DOE SSL program offers up to $10m for manufacturing R&D projects

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has announced the availability of up to $10 million in funding for solid-state lighting (SSL) technologies. The DOE will invest in projects to accelerate manufacturing research and development related to SSL technologies – including LEDs and organic LEDs.

The DOE will select between two and four projects that together will receive up to $10 million, and will focus on achieving significant cost reductions through improvements in manufacturing equipment, processes, or monitoring techniques.

This is the third round of funding directed toward the manufacturing R&D program area. To date, the DOE manufacturing R&D program has been supported with $28.2 million in federal funding and has leveraged $36.8 million in funding from the private sector.

The DOE will accept applications through December 15, 2011. There are four topic areas of interest for this funding opportunity, including:

  • Luminaire/module manufacturing
  • Test and inspection equipment
  • OLED deposition equipment
  • OLED materials manufacturing
Selected projects will address the technical challenges that must be overcome before SSL can compete with existing lighting on a first-cost basis. However, the funding opportunity announcement says that improvements to cost-influencing metrics through the proposed approach shall not come at the expense of product performance metrics such as efficacy or color quality.

In the second round of manufacturing R&D funding, Veeco Instruments and Moser Baer were awarded $4 million and $2.9 million, respectively. Veeco is exploring the use of aluminum nitride as a buffer layer for fabricating LEDs on silicon substrates. Moser Baer is developing OLED manufacturing at its plant in Cainandaigua, NY.

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