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CeramTec AG wins environmental technology award

Stuttgart, June 24th, 2009 Environment minister Tanja Gönner awarded the 1st prize of the Baden-Württemberg environment technology award in the category “energy efficiency” to CeramTec AG, Plochingen. The award was presented for the fully ceramic CeramCool® LED Spot at a ceremony at Römerkastell in Stuttgart. The Environment Ministry is awarding the prize in 2009 for the first time for outstanding and innovative products in environmental technology. “Our winner, the CeramCool® LED Spot, is a further symbol of the environmental friendliness and innovative strength of CeramTec AG. We are very proud of this honor,” said Rolf Michael Mueller, head of finance at the company. CeramTec stand in a row with Daimler AG, Adolf Würth GmbH & Co. KG and Festo AG, who won the first prizes in the other categories.

CeramTec AG wins environmental technology award
From left to right: Rolf-Michael Müller, member of the board of CeramTec AG, environmental minister Tanja Gönner, Dr. Alexander Dohn, division manager Electronics and Rüdiger Herrmann, project manager CeramCool®.

The main reasons for CeramTec winning the award are the approximately 90% energy savings and tenfold increase in service life achieved by the CeramCool® LED Spot relative to conventional halogen lamps. Light-emitting diodes, or LEDs for short, are becoming more and more popular in lighting applications such as vehicle lighting and as a replacement for household light bulbs.

Winner of the environmental technology award in the category “energy efficiency”: The CeramCool
Winner of the environmental technology award in the category
“energy efficiency” : The CeramCool®

However, high-performance LEDs that are used in these applications are subject to high temperatures, which can cause damage to the LEDs themselves. A remedy for this up to now has been to use metal heat sinks, which form part of the system comprising several layers and materials and thus ensure mechanical contact, electrical insulation and heat transfer from the LED to the heat sink. But each layer also represents a barrier to heat dissipation, so that at the hot-spot the chip heats up to as much as 160°C.

The temperature management system reduces the temperature in the CeramTec 4W CeramCool®-LED-Spot to a maximum of 60°C. The secret lies in the high-performance ceramic material, which offers electrical insulation and good thermal conductivity, meaning the chip can be mounted directly on the heat sink without intermediate layers and the resulting heat can be directly conducted away.

With this method, the service life and optical power increase in comparison with conventional LED systems. High-performance ceramic is an environmentally friendly material, one in which technology, environment and economics are combined in an innovative product – something entirely within the spirit of the environmental technology award. CeramTec could prevail in the category with 57 competitors – the most within all 4 categories.

“In some cases the decisions between the competing products were quite close,” explained Tanja Gönner. “The level of the entries was high right across the board.” It is highly likely that by the year 2020 environmental technology will draw level in importance with automobile construction and mechanical engineering as a leading branch of industry, and, as an interdisciplinary technology, it will be a pace-maker of the economy.

2009 is the first year in which the Environment Ministry has awarded the Baden-Württemberg environmental technology prize. The prize is awarded every two years for outstanding and innovative products in environmental technology. The total prize money is 100,000 euros, which is distributed among four categories and a special jury prize. The categories are “energy efficiency”, “material efficiency”, “technologies for emissions reduction, processing and separation” and “measurement and control technology”. Any company based in, or with a branch in Baden-Württemberg is eligible to take part. The awards go to products that make an important contribution to the efficient use of resources and environmental protection, and are due to be brought to market soon, or have been on the market for no longer than two years. Unlike the environmental prize that the Ministry has awarded since 1993, the environmental technology award focuses on a product and its special environmental advantages, and not on company-internal processes.

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