The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded PPG Industries (NYSE:PPG) a $1.6 million grant for the development of a low-cost glass substrate to promote the commercialization and mass production of organic light-emitting diode (OLED) lighting.
OLEDs are made from organic materials that emit light when an electrical current is passed through them. As part of the DOE grant, PPG researchers will develop a coated glass substrate that is less expensive and better suited to the requirements of OLED lighting devices than existing materials, enabling less expensive OLEDs that produce more light with less energy.
Victoria M. Holt, PPG senior vice president, glass and fiber glass, said PPG was selected for its technical expertise in glass, coatings and optical products. "The ultimate goal of the DOE is to reduce costs and energy use associated with lighting in the United States," she said. "PPG will help make that possible by integrating OLED technology with compatible glass and coating technologies we already have in place."
Mehran Arbab, PPG director of research and technology, glass and fiber glass, said there are two PPG technologies well-suited to OLEDs. "Transparent conductive coatings and optical coatings are strong technology platforms for us. We use them to serve the solar, aerospace and architectural markets. This grant will enable us to refine them for more effective and affordable application to OLED lighting manufacture," he explained.
Universal Display Corp. (UDC) will work with PPG as a project subcontractor. UDC, which received a related $4 million grant for a U.S.-based OLED lighting panel pilot manufacturing facility, will build, test and help evaluate OLED devices engineered for the PPG substrate. PPG has partnered with UDC for nearly 10 years to develop and commercialize proprietary phosphorescent OLED materials.
The DOE estimates that lighting for buildings accounts for more than 20 percent of U.S. energy use. Over the next 20 years, the agency estimates that widespread adoption of LED and OLED lighting could reduce electricity demands 60 percent and prevent almost 260 metric tons of carbon emission.
Conventional incandescent lights emit only 15 lumens of light per watt of electricity. Fluorescent lights are more energy-efficient but are made with mercury, which is harmful to the environment. They also have comparably short service lives and produce light that is fundamentally different from natural daylight. Because they are made with organic materials, OLED lights are environmentally friendly, and with advanced development, they have the potential to emit four times as much light per watt as conventional incandescent bulbs.