It’s estimated there are over 300 million streetlights in the world, so it’s good to see they’re constantly being improved, with CityTouch connectivity, glare reduction and even pole-less systems springing up over the last few years. Considering taxpayers are footing the bill, it pays to improve their efficiency, so a team at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) in Germany has developed an array of low-power LEDs that are more efficient, safer, cooler, and easier on the eyes.
LED streetlights are being fitted many cities across the globe as a more efficient alternative to HID lamps, but they aren’t without their own issues. Chaining the diodes together means that if one goes out, the whole circuit does, and the more there are on one connection, the higher the voltage needed to power them. With the maximum permissible contact voltage being set at 120 volts, that limits the number of connected LEDs to 40.
To overcome that, a team at KIT’s Light Technology Institute developed a method to inter-connect the LEDs that allows for the circuit to stay lit up if individual diodes fail. In doing so, many more LEDs can be installed in the array, with the KIT prototype consisting of 144, and it can run much more efficiently, at a tested 20 volts. These low-power LEDs are also cheaper to run, and although they’d need to be installed in greater numbers, they should cost about the same as existing systems.
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