MP pledges support for new lighting technology

Newcastle MP Nick Brown has pledged to "fight the corner" of the North East's bid to produce and manufacture the future of lighting technology.

Government chief whip Mr Brown was speaking at an event in Sedgefield, County Durham, this week where Dr Geoff Williams, of lighting giant Zumtobel, showcased the first samples of his next generation lighting technology.

The event, at Hardwick Hall Hotel, was held on the 130th anniversary of Sir Joseph Swan's demonstration of his incandescent light bulb.

Mr Brown said: "I want to play my part in ensuring that this very exciting development remains something that our region can take pride in - not just as an invention but in bringing it to the market place.

"We need to make sure that what has been developed goes on to be something that can be of real use to people in this country and across the world."

Dr Williams is leading a £3.3m project to develop a new form of lighting that is more efficient, more environmentally-friendly and more flexible in its applications than current light sources. The Thin Organic Polymeric Light Emitting Semi-conducting Surfaces (TOPLESS) Project is on the brink of small-scale prototype testing at the Printable Electronics Technology Centre, at NETPark in Sedgefield.

The motor industry and construction sector are already closely monitoring the development of the technology. It uses minimal amounts of energy by comparison with traditional lighting - using a 4 to 5 volt DC current instead of the UK standard 240V AC.

Dr Williams said: "The potential for this technology is phenomenal. It is one of the most disruptive technologies to hit our mainstream lives since mobile phones created the freedom for communication. The expertise for developing and manufacturing this technology all lies within North East England creating the potential for a major industry to develop over the coming years."

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