RTI International and Cree (Nasdaq: CREE) will receive seven-figure boosts for energy efficient lighting research from the federal government.

The two Triangle firms received grants worth more than $1.6 million on Tuesday from the Energy Department. They were part of almost $15 million in solid state lighting grants disclosed by the government.

“The projects nationwide are focused on advancing core R&D goals for the technology, developing new products, and expanding domestic manufacturing capacity to help the U.S. remain competitive in this growing technology market,” the Energy Department said.

Cree already is a global leader in light emitting diode research and products.

RTI is a global research and development organization.
“These investments in cutting-edge lighting technologies will support American innovation, create new manufacturing jobs for U.S. workers, and help ensure that the United States leads the world in this rapidly evolving industry,” said Secretary Steve Chu. “These next-generation lighting technologies have the potential to transform the way we light our homes and businesses and generate enormous energy and cost savings for families and businesses across the country.”

The firms and organizations receiving the grants are contributing $4 million in their own funding, according to the Energy Department.

RTI’s grant is to “develop and validate methodologies for predicting the lifetime of integrated SSL luminaires, or lighting units. The ultimate outcome from this project will be a reliability prediction tool for use by designers and manufacturers of LED luminaires, which will lead to more consistent and accurate performance data and greater consumer confidence in LED product reliability,” the Energy Department said.

RTI will receive $1,699,318 as part of four grants focused on what the Energy Department described as “core technology research.”

“These projects will focus on filling key technology gaps in LED and OLED development, improving scientific knowledge, and providing performance data for these technologies, which are all critical to the widespread deployment of solid-state lighting for general lighting purposes,” it said.

Also receiving grants were:

• Arizona State University (Tempe, AZ) – $664,785
• Soraa Inc. (Goleta, CA) – $678,257
• University of Rochester (Rochester, NY) – $1,247,881

Cree’s operation in Goleta, Calif. will receive $1,610,681 as part of research into “cost-effective, high-performing, commercially viable solid-state lighting materials, devices, and systems.”

Philips, one of Cree’s rivals, will receive $1,987,200.

Two other firms will receiving $6.9 million to support advances in solid state lighting manufacturing.

They are:

• Moser Baer Technologies, Inc. (Canandaigua, NY) – $2,906,324
• Veeco Instruments (Plainview, NY) – $4,000,000

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