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Graphene delivers low-power light bulb

31 Mar 2015  | Paul Buckley

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Graphene will have its first commercially viable consumer product in the form of an energy-saving light bulb. The device's developer says it will be available in the market later this year.

The dimmable light bulb, which is claimed to cut energy use by 10 per cent and lasts longer, will contain a filament-shaped LED coated in graphene. It was designed at Manchester University, where graphene was first discovered in 2004 by Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov, two Russian-born scientists who both earned the Nobel Prize for Physics and knighthoods.

The light bulb was developed by a Canadian-financed company called Graphene Lighting—one of whose directors is Professor Colin Bailey, deputy vice-chancellor at the University of Manchester.

The graphene-based product is expected to be priced lower than some LED bulbs, which can cost about $22 each. Based on traditional light bulb design, graphene enables the design to conduct electricity and heat more effectively.

Bailey told the BBC: "The graphene light bulb will use less energy. We expect it to last longer. The manufacturing costs are lower and it uses more and more sustainable components."

Graphene-based light bulb

Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne with Nobel Laureate Professor Sir Kostya Novoselov

Earlier this month Manchester University saw the U.K. Government's Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne opened The National Graphene Institute, which has received an investment of at least $56 million via the United Kingdom's Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. The European Regional Development Fund has also pumped an additional $34 million into the Institute.

The 7,825m2, five-storey building features cutting-edge facilities and equipment throughout to create a world-class research hub. The NGI's 1,500 m2 of clean room space is the largest academic space of its kind in the world for dedicated graphene research.

The NGI marks the first step in the vision to create a Graphene City in Manchester. Scheduled to open in 2017, the $88.7 million Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre (GEIC) will complement the NGI and initiate further industry-led development in graphene applications with academic collaboration.

In 2014, Chancellor Osborne announced the creation of the $347 million Sir Henry Royce Institute for Advanced Materials at The University of Manchester with satellite centres in Sheffield, Leeds, Cambridge, Oxford and London.

Manchester University has so far partnered more than 35 companies worldwide to develop graphene-based projects.

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