cleantech insights

Orion scores 22nd patent for efficient lighting technology

Emma Ritch

Plymouth, Wis.-based Orion Energy Systems (Nasdaq:OESX) said today that the U.S. Patent and Trademark office granted the company its 22nd patent for energy efficient lighting technology.

Shares of Orion were up nearly 3 percent to close at $3.24 today. Orion’s shares have a 52-week range of $2.68 to $7.30.

Orion designs, manufactures and deploys energy management systems made up of high-performance, energy-efficient lighting platforms, intelligent wireless control systems and solar technology.

Orion sells its high-intensity fluorescent, or HIF, lighting system to commercial and industrial customers, estimating it increases the quality of light while cutting the cost of electricity by 50 percent when replacing traditional high intensity discharge, or HID, fixtures. That’s accomplished through proprietary attributes, including the aluminum frame, side and front ventilation, and patented, roll-formed reflector that optimize the way heat is conducted and radiated, and the way light is harvested, the company said.

The most recent patent was awarded for a modular lighting platform that simplifies installation and allows for the addition of energy saving technologies in the future—a market that Orion said could be driven by utilities increasing the price of electricity or enacting real-time pricing. Typical lighting systems would require re-wiring to add controls …


Will cleantech mobilize to prevent water shortages in India?

Emma Ritch

Two new reports this week gave urgency to efforts to reduce water use in India’s agriculture sector.

First, the Indian government’s State of the Environment report warned: “Groundwater reserves are becoming more and more depleted even as surface water sources become too polluted for human use.”

That was followed by a study in the journal Nature that presented unnerving data on groundwater depletion in India, as viewed by satellites orbiting the Earth as part of NASA’s Gravity Recovery And Climate Experiment. The satellites showed that the water table in India is falling 1.6 inches per year, losing 109 cubic kilometers (88.4 million acre-feet) from August 2002 to October 2008.

The study said the losses were unrelated to weather or climactic features, attributing them instead to to massive pumping of underground water, mostly for irrigating crops. India’s irrigated land tripled to 33.1 million hectares (82 million acres) from 1970 to 1999.

Demand for crops isn’t likely to subside anytime soon, creating a perfect market opportunity for technologies that can reduce the water wasted in the irrigation process. The current practice of flood irrigation consumes large amounts of energy to pump water, much of which is wasted (see Cleantech panel: The days