In March, U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden and U.S. Secretary of Energy Dr. Steven Chu visited LED maker Cree, Inc.’s Durham, N.C. headquarters to praise the company’s products and success while discussing the current administrations continued efforts to help industry and create jobs.
“I am not implying the government did anything. Cree did this,” Biden said, “but through the Recovery Act, we’re encouraging companies like Cree … We’re rewarding them for manufacturing the components of a new green economy and manufacturing them here – not by buying components parts overseas, but manufacturing those parts right here in the United States.”
Cree is receiving $39 million in federal tax credits as part of the Recovery Act Advanced Energy Manufacturing program and has earned approximately $18 million in Department of Energy research investments and grants. While the Vice President recognized that Cree’s innovation and efforts were the primary drivers of success for the company, he believed the tax credits and grants did help.
“The ongoing support from the Obama administration is important as we promote the value of energy efficiency and sustainability in today’s economy,” said Cree CEO and Chairman Chuck Swoboda. “Cree is creating American clean-tech jobs right now, as we continue to lead the LED lighting revolution.”
Praise for Cree, New Jobs
Secretary Chu also praised Cree. The company has made several important advances in LED technology, including pioneering new, blue LED technology more than seven years ago. Cree’s blue technology paved the way for vastly improved white-light LEDs.
“Cree is an American success story,” Chu said. “Cree has added 375 jobs in North Carolina since early 2009. Now some people think our economy might be based on white-collar jobs such as financial services and service jobs, but I believe that making stuff is still part of wealth creation.
“There is no reason why America should cede [the] manufacturing of high-quality products to any country in the world,” Chu said. “One of the biggest opportunities will be in the manufacturing of devices that use clean energy production and energy efficient products from airplanes to automobiles and from buildings to light bulbs.”
Visit Followed New Product Announcements
Biden and Chu’s visit to Cree came just two days after the company had announced the extension of its energy-efficient neutral and warm white-light LEDs. The XLamp XP-G, 3,000k warm light LED emits as many as 114 lumens and 109 lumens per watt at 350 mA. The 4,000K, neutral-light XLamp XP-G emits up to 139 lumens and 132 lumens per watt at 350 mA.
New LEDs like the Cree XLamp XP-Gs should help LED technology earn a greater percentage of the general lighting market. According to the company, the XLamp XP-G LEDs enable luminaire and light solutions that exceed current U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Energy Star requirements.
LED Inventor Dr. Nick Holonyak Recognized
Secretary Chu also took a moment to recognize the “father of the light-emitting diode,” Dr. Nick Holonyak, Jr.
Holonyak invented the first practical visible-light LED in 1962 at General Electric’s laboratory in Syracuse, N.Y. Holonyak’s peers were, for the most part, researching infrared wavelength emission, but Holonyak had a different aim.
“I wanted to work in the visible light spectrum where the human eye sees,” Holonyak told the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2004, when the school awarded him the $500,000 Lemelson-MIT Prize for Invention for his foundational LED work.
Holonyak, an American, invented the LED, Secretary Chu said, “but today, the vast majority of LEDs are made in Asia. No other lighting technology holds as much potential as LEDs. …By 2020, this type of lighting could reduce America’s [lighting energy use] by one third.”
About the Author
Armando Roggio is a technology and marketing professional with over a decade of experience in the electronics industry. Armando has written frequently about the lighting industry and is currently participating in an ongoing lighting research and publication project focused on LEDs. Armando has served in key roles at Micron Technology, worked as a consultant for Aptina Imaging, and consults with two startups.
Powered By Electronic Products Editorial Consortium
Discover the benefits of becoming a My Digi-Key registered user.
• Enjoy faster, easier ordering with your information preloaded.
• View your order status, web order history
• Use our BOM Manager tool
• Import a text file into a RoHS query