Commercialisation of Revolutionary "Daylighting" Technology Begins

Revolutionary Australian technology that "pipes" heat-free natural light anywhere in a building is to be commercialised in a partnership between Australian company Skydome Holdings Ltd and the University of Technology, Sydney, as sealed in a set of recent agreements.

The agreement between UTS and Skydome subsidiary company Fluorosolar Systems Ltd is the culmination of 15 years of research into natural light-based indoor lighting by a team led by UTS applied physicists and daylighting experts Professor Geoff Smith and Jim Franklin of the Faculty of Science.

The results of the research effort, supported from the outset by Skydome founder and Managing Director Michael Bonello, are protected by suite of patents in target markets around the world.

Professor Smith said he believed the daylighting system was as revolutionary as the filament light bulb was 125 years ago. It would provide daylight economically and efficiently to the inner core of a building envelope, a function not readily available today.

The polymer optic daylight system, which can be roof or wall mounted, collects and channels sunlight through a flexible light guide. At the other end special outlets disperse the light much like a standard electrical light fitting.

"It's the realisation of an ideal - daylight available almost anywhere it is needed, on any floor of a building, with virtually no associated heat or ultraviolet radiation," Professor Smith said.

"The system's highly efficient installation, running and maintenance costs compared to both conventional lighting systems and existing solar lighting systems, mean it also has enormous energy-saving potential worldwide."

Professor Smith said the daylighting technology could be installed easily in new and existing buildings without the need for significant structural alteration.

"The daylighting system can provide a relatively fixed intensity of light for most of the day, even under moderately cloudy conditions," he said.

The Chief Operating Officer of Fluorosolar Systems, Coskun Nalbant, said planning had begun to set up a manufacturing operation in Sydney to deliver the first product to the market in around two years.

"The potential is enormous," Mr Nalbant said. "We estimate a substantial market worldwide at a time when the western world and developing economies are under increasing pressure to limit greenhouse emissions – and this technology will have an important role to play."

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