Ted Kaufman - United States Senator for Delaware

Delaware business: Federal energy grant supports Newark company's bright idea

Source: The News Journal

By JEFF MONTGOMERY

January 25, 2010

The future brightened for a Newark-based lighting technology company Friday when it received a $1.5 million Department of Energy stimulus grant to support work that officials said could eventually create 100 Delaware manufacturing jobs.

White Optics LLC, which works closely with Newport-based Crowell Corp., will use the money to develop and sell fixture coatings that can make both new and existing fluorescent and LED lights more energy-efficient and cheaper to operate.

Delaware Sens. Tom Carper and Ted KAUFMAN, both Democrats, and Gov. Jack Markell jointly announced the grant at Crowell's plant between Stanton and Newport.

White Optics was formed by former DuPont Co. employees using DuPont-licensed optical material technologies. The company partnered with Crowell, a century-old, privately owned maker of box-sealing adhesives in Newport, and also works with the University of Delaware's Center for Composite Materials.

Markell has repeatedly pointed to the two companies as examples of a venture involving environmentally friendly "green technologies" that can transform and expand the state's economy.

"Not only are these companies taking a simple idea and honing it to help us all save on energy costs, conserve energy and lower emissions, they are creating jobs in the process," Carper said.

Eric Teather, White Optics' president, said materials developed by White Optics can reflect 97 percent of the light hitting them. When used to upgrade existing fluorescent light fixtures, he said, building owners can use two bulbs to produce the same amount of light that once required four -- saving electricity and reducing waste heat that can drive up air conditioning costs.

Use of the more reflective materials could cut the operating cost of a single, standard fluorescent office light fixture by $40 yearly, Teather said.

Crowell President Herbert B. Adelman said the grant saved two jobs and could quickly create a need for 15 more if some technologies move to commercial use, with more to follow.

Teather said demand for the company's products could rise sharply as states adopt policies and programs to encourage and reward energy conservation.

"There are millions of light fixtures that could be retrofitted for energy reasons, cost reasons and efficiency reasons," Adelman said.

KAUFMAN said Delaware has received more than $1.2 billion in federal Recovery Act funds, including Friday's announcement.

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