Lighting Revolution. 09:10 LEDs have become so efficient that they can easilybe powered bysolar cells and batteries. This is enabling that other 1/3 of the world to start having access to light at night.09:15 This S curve is as steep as a Cedar Point roller coaster. By the time this coaster reaches the top of the ride, we’ll be nearly at the theoretical maximum efficiency of about 350 LPW. That’s where every watt of electricityprovided to the light source is emitted as light, with absolutely no heat or other losses. The efficiency ride that I hopped onto in the 80’s will be over, and I will have had my fun.
  • 09:30 But before this efficiency ride is over, let me show you what a big deal this is. Edison’s light bulb wasted 99% of the electricity as heat. With all the progress we’ve made over the past 133 years, our best discharge lamps still waste 2/3 of the electricity as heat, with only 1/3 conversion to light. LED technology should eventuallyget us to about 80% efficiency, with only 20% of the energy wasted. What will it mean in terms of global energy needs as we further reduce the losses in lighting from about 66% to about 20%?
  • 09:50 Consider all the power used in the world. Add up all the electricity AND all fuels for transportation, heating, manufacturing, agriculture, and everything else. Lighting today consumes 8% of all the world’s power.10:00 Over the next 10-20 years, as LED efficiency increases, AND as we develop smart controls so that the LEDlights are on only when and where we need them, that 8% will fall to about 2%. We will have nearly eliminated the global energy load to provide light.
  • 10:20 In a very telling comparison, the amount of energy saved by the adoption of LEDs over the next 25 years …
  • 10:25 … is about the same amount of energy as will be delivered from ALL renewable sources of energy – that’s a big deal!
  • 10:30 It’s such a big deal for energy savings and for climate change, that McKinsey’s 2011 report titled “Lighting the Way”, stated that “Switching to LED lighting is more attractive than any other means of CO2 abatement.” That means more effective than solar, wind, hybrid vehicles, reforestation, you name it. We should be moving as rapidly as possible to adopt LED lighting everywhere that it makes sense. If you’re interested, please talk with us about how to do that.10:55 We’d call this a Lighting Revolution, even if only for this radical improvement in efficiency. But, LEDs are revolutionizing virtually every other aspect of lighting, too. That’s because an LED, is very similar to a computer chip. It’s made from the same materials and is manufactured in the same way as transistors and integrated ckts. You’ve seen what small, cheap, enormously capable integrated circuits have done for computers and mobile phones. All of the same breakthrough capabilities that solid state technology enabled in those products are now unfolding in SS Lighting.
  • 11:25 Here’s a Top 10 list of the breakthrough capabilities that are being enabled by this solid state lighting revolution. The first 5 on the list are already here & the last 5 are developing rapidly. At the end of the list, there will be a quiz.
  • 11:45 #10 – Long life LEDs typically last for decades, not just months or years. Put them in places where you don’t want to have to change them.
  • 11:50 #9 – miniaturization LEDs are the tiniest light sources. They can vanish into fixtures, into furniture, into clothing. Where do you want to hide them?
  • 12:00 #8 – precise control Because they’re tiniest light sources, we can aim them precisely to put light exactly and only where it’s needed. Notice, in this photo, there’s no light pollution into the neighborhood or out into space. But the area is very evenly lit. Only LED can do that.
  • 12:10 #7 – efficiency This year, LED is overtaking Fluorescent as the most efficient indoor lighting, and then it’ll go on to more than double its efficiency beyond that. Where do you want to save money on electricity, or reduce your eco footprint?
  • 12:20 #6 – color You want better quality of light than CFLs? You want all the shades of white, maybe even to simulate the natural colors of nature? You want every color in the rainbow? Do you want to personalize your spaces with uniquely tailored spectral and spatial patterns of light? Much of that capability is here now, and the rest is coming very soon.
  • 12:35 I know, we hear it every day that no one wants to spend $20 or $40 for one LED light bulb even though each bulb will save about $100 in electricity over the next few years. I hear it, but I don’t understand it. It’s a better investment than almost any stock you can buy. And it’s getting better fast.12:45 Look at this curve! Not an S-curve, this is a straight line into the bargain basement. The cost of LEDs have been coming down 10-fold every 10 years for almost 50 years now. In 1972 you could have built an LED light bulb for about $60,000. 13:00 Now, the US Department of Energy projects that a typical LED light bulb will cost about the same as CFL light bulbs in just 3-5 more years. But the LED bulb will about twice as efficient, and last at least twice as long. The LED will have no mercury, and should have better color quality. And …
  • 13:10 #4 … and, your LED light bulbs will be controllable. Turn them on and off, dim them, change the colors, create a light show if you want to. But …
  • 13:20 But #3 they won’t just be controllable the way you’re using remote controls today. The light bulbs themselves will become as smart as your smart phone is today. Probably even smarter. As suggested in these photos, all taken in the same kitchen, the LED lighting system will recognize who’s in the room and what they’re doing. It’ll know what color of light you want, how bright you want it, and where you want it. It’ll turn itself off when you leave, and back on when you return.And …
  • 13:50 … and #2 Your light bulbs and fixtures will be talking amongst themselves, and with all the other wireless gadgets in your home. We’re doing that in our labs now. They’ll even talk with you, if you’d like. You’ll begin to use LED lighting the way you use other computerized gadgets. Because they will be computerized gadgets. Talking amongst themselves, lights along the sidewalk, in the parking lot, and in the store, will see you coming and tell the other lights to turn on or throw some light in your direction. As a communication device, every LED in your home or workplace or in public, will potentially be able to connect you through the internet to every other connected object in the world. Illumination will become communication.
  • 14:35 And the #1 breakthrough capability enabled by this solid state lighting revolution is … A quiz – I warned you!
  • 13:50 … and #2 Your light bulbs and fixtures will be talking amongst themselves, and with all the other wireless gadgets in your home. We’re doing that in our labs now. They’ll even talk with you, if you’d like. You’ll begin to use LED lighting the way you use other computerized gadgets. Because they will be computerized gadgets. Talking amongst themselves, lights along the sidewalk, in the parking lot, and in the store, will see you coming and tell the other lights to turn on or throw some light in your direction. As a communication device, every LED in your home or workplace or in public, will potentially be able to connect you through the internet to every other connected object in the world. Illumination will become communication.
  • A Lighting Revolution: Dr. Gary Allen at TEDxCLE

    1. 1. Maslow’s Hierarchy of NeedsFoodShelterClothingSelf-actualizationEsteemLove/BelongingSafetyPhysiological
    2. 2. The Origin of “Light”
    3. 3. http://www.thefreedictionary.com/revolution…is a sudden or momentouschange in a situation
    4. 4. Photo Credit: flickr - redgoober4lifePhoto Credit: flickr - mrhayataPhoto Credit: flickr - kkalyanPhoto Credit: flickr - comedynose
    5. 5. World’s First Light Bulb
    6. 6. Lighting Evolution
    7. 7. Lighting Efficiency
    8. 8. The Incandescent “S” Curve0005010015020025030035040LumensPerWattIncandescent LPW
    9. 9. The Incandescent “S” Curve0005010015020025030035040LumensPerWattIncandescent LPW
    10. 10. The Incandescent “S” Curve0005010015020025030035040LumensPerWattIncandescent LPW
    11. 11. The Incandescent “S” Curve0005010015020025030035040LumensPerWattIncandescent LPW
    12. 12. The Incandescent “S” Curve0005010015020025030035040LumensPerWattIncandescent LPW
    13. 13. 020406080100120140LumensPerWattThe Incandescent “S” CurveDischarge LPWIncandescent LPW
    14. 14. Taken by flickr user naurighthttp://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f.ff.Rockefeller_Center_Pano.jpghttp://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/1/7/Bridge_in_Cleveland_Ohio.jpgTaken by flickr user munger1989
    15. 15. Facebook.com/GELightingGE Lighting
    16. 16. Major Inventions from Nela ParkEugene Lemmers, Williard Roberts,Richard Thayer and George InmanFluorescent Lamp - 1938Fred Mosby Elmer Fridrich Ed ZublerHalogen Lamp - 1959Gilbert ReilingMetal Halide Lamp - 1960 Helical CFL Lamp - 1976Ed Hammer
    17. 17. 40 Years Later…
    18. 18. …fusion power is 50 years away…40 Years Later…
    19. 19. 020406080100120140LumensPerWattThe Discharge “S” CurveDischarge LPWIncandescent LPW
    20. 20. The “Magic” One
    21. 21. Making Light from HeatDischargeIncandescentFire6000°C3000°C1500°CThermalSources
    22. 22. “Hot” Wires
    23. 23. DischargeIncandescentFire6000°C3000°C1500°CThermalSourcesSolid StateMaking Light without HeatNo Heat Needed
    24. 24. Light Emitting Diode (LED)1 mmn-layerp-layerTop contactback contact1 mm
    25. 25. Light Emitting Diode (LED)n-typep-type- - -+ + +-+-+---n-layerp-layerTop contactback contact1 mmp layern layer
    26. 26. 050100150200250300350LumensPerWattReturn of the “S” CurveIncandescent LPWDischarge LPWLED LPW
    27. 27. 050100150200250300350LumensPerWattReturn of the “S” Curve
    28. 28. 0%1%2%3%4%5%6%7%8%9%2010 2015 2020 2025 2030 2035Energy USED for LightingU.S. Energy Information Administration - 2011 International Energy OutlookGlobal Energy Usage for Lighting
    29. 29. 0%1%2%3%4%5%6%7%8%9%2010 2015 2020 2025 2030 2035Energy SAVED by LightingU.S. Energy Information Administration - 2011 International Energy OutlookGlobal Energy Savings for Lighting
    30. 30. 0%1%2%3%4%5%6%7%8%9%2010 2015 2020 2025 2030 2035Energy SAVED by LightingEnergy Delivered from RenewablesU.S. Energy Information Administration - 2011 International Energy OutlookLED Savings vs. all Renewable Energy
    31. 31. McKinsey & Company - Lighting the Way, 2011Time to Switch?Switching to LED Lighting is economically moreattractive than any other means of CO2 abatement,but not yet in focusCO2 abatement, in Vehiclesand Solar comes at a cost……while LED offers CO2 savingsand still remains TCO-PositiveCO2 reductionleverReduces CO2/kmemission of vehiclesIntroduce solarpower systemsSwitch IncandescentLighting to LED LightingCost per ton ofCO2 abatementin EUR/ton CO2~ -1901 ~ -80 ~ +1402
    32. 32. …that are being enabled by thisSolid State Lighting Revolution
    33. 33. Top 10 Elements of the SSL Lighting Revolution10. Long Life
    34. 34. Top 10 Elements of the SSL Lighting Revolution10.9.Long LifeMiniaturization
    35. 35. Top 10 Elements of the SSL Lighting Revolution10.9.8.Long LifeMiniaturizationLight Control
    36. 36. Top 10 Elements of the SSL Lighting Revolution10.9.8.7.Long LifeMiniaturizationLight ControlEfficiency
    37. 37. Top 10 Elements of the SSL Lighting Revolution10. LifeMiniaturizationLight ControlEfficiencyColor – Any!
    38. 38. Color
    39. 39. Top 10 Elements of the SSL Lighting Revolution10. LifeMiniaturizationLight ControlEfficiencyColorLow Cost$1$10$100$1,000$10,000$100,000$60,000 per lightbulb in 1972!10x lowerevery 10 yearsCost of LEDs in a light bulbTotal price of anLED light bulbPrice ofCFL bulb
    40. 40. Top 10 Elements of the SSL Lighting Revolution10. LifeMiniaturizationLight ControlEfficiencyColorLow CostControllableIstock
    41. 41. Top 10 Elements of the SSL Lighting Revolution10. LifeMiniaturizationLight ControlEfficiencyColorLow CostControllableSmart,ConnectedIstock
    42. 42. Top 10 Elements of the SSL Lighting Revolution10. LifeMiniaturizationLight ControlEfficiencyColorLow CostControllableSmartIllumination becomes CommunicationIstock
    43. 43. Top 10 Elements of the SSL Lighting Revolution10. LifeMiniaturizationLight ControlEfficiencyColorLow CostControllableSmartIllumination becomes CommunicationWhat’s your Killer App?
    44. 44. The Future of Lighting