First winner of UCD CleanWeb Sprint Award has bright idea

21 May 2014

Laura Tobin, a UCD engineering PhD student and winner of the inaugural UCD CleanWeb Sprint Award. Photo by Nick Bradshaw, Fotonic

An early stage business idea focused on LEDs as an alternative light source for solar simulators has been declared overall winner of the inaugural UCD CleanWeb Sprint Award.

Led by UCD’s Laura Tobin, currently working on her engineering PhD, the award-winning proposal’s research demonstrated that LED lights can be easily varied on a real-time basis to allow tailored artificial sunlight to be used for both photovoltaic testing and indoor lighting.

Unlike currently available light bulbs, LEDs exhibit high energy efficiencies, as well as being considerably more affordable and have longer life-spans and fewer maintenance requirements.

For the UCD Earth Institute and NovaUCD judges, Tobin and her team’s LED lights can be varied in real-time to allow tailored artificial sunlight to detect the level of light in a room or location and can then vary the light intensity and spectral distribution accordingly.

For her efforts and achievements, Tobin has been presented with the award and a €1,000 prize fund to help her further develop her business idea, judged to have the most commercial potential.

Speaking at the presentation of the award, Brendan Cremen, UCD’s director of enterprise and commercialisation said, “Our team at NovaUCD was delighted to work in partnership with the UCD Earth Institute in the design and delivery of the inaugural Sprint at UCD, which is focused on testing new business ideas in an exciting and fun environment.”

Women Invent Tomorrow is Silicon Republic’s campaign to champion the role of women in science, technology, engineering and maths. It has been running since March 2013, and is kindly supported by Accenture Ireland, Intel, the Irish Research Council, ESB, Twitter, CoderDojo and Science Foundation Ireland.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic