BLACKTOWN TAFE College lecturer Keith Higgins feels like ‘‘a prophet who is honoured everywhere except in his own country’’.
After winning recognition for his new LED (light emitting diode) lighting in the ABC’s The New Inventors program in 2007, he tried in vain to get funding from Australian companies or governments to develop its uses.
He obtained funding of about $65 million from China over five years and led a team of Chinese scientists to design new LED lights that provide more power into light, and less into ‘waste’ heat.
His team now developed and manufactured LED street lighting, factory lighting and a home lighting for China, India, Holland, Germany, and recently, in England.
Mr Higgins is disappointed with the response in Australia, naming only Fairfield Council, Endeavour Energy and a couple of factories as users of his lights.
Mr Higgins, who still teaches renewable energy at Nirimba and Mt Druitt TAFE, said most Australian entrepreneurs were too timid to make good decisions.
‘‘Australians only look at the cost of my light that is about twice the cost of their current light,’’ he said.
‘‘They forgot mine uses about 80 per cent less electricity and can last up to 50,000 hours.
‘‘The money saved by my lights will pay for all costs relating to regular replacement, maintenance and refitting.
‘‘My lighting is also brighter, clearer, purer and easier on the human eye than many street and fluoro lights.
‘‘Most Australian lighting is inefficient as incandescent lights produce light and heat.
‘‘While fluoros are more efficient than incandescents, they rely on mercury, a toxic chemical.’’
Mr Higgins said his lights used silicon which comes from sand and could be dumped in public tips without contaminating the soil.