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One reason for the shrinking scandium market

Blue light from artificial sources is on the rise, which may have negative consequences for human health and the wider environment, according to a study.

Academics at the University of Exeter have identified a shift in the kind of lighting technologies European countries are using at night to brighten streets and buildings. Using images produced by the International Space Station (ISS), they have found that the orange-coloured emissions from older sodium lights are rapidly being replaced by white-coloured emissions produced by LEDs.

Those sodium bulbs – often – used scandium. To the point that when I was handling scandium going into the light bulb business – for a couple of years it was 100% of global usage in that industry, for near a decade around 80% or so – then pretty much anyone walking under a rich world streetlight was, in a tiny and infinitessimal way, trading with me.

But that market has distinctly shrunk. Down from perhaps 130 to 150 kg a year globally to 30kg last time I looked at it. Technological obsolescence is a bitch…..

17 thoughts on “One reason for the shrinking scandium market”

  1. What I’ve never understood is why blue light is supposed to interfere with sleep when natural light at dusk after the sun has set is much bluer than normal daylight.

  2. I’ve no idea either. But a speculation. We’re used to the blue light being that signal of dusk. And if we then go on having blue light for hours after that summat goes sscrewy?

  3. One thing I greatly enjoyed about moving to France was returning to predominantly white street lamps. And to be able to see things in their real colours. Sodium, everything’s basically mud coloured. And the brown night-time skies of the UK’s south-east. As far as I’m concerned, sodium produced a highly depressing monotone world.
    But no doubt academics have to find some way of justifying their stipends. So every little bit of manufactured gloom helps.

  4. Incidentally, do you not think the word academic is one that one should avoid in polite company? You’re currently living in a world largely brought about by academics. Enjoying yourselves? Personally, I’ve joined the Pol Pot fan club. Although I do feel he was a bit wishy-washy on the subject. Lack of commitment due to his Paris university days, no doubt.

  5. Hey, you should demand the government lets you sue somebody. Along with bricks-and-mortar shops, classified newspapers, terrestrial television, and makers of Double Diamond.

  6. I thought one of the reasons orange hued street lighting was preferred is it impairs night sight less?
    Hence orange dashboard lighting on cars etc?
    Interesting to know actual facts if someone has actual knowledge.

  7. Bloke in the Fourth Reich

    I really liked the “black and white” effect of sodium lighting and miss it. Uses your rods, not your cones. It’s hard to believe that broad spectrum LEDs are actually more efficient at providing sufficient night lighting to see.

    Incidentally, some of the street lamps in BiG City are still powered by gas.

  8. Nessimmersion: It’s just cheaper to run. More lumens per watt than anything else. Low-pressure sodium lamps have been known to produce 200 lumens per watt. LED’s in the low hundreds, and incandescent’s about 10 or so. There might be an eyestrain benefit (remember amber CRT monitors?), but if there is, it’s secondary.

  9. Here in rural Thailand they have just installed street lighting on the main road, and it’s sodium. I Believe they’re still cheaper and longer lasting. Plod prefer white light for the CCTV cameras.

  10. Academics at the University of Exeter No Shit Sherlock have identified a shift in the kind of lighting technologies European countries are using at night to brighten streets and buildings. Using images produced by the International Space Station . . .

    Non-academics can look out the window or read the clearly stated aims and progress reports of European governments. You’d think the twats had just “identified” the atom or something.

    As to the blueness problems, these were warned about before the big rollout. All that was needed was a small tilt to the yellow end, but that would have taken a little more time and the politicos wanted their bragging rights now.

    Luckily, my street got some slightly warmer units upon conversion. The colour temperature difference is quite noticeable when one of the newer cars with LED headlights comes through. I predict future marketing for cars will include warmer headlights with less dazzle.

  11. “To the point that when I was handling scandium going into the light bulb business – for a couple of years it was 100% of global usage in that industry, for near a decade around 80% or so – then pretty much anyone walking under a rich world streetlight was, in a tiny and infinitessimal way, trading with me.”

    So now we know who to blame for all those shitty sodium lights then…..

  12. @nessimmersion It’s not really about impaired night vision, but more about increased contrast for a given amount of lumen.

    Sodium emits around 600nm, and as such it exites the M and L cones decently along with the rods, giving decent peripheral vision with high-contrast central vision.
    For most people… Peeps with red/green colourblindness of any serious level of impairment … weeeelllllll…

    For the same reasons of contrast you currently see a lot of building/secured sites with green(ish) floodlights.
    That’s peak reception for the M/L cones and much further into the effective reception of the rods. Plus it’s in the Happy Zone of most CCTV receptors…
    Much Bang for Buck, and you can see the fuckers ..entrepeneurial tourists.. move about from a mile away..
    Without disturbing glare, given that our brain interprets green as “non-hostile background”.
    (Moving shadows in that background is quite another matter….)

  13. One of the annoying things about LED headlights – depending on weather, angle, etc, etc, any random car suddenly looks like Plod’s got his lights on, somewhere.

  14. Through my lifetime I have gone from No light (wartime blackout), Gas light (yellowish) incandescent (white), sodium (orange) and now LED.Our new streetlights give a much more natural feel and are much better directed to where the light is needed.

  15. “I predict future marketing for cars will include warmer headlights with less dazzle.”

    Why? Dazzling headlights only hurt everyone else on the road, not the person buying the car

  16. @BitFR
    Incidentally, some of the street lamps in BiG City are still powered by gas.

    Düsseldorf? I’m typing this with an Uerige beermat on the desk, with my last tab pencilled on it.

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