U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

Building Technologies Office – Financial Opportunities

DOE Announces Selections for SSL Manufacturing R&D (Round 3) Funding Opportunity

The U.S. Department of Energy has announced the competitive selection of three projects for solid-state lighting (SSL), in response to the SSL Manufacturing R&D funding opportunity announcement (FOA) DE-FOA-0000561. The two-year projects will focus on achieving significant cost reductions while maintaining quality by improving manufacturing equipment, processes, or monitoring techniques. Total DOE funding for the three projects is $7.1 million and leverages an additional $5 million in private-sector funding from the three companies.

This is the third round of DOE investments in solid-state lighting manufacturing projects. These efforts are part of DOE's initiative to accelerate the adoption of SSL technology through improvements that reduce costs while maintaining product quality and performance. They will play an important role in encouraging U.S.-based manufacturing of SSL technologies—creating jobs, boosting exports, and promoting America's role as a global leader in energy efficiency.

The selections are listed below (final details are subject to negotiations):

Recipient: Cree, Inc. (Durham, NC)
Title: Low-Cost LED Luminaire for General Illumination
Summary: This project plans to develop an optimized LED fixture design for efficient manufacture that can be readily integrated into buildings and outdoor applications and uses fewer raw materials—all without compromising the performance of the light source. The project builds upon Cree's existing LED platform and has the potential to quickly reduce the cost of producing an already highly efficient LED fixture and allowing it to compete with existing fluorescent systems. The goal is to efficiently provide warm-white light over a minimum lifetime of 50,000 hours, while reducing the cost of manufacturing the major components and assembled products.

Recipient: KLA-Tencor (Milpitas, CA)
Title: High Throughput, High Precision Hot Testing Tool for HBLED Wafer Level Testing
Summary: This project plans to remove one of the major barriers to the adoption of high-efficiency LED lighting—namely, the difficulty of providing low-cost white light that has consistent color quality and brightness. Current practice is to separate LEDs according to color during the manufacturing process in order to maximize product yield. Unfortunately, this creates variation in light output and color quality of the product, leading to reduced performance and increased costs. KLA-Tencor seeks to improve the color consistency of LEDs by utilizing a measurement tool during manufacturing that reduces the variation in LED quality, improving performance and reducing cost.

Recipient: k-Space Associates (Dexter, MI)
Title: Optical Metrology for Volume OLED Manufacturing
Summary: Most monitoring of the OLED layers during the manufacturing process currently takes place after the fact, so that if problems are detected there's little or no chance to change the production inputs. This project plans to create a more efficient manufacturing process by building on KSA's existing optical monitoring technology to enable high-precision measurements of OLED layers during mass production. The tool will measure layer thickness and composition to ultimately control the efficiency, color, and lifetime of OLEDs. This development, a first for the industry, will serve as a platform for future largeā€scale OLED production facilities, paving the way for a strong U.S. presence in OLED manufacturing.