U.S. Department of Energy


Sustainable Manufacturing of Luminaires Challenge

The U.S Department of Energy is seeking new concepts in SSL luminaires, designed to manufacture with sustainable, recycled materials.
Winners Attend DOE SSL R&D Workshop in Dallas, TX


*Prize eligibility limited to U.S. citizens and permanent residents*


Light emitting diode (LED) and organic light emitting diode (OLED) based solid state lighting (SSL) are revolutionizing the lighting industry. Not only is SSL much more efficient than conventional lighting technologies, the new levels of control by SSL enable improved lighting performance, can improve health and productivity, and can enable additional energy savings through more efficient delivery of light. The efficiency of SSL still has room to improve through scientific, integration, and manufacturing breakthroughs. More information on the status of cost and performance of SSL products can be found in the 2017 Department of Energy Solid State Lighting Research & Development Plan

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) invites submissions for new concepts in SSL luminaires designed to manufacture with sustainable, recycled materials. The majority of SSL luminaires still use aluminum and other energy dense structural and thermal materials in their designs and manufacturing processes. The use of LEDs and OLEDs for lighting enables consideration of a broader range of materials for the structural, thermal, and optical components within a luminaire. The use of innovative materials in the luminaire design could reduce both parts and manufacturing cost of the luminaire. 

DOE will award prizes for up to two meaningful SSL manufacturing concepts for this contest. The first place submission will receive $6,000 and second place will receive $3,000.

This challenge is part of the U.S. Department of Energy Manufacturing Innovator Challenge-- a series of challenges that focus on advances in additive manufacturing. The Manufacturing Innovator Challenge offers applicants an opportunity to submit innovative design concepts for additive manufacturing and other topics within several technology areas, including bioenergy, buildings, and vehicle technologies. Individual prizes ranging from $2,500 to $10,000 will be awarded to innovators with the best solutions for today's manufacturing challenges. You can view other challenges from the Manufacturing Innovator Challenge here.


Check out the 'Guidelines' tab to learn more about what is required for challenge submissions.


Required Submission Materials 

Contest submission will consist of a 10 page (maximum) report that must include:

  1. A description of the concept, its proposed use, and justification for why the approach is advantageous compared to traditional manufacturing techniques or materials. 
  2. A discussion of materials, processes, and implementation issues and how the proposed approach can satisfy existing lighting performance requirements in terms of optical performance while also being amenable to sustainable manufacturing. 
  3. Technical drawings and/or computer-aided designs showing the specifications for the concept are encouraged.

Evaluation Criteria 

The submissions that meet eligibility criteria and are responsive to the request described in the contest description will then be scored by a panel of judges on a scale of 0-100 points (one hundred being the highest) in the categories described below. 

More specifically, winning Entrants will describe, in detail: 

  1. Innovation (35/100 points): The degree to which the proposed concept does not currently exist and/or meets an existing need where no other viable solutions are available.
    1. Does this concept offer the same functionality and quality that other luminaires available today can offer? 
    2. What features will incentivize consumers to choose this concept over others?
  2. Impact (35/100 points): The amount of impact a technology solution could have on meeting challenges, creating economic impact, providing new solutions to critical problems if it existed as an off-the-shelf capability.
    1. Design modularity 
      1. Number of parts 
      2. Disassembly process 
      3. Technologies required
      4. Include any other variables which may also contribute to design modularity
    2. Recovery potential 
      1. What components/materials can be recovered, and why does it matter? 
      2. Likely recoverability expressed as a dimensionless number (e.g. %). Include methodology. 
      3. Recovery process 
  3. Feasibility (30/100 points): The technical feasibility of the proposed concept as described by the applicant. 
    1. Manufacturing 
      1. List of materials needed 
      2. Assembly process 
      3. Technologies required 
    2. Recovery 
      1. Product collection system 
      2. Supply chain re-entry and marketability 
    3. Adoption: Addressing potential barriers for stakeholders

Additional Information 

Winner(s) will be invited to attend the annual DOE SSL R&D Workshop to be held in Dallas, TX, January 28-30, 2020 to have their concept acknowledged by DOE and given the opportunity to present at a poster presentation. Additional, non-winning, but highly rated submissions may also be invited to present posters at the DOE SSL R&D Workshop. The Workshop is an excellent opportunity to connect the developers of innovative manufacturing concepts with industry researchers who can bring the concepts to practice.