Color Kinetics Incorporated today announced that it has been awarded approximately $1.7 million by the US Department of Energy (DOE) to develop an LED-based alternative to incandescent lamps for general illumination.

Color Kinetics is one of five companies, including General Electric, Eastman Kodak, Osram Sylvania, and SRI International, to be awarded a share of $7 million in this round of DOE funding for LED-based solid-state lighting. As is customary, the awards and the specific details of the proposals are still subject to final negotiation between DOE and the participants.

Color Kinetics’ proposal, “An Integrated Solid-State LED Luminaire for General Lighting,” aims to develop replacement lamps for 60W incandescent light sources that, with a four-fold increase in efficacy to 80-lumens per watt, would meet or exceed the efficacy of nearly all conventional light sources. Furthermore, on a fixture efficiency basis, the proposed lamp may have the capability to provide more useful light than conventional fixtures and sources. This is due to the directional nature of LEDs, which minimizes the loss of light within fixtures. The proposal targets LED package and system integration technology through the development of a novel hybrid-LED source together with Cree, Inc. (NASDAQ: CREE), a leading LED manufacturer. Color Kinetics and Cree will also contribute approximately $550,000 towards the project, demonstrating their commitment to propel the use of LEDs in broad general lighting applications.

According to DOE, solid-state lighting has the potential to more than double the efficiency of general lighting systems, reducing overall US energy consumption and saving consumers money.

“Once considered viable for niche applications alone, LED lighting is increasingly gaining government support as the technology advances towards general illumination, creating possibilities for larger-scale cost and energy savings,” said Bill Sims, president and CEO, Color Kinetics. “With our heightened focus on R&D and innovation, commercially-proven systems, and strong accumulation of intellectual property and expertise, Color Kinetics is poised to continue leading this industry transformation forward. We have committed to delivering market-ready solutions for general lighting this year, and we thank the Department of Energy for supporting our important efforts.”

“Solid-state lighting is a key part of President Bush’s energy policy and the Department of Energy’s overall strategy to increase energy efficiency,” said DOE Secretary Samuel W. Bodman. “Not only does this technology have the potential to greatly reduce lighting energy consumption in U.S. buildings, but it will also enhance our energy security.”