Policy ForumEnvironment

The Specter of Fuel-Based Lighting

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Science  27 May 2005:
Vol. 308, Issue 5726, pp. 1263-1264
DOI: 10.1126/science.1113090

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Contemporary questions about sustainable energy and development converge in unexpected ways around a technology that is at once an echo of the past and yet very much a part of the present: fuel-based lighting in the developing world. An emerging opportunity for reducing the global costs and greenhouse gas emissions associated with this highly inefficient form of lighting energy use is to replace fuel-based lamps with white solid-state ("LED") lighting, described in this Policy Forum, which can be affordably solar-powered. Doing so would allow those without access to electricity in the developing world to affordably leapfrog over the prevailing incandescent and fluorescent lighting technologies in use today throughout the electrified world.