Three students from Sacred Heart Secondary School in Clonakilty have won first prize at the 7th International Environment and Sustainability Project Olympiad (INESPO) held in Amsterdam on May 31 – June 5, 2015. The awards were contested by over 300 students from 47 countries. Ellen Fitzgerald, Aoife Dolan and Niamh Nyan’s winning project on a "Non-Integrated LED Bulb" proposed an environmentally friendly and cost effective LED streetlight bulb that can be fitted directly into existing streetlight fixtures. The students estimate that their solution would not only provide an 80% saving on cost per annum but also close to 50% reduction in annual carbon footprint.
CIT’s Centre for Advanced Photonics & Process Analysis (CAPPA) were delighted to offer the team technical assistance with their product development and prototype characterisation. According to CAPPA researcher, Dr. Miłosz Przyjalgowski; "The student team set out to design a cost effective LED light bulb that can be integrated into existing types of luminaire. These will provide not only lower running and maintenance costs, but also dramatically reduce the initial installation bill. At CAPPA, we were happy to assist them with their measurements of light intensity distribution patterns and energy consumption, which they carried out in our labs here in CIT. We also helped them with the fabrication of their second generation prototype using our 3D printing facilities".
Currently, in Ireland the energy costs for street lighting are around €40M a year. Most of the ~400,000 streetlights use either sodium or metal halide lamps. These suffer from several weaknesses, such as long warm-up times (several minutes), high running costs and relatively short lifetimes. LED based lamps overcome these drawbacks, but models currently available on the market require changing the entire light fixture assembly. As such, the initial installation costs can be prohibitive. The design developed by the Sacred Heart students overcomes this barrier.
Dr. Liam Lewis, CAPPA Centre Manager, said: "The standard of the students’ project was at a very high level. We congratulate them on their achievement, and are delighted that CAPPA was able to offer them assistance. Their idea is very practical, has a straightforward application, and will make a large difference both to the environment and the economy".