The Path to Drawdown: LEDs
First invented in 1994, Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) were designed as high-brightness, high-efficiency light bulbs. LEDs use 90% less energy than incandescent bulbs and half as much as compact fluorescents for the same amount of light. While other lighting technologies convert energy into heat (and wasting most of it), LEDs turn 80% of their energy use into light. They work like solar panels in reverse, by converting electrons to photons instead of the other way around.
There are many environmental benefits of LED lighting. For people without ready access to ample energy, LEDs can be powered with small solar panels and can replace expensive kerosene lamps and their noxious fumes and emissions. Their efficiency in converting energy into light, not heat, helps reduce electricity consumption and air-conditioning load. Where LEDs are used in streetlights, they can save up to 70% of energy and significantly reduce maintenance costs.
Project Drawdown estimates that if LEDs become widely used in the residential and commercial lighting markets, they can avoid between 10.2 - 10.8 gigatons of CO2 emissions in residences, and between 5.9 - 6.7 gigatons in commercial buildings. To achieve this, the global market share of LEDs needs to scale rapidly:
- In 2018, LED lights comprised 3% of the total commercial lighting market and 2% of the residential lighting market;
- By 2050, LEDs should account for 95% and 90% of the residential and commercial markets, respectively;
- That’s 12.82% annual growth for residential LED, and 11.21% for commercial LED lighting between 2018 - 2050.
O2Micro International Limited (stock ticker: OIIM) designs, develops and markets components for the computer, consumer, industrial and automotive markets. Headquartered in George Town, Cayman Islands, they have development teams in China and the Silicon Valley and regional marketing centers in mainland China, Taiwan, US, Japan and Korea.
OIIM's Role in Drawdown
For the consumer electronics market (pp. 13-14), OIIM offers liquid crystal display (LCD) and LED televisions, desktop and notebook monitors, portable media players, digital cameras, as well as LED light bulbs. They also sell LED monitors to the computer, industrial and automotive markets
At the same time, OIIM offers a battery management product line (p. 3), including integrated circuits to provide power for liquid crystal display and LED lighting, control and monitoring of battery charging and discharging, DC/DC and AC/DC conversion, etc. These have applications in power tools, e-bikes, electric vehicles, vacuum cleaners, garden tools and energy storage systems.
36-38% of OIIM’s products (p. 7) are sold to consumers and 60-62% to industrial customers.
OIIM continues to innovate on their LED lighting and battery products - ~62% of their R&D spending (p. 24) was dedicated to developing new products in 2020. Some of these new products include LED backlighting for panels, TVs and monitors. OIIM’s LED local dimming technology (p. 14) provides full array LED backlighting for TVs and monitors. This backlighting allows screens to emit more light where brightness is needed and less light where darkness is needed.
OIIM: What We Like
We’ll update this section once OIIm makes sustainability information available.