Sat, Nov 03, 2012 - Page 14 News List

Taiwanese research institute shines at R&D awards

Staff writer with CNA, WASHINGTON

Taiwan’s Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI, 工研院) emerged as the second-biggest winner at the 2012 R&D 100 Award presentations in Florida on Wednesday, with six products.

It is the fifth consecutive year in which the Hsinchu-based ITRI has brought home awards from the event. The winners of what are dubbed the “Oscars of innovation” were announced in June.

Among the other winners at the 50th R&D 100 Awards were Intel, the MIT Lincoln Laboratory and the NASA Glenn Research Center.

Energy efficiency and electricity conservation have in recent times been two focuses of the ITRI’s research, with their aim to help local enterprises to make better use of resources and generate more profits, said Liang Pei-fang (梁佩芳), a director at the institute’s Green Energy and Environment Research Laboratories.

The six products included the “SideLighter,” a technology that can be used in the windows of high-rise buildings, building materials, roofing materials and solar power plants, as part of a push to create more “green” buildings.

The SideLighter can lower the costs of establishing solar-power systems and can increase sunlight collection time by improving light transmission of power panels, Liang said. An ITRI statement said the technology is already in mass production.

Another award-winning product, the “AVA-Clamp,” is a low-cost, easy-to-use clamp-on voltage and current meter technology that measures the amount of power being used by a typical household or commercial appliance such as a microwave, television or industrial machine.

It is a convenient way to monitor and manage energy usage and enables users to save up to 10 percent on their electricity use, according to the ITRI.

The ITRI also won an award for its “Light&Light,” the world’s first all-plastic, lightweight and unbreakable LED bulb.

Its use of thermal-conductive plastic instead of traditional metal for cooling, along with a special design that expands the cooling area and further improves heat-dissipation, gives the product extended bulb life and helps it outperform typical LED bulbs.

The other three award-winning ITRI products were “TEMM,” a thermoelectric material and module technology, “aePLASMA,” an atmospheric environment plasma coating technology and “Lignoxy,” a lignin-based polymer technology.

The TEMM product recycles waste industrial heat at temperatures ranging from 100oC to 300oC to produce electricity.

aePLASM solves the opto-electronics industry’s challenge of balancing environmental protection and issues of cost to produce metal-oxide coatings. It functions in the atmospheric environment — i.e. atmospheric pressure and temperature conditions — by combining air with metal ions in an aqueous solution to make a transparent conductive film coating within a few minutes.

Finally, Lignoxy technology replaces petroleum-based plastics with a bio-based alternative, making it possible to manufacture coatings free of bisphenol-A hormones, in particular those used in food packaging and plastic products such as canned-food containers and plastic utensils.

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