A Catalan institute participates in the new illumination of the Sistine Chapel


Sistine Chapel before and after the LED/Photo: Government of the Vatican City


Eduardo González. Madrid



A project financed by the European Union, and in which the Catalan Institute of Energy Research (IREC, in Spanish) participated, helps save energy and is less aggressive for the conservation of the paintings, thanks to the use of a new LED illumination system, the inventors of which were awarded the 2014 Nobel for Physics.


Thanks to the European Research Project, LED4ART, which has put in place a new system of light emitting diodes (LED), “Michelangelo looks like never before” the European Commission stated. “For the first time, some frescos can be seen in three dimensions from the ground, and in general, details can be better appreciated”, they added. In addition, the new system cuts emissions and energy costs by 60%, and the decreased aggression of the technology contributes to the painting “aging less than with the previous system”.


LED4ART is a pilot project the aim of which is to “increase the awareness of LED solutions and, in doing so, encourage their use”, according to the Commission. It looks to “reduce our consumption of energy to protect the environment, and strengthen our economy”, since “lighting represents 20% of energetic consumption worldwide”, the CE added.


The project applies the LED system, the inventors of which were awarded the 2014 Nobel for Physics


In the EU, according to the Commission, “we are progressively eliminating the waste of incandescent light bulbs, substituting them for more ecological lighting, based on more efficient technology from the point of view of being more energy friendly and more respectful with the environment, as is the case with the LED”. By 2020, this change will represent an energy saving equivalent to the annual consumption of 11 million homes, and will represent an average saving on electricity bills of between 25 and 50 euros a year.


“Art is there to inspire and illuminate us. Now we are the ones that have illuminated the Sistine Chapel with LED, Michelangelo’s works can fulfil their role better than at any other point in history”, stated the vice-president of the European Commission, Neelie Kroes, in charge of the Digital Agenda.


The Nobel for Physics was awarded to Isamu Akasaki, Hiroshi Amano and Shuji Nakamura “for the invention of efficient blue light emitting diodes”, which set down the basis for white light and long lasting LED, the “longest lasting and most efficient alternative to the old sources of light”, according to information issued by the Swedish Academy.


The European Union invested 870.000 euros in the LED4ART project, a consortium with the collaboration of Osram (Germany and Italy), the University of Pannonia (Hungary), Fabertechnica (Italy), the State of Vatican City and the Institut de Recerca en Energia de Catalunya (IREC).


The IREC, born within the framework of the energy and research technology policies of Catalonia, Spain and the European Union, was created “to contribute to the aim of creating an energetic future that is more sustainable, taking into account economic competitively and supply to society with the greatest amount of energy security”, according to the information issued by those in charge of the institute




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