The energy efficiency of light-emitting diodes (LEDs) is expected to equal the most efficient white light sources by 2010, according to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Washington, D.C. However, a new solid-state lighting (SSL) solution from Toronto-based Remco Solid State Lighting is striving to make this objective a reality sooner rather than later.

Spurred to action by the Blackout of 2003 and influenced by advances in LED technology, Ron Russell, Remco's chief technology officer and inventor of the company's offline 120VAC mains-operated SSL light engine, spent more than four years developing the technology and resulting LED-based streetlight. According to the company, the SSL light engine technology achieves maximum power efficiency of up to 98% using a high-voltage low-current LED array this is coupled to a proprietary thermal management system and driven by a power control system in which the LED array bootstraps its own power level. The technology reduces the power supply/driver electronics part count, enabling low-profile, fully integrated SSL luminaire designs.

“We've achieved optimal power efficiency to drive LEDs to enable optimal energy-efficient lighting efficacies to replace general lighting on a lumens-per-lumens, lux-per-lux basis,” says Mark Matthews, Remco's president and CEO.

The LED light engine is being used to drive an LED-based streetlight prototype installed at Camp Borden Military Base, located north of Toronto (See Photo). The company says the LED streetlight, which has been burning 10 hours a day, seven days a week, 30 days a month since May 10, 2007, is outperforming the existing high-pressure sodium (HPS) street lighting at the military base.

“The objective here was to replace an existing light with an LED lighting solution that provides energy savings and is a direct lighting replacement,” says Russell. “With this technology, you don't have to compromise on the brightness of the light, and that's important. Nobody wants to have a poorly lit street just to save energy.”

Field tests conducted at Camp Borden confirm a 20% energy savings at 40.1 usable lumens per watt, even taking into account the losses incurred by retrofitting the LED lighting fixture within an HPS fixture. In addition, more than 20% of the usable lumens output was absorbed by the standard HPS cobra head lens. Otherwise, 5,300 usable lumens, or 48 usable lumens per watt, would have been generated, according to Matthews.

Alex Savu, energy manager at Camp Borden who conducted the pilot field tests, verifies the findings, saying that compared to the conventional HPS streetlights, which consume 138 watts of power (100-watt HPS bulb plus the ballast that consumes an additional 38 watts), the Remco prototype consumed only 111 watts to generate 4,470 usable lumens.

“We would have to change our current units 10 times before changing on of their [Remco's] units,” Savu says. “The way we operate our lights, their units will last 27.4 years.”

Based on the success of the prototype, Remco is currently developing a commercial LED streetlight that will replace cobra heads with a goal of 50% energy savings.

“This is a significant contribution toward reducing global warming, especially for utilities, municipalities, cities, towns and regions that are demanding LED streetlighting now to reduce green house gas emissions and accumulate carbon credits,” says Matthews.

The quality of the light, near-zero maintenance, and reduced waste management costs are additional benefits of the LED streetlight technology noted by Matthews.

For more information, contact Mark Matthews at mark.matthews@rogers.com.

Product Specs

Remco cobra head retrofit luminaire with prismatic refractor

• White LEDs: 108
• Lumen output: 4,470
• Maximum candlepower: 1,380
• Mounting height: 25 ft
• Correlated color temperature: 5,577°K
• Color rendering index: 73.2