News release -- Group IV Semiconductor, Inc., a developer of energy efficient, solid-state lighting technology, on August 1 announced that it received a substantial new round of investment led by Garage Technology Ventures Canada with Applied Ventures, LLC, a subsidiary of Applied Materials Inc., and with existing investors including Khosla Ventures and BDC Venture Capital. These investments will further expand Group IV's aggressive program to use its revolutionary silicon-based nanofilm technology to dramatically reduce the cost of solid-state lighting and enable its widespread global adoption.
"The race is on to create energy-efficient lighting alternatives as awareness grows of the enormous waste of energy caused by conventional technologies," said Stephen Naor, CEO of Group IV. "Our vision is to create silicon-based light engines - many times more efficient than conventional bulbs and much more economical than today's LED alternatives - to provide the world with a brighter, more sustainable future. We are delighted that Garage Canada, Applied Ventures and our existing investors share this vision and recognize this unique opportunity to transform a $12 billion market."
Group IV will also collaborate with Applied Materials to develop a low cost manufacturing process that will enable Group IV to accelerate its technology towards product commercialization and production.
Group IV's solid-state light engines use a single-chip, AC-powered, silicon-based process that can deliver dramatic cost savings relative to conventional LED technologies. Since production cost is generally considered to be the last remaining hurdle for mass adoption of solid-state lighting, Group IV projects that its unique materials system will provide a crucial competitive advantage in creating high efficiency, long-life lighting products that outperform incandescent, compact fluorescent and fluorescent lighting.
From their website:
While compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) have caught on lately with their promise of energy savings, they’re still only about 20 to 25 percent efficient.
Lamps that use solid-state lighting (SSL) technology, by comparison, can achieve efficiency levels as high as 80 percent. Unfortunately, up to now they have been too expensive to mass produce.
The goal of Group IV's silicon-based technology is to dramatically reduce the cost of solid-state lighting—overcoming the critical price barrier and enabling widespread adoption.
In solid-state lamps, semiconductors such as LEDs (light-emitting diodes) convert electricity directly into light without having to activate a gas (as in fluorescents) or heat a filament (as in incandescent bulbs). This conserves a great deal of energy. SSL lamps also last far longer than conventional lamps. But LEDs have not achieved the brightness levels people are accustomed to with conventional lights, and the compound semiconductor materials on which LEDs are based remain stubbornly expensive to manufacture.
Silicon has proved its versatility and cost-effectiveness time and again in semiconductors used for computing, mobile communications and other areas of technology. Group IV is working rapidly to put those advantages to use in a solid-state light engine that will enable the creation of lamps as bright as their conventional counterparts—and more efficient than fluorescents. These silicon-based SSL products will be designed for use with today’s standard bulb-and-socket fixtures, making them open to rapid adoption by end-users.
Where do we get all the silicon? Wide adoption must require vast amounts.