Canadian Manufacturing

NextEnergy lighting solutions competition gets underway

NextChallenge seeking proposals to "address unique lighting technology needs" of both Ford, Detroit urban farm

The 2015 Ford F-150 features available LED headlights. PHOTO Ford

The 2015 Ford F-150 features available LED headlights. PHOTO Ford

LANSING, Mich.—A Michigan-based not-for-profit has officially launched a global challenge aimed at encouraging the development of innovative new energy solutions, including new light-emitting diode (LED) automotive lighting technology.

Sponsored by Ford Motor Co., NextEnergy’s NextChallenge is seeking proposals to “address the unique lighting technology needs” of both Ford and RecoveryPark, a Detroit-based urban farming operation.

“NextChallenge was developed as a way to source ideas, concepts and intellectual properties that will drive technology innovation and economic development,” NextEnergy president and CEO Jean Redfield said in a release announcing the launch. “We are confident that the challenge will encourage the development of advanced lighting solutions and that local advanced lighting manufacturers will rise to the challenge with innovative solutions that will spur economic and industry growth in Michigan.”

Ford is looking for innovative interior and exterior automotive LED lighting concepts that “add value and differentiation to its portfolio of products,” while RecoveryPark seeking solutions that optimize agricultural lighting systems for greenhouses and hydroponic operations.

“Our goal is to find solutions that help us maintain our leadership in lighting innovation,” said Dean Stevenson, Ford’s chief engineer. “We are particularly interested in receiving concepts related to weight and luminosity, cost-effective production, innovative interior and exterior LEDs, and recyclable lighting.”

As much as US$80,000 in cash and/or in-kind support will be awarded to the winners in each category, according to NextEnergy.

Michigan-based winners will eligible for as much as US$80,000 in winnings, while non-Michigan-based winners will be eligible for as much as US$40,000.

Submissions will be judged based on innovation, partnerships, qualifications, competitive advantage, scalability, and Michigan-based intellectual property and investment.

Participants will be asked to submit proposals online by March 6, 2015, with winners announced in May.

To find out more, log on to NextEnergy’s NextChallenge page at

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