Glowing wallpaper could replace lamps for lighting homes and offices,
according to the government-backed Carbon Trust.
The trust has given a £454,000 grant to Lomox, a Welsh start-up
company, to accelerate the development of its "light emitting wallpaper".
The material, which uses organic light emitting diode or OLED technology,
runs on very low voltages and is twice as efficient as today's energysaving
It could reach the market as soon as 2012, said Ken Lacey, chief executive
of Lomox. Other companies are investigating OLED technology, either for
flat displays or for room lighting but have not succeeded commercially
because of high costs and short operating lifetimes.
Patents filed by Lomox overcame both problems, Mr Lacey said.
Manufacturers would apply its light-emitting chemical on to wallpaper with
low-voltage electrical connections: "It gives a very natural, sunlight-type
of lighting with the full colour range."
The Lomox technology might also be useful for outdoor sites, where mains
power is not available. Computer and television displays are another
possible future application.
"Lighting is a major producer of carbon emissions," said Mark Williamson,
director of innovations at the Carbon Trust. "This technology has the
potential to produce ultra-efficient lighting for a wide range of applications,
tapping into a huge global market."
The trust is looking for other technologies with good commercial prospects
and significant carbon-saving potential, Mr Williamson said. They would be
eligible to receive up to Euro 500,000 in grant funding from its applied