The innovative 'cheese sandwich' buffer of FinarModule for next generation LED lighting

A prototype device that uses the FinarModule buffer
A prototype device that uses the FinarModule buffer

Il Litorale

FinarModule has developed a novel material for the thermal optimisation of LED streetlights, exploiting the physics of copper to create a unique buffer that is currently being evaluated and tested by major industry players such as Osram, Henkel, and Enel Green Power. The Lugano-based startup was the first runner-up at the Boldbrain Startup Challenge 2020, winning the 30K cash prize, and is in the pre-incubation phase at the USI CP Start-up.

LED streetlights are a well-known energy efficient solution. In Europe, where still only a small fraction of existing streetlights use this technology, the ongoing mass deployment of LED lamps shows that there is great market potential. Although relatively mature, LED technology has nevertheless much room for improvement, namely in terms of energy consumption. LED lights perform best – and consume less – when adequately cooled, but the structures and materials currently used, for example, for streetlights need solutions to improve this process. FinarModule has developed a very convenient plug-in component, a highly engineered micro-structured solution that exploits the physical properties of copper, that keeps the LED part of these lamps cool, allowing for 20% less electricity consumption, longer life span of the lamps and, ultimately, lower production costs. “It’s like adding cheese to a hamburger to get a gourmet cheeseburger” – says William Gould, co-founder and CEO of FinarModule – “and our ‘cheese’ is designed to work for all types of power devices, devices that will control the power grid, electric cars and trains of the future”.

Essentially, the FinarModule buffer is a structure engineered to cancel the effect of the “glue” and of thermal dilatation between different materials in power device packaging for unprecedented thermal performance and reliability as well as production simplicity. The buffer uses copper as base material, which is electrically and thermally conductive. “The disruptive feature of our solution is the flexible, “bristle-like”, character of the copper structure that we have developed”, explains Daniele Finarelli, co-founder and CTO of FinarModule.

Dr. Daniele Finarelli, an electronics engineer with a PhD in physics, and William Gould, who specialises in business development, created the Lugano-based startup in 2016. The company, which has patents pending in the US, the EU and China, has received validation from the University of Pavia (Italy) and is currently in the advanced stage of prototype testing with global players such as Osram and Henkel. Earlier this month, FinarModule has signed a contract with the Green Power unit of Italian energy conglomerate Enel. The startup is currently in the pre-incubation phase at USI CP Start-up.

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