A lightbulb with lower energy emissions, longer lifetime and lower manufacturing costs, and made with graphene — said to be the first commercially viable consumer product using the super-strong form of carbon — is poised to hit the market this year, thanks to a University of Manchester research and innovation partnership.
The bulb’s developers — a Canadian-financed company called Graphene Lighting — expect the dimmable bulb to use 10 percent less energy than conventional bulbs, last longer and be priced lower than some LEDs, at roughly $20 each. It was designed at the University of Manchester, where the revolutionary material was discovered. The University’s National Graphene Institute was opened this month.
Based on traditional light bulb design, the developers say the use of graphene allows it to conduct electricity and heat more effectively.
The discovery of graphene in 2004 by Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov, two Russian-born scientists at the University of Manchester, earned the pair the Nobel Prize for Physics and knighthoods.
Graphene — a one-atom-thick layer of graphite — is stronger than steel and has been dubbed a "wonder material" because of its potential uses, which the researchers say include everything from lighter but stronger car and aircraft frames to false teeth, tennis rackets and skis.
The UK government has invested £38m in the National Graphene Institute via the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, with an additional £23m provided by the European Regional Development Fund. More than 35 companies worldwide have already partnered with the university to develop projects.
University of Manchester researchers have asserted that graphene’s extraordinary strength and unique properties could have amazing implications for the efficiency of fuel cells and other hydrogen-based technologies.