Light wallpaper may replace bulbs

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New "light emitting wallpaper" could be developed to replace traditional light bulbs and cut carbon emissions from lighting in the next few years, it has been claimed. A Welsh company developing the technology, which uses an electrical current to stimulate chemicals to produce light, has been awarded a £454,000 grant from the Carbon Trust to help get it into homes, business and on the roads.

The organic light emitting diodes (OLED) technology, which can be coated onto a thin flexible film to cover walls like wallpaper, can also be used for flat screen televisions, computers and mobile phone displays.

Because it needs a very low operating voltage - of just three to five volts - it can be powered by solar panels or batteries, so it can be used outside to light road signs and barriers without the need for mains electricity.

Ken Lacey, chief executive of LOMOX Ltd, which is attempting to bring the technology to market, said the company hoped to make it available to lighting and screen producers by 2012, with outdoor applications leading the way.

To meet increasingly stringent EU efficiency standards for lighting there was a need to develop lower carbon lights, he said.

The technology is expected to be 2.5 times more efficient than current energy-saving light bulbs, and could also be used to lower the energy use of television screens.

Organic LEDs have been around for some time but have not been developed because of the costs involved and concerns over the operating lifetime of the systems.

But Mr Lacey said his company had developed chemicals which they believe can overcome those problems and allow low-energy devices to be developed which could replace existing technology.

He said: "This is a chemical that in a flat panel display screen you can put it in the device and it emits light. In a light you can put it anywhere. You can paint it on a wall or wallpaper.

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