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Nature · Economy

Changing times

August 12th, 2011
in:Nature, Economy
by:Itai Lahat
located in:USA
tags:clean energy, energy efficiency, energy independence, energy technologies, green energy, New Energy Technologies, Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, Renewable Energy Projects, solar energy

Times are changing indeed, even in the USA. The American energy department has created a unique challenge called the “L prize”. The first winners of this bright prize of 10 million dollars are the smart people from Phillips.

Times are changing indeed, even in the USA. In the last years new lightning regulations has been introduced to the American lightning market. The essence of it is a gradual elimination of the traditional Incandescent light bulb, and replacing it with new lightning technologies. For this purpose, the American energy department has created a unique challenge called the “L prize”.

The “L Prize”, challenged manufacturers to create a 60-watt light bulb equivalent that could keep up with the demands of real-world consumers. “The L Prize challenges the best and brightest minds in the U.S. lighting industry to make the technological leaps forward that can greatly reduce the money we spend to light our homes and businesses each year,” said Energy Secretary Steven Chu a few days ago when the winner was announced. “Not only does the L Prize challenge innovative companies to make LED technology even more energy efficient, it also spurs the lighting industry to make LEDs affordable for American families.”

The winners of this bright prize of 10 million dollars are the smart people from Phillips. Philips’ new bulb incarnation seems to have stood up to the DOE’s standards over 18 months of testing its performance, quality, lifetime and cost. If everyone in the US were to switch to this bulb it would save a collective 20 million metric tons of carbon emissions, 35 terrawatt-hours of electricity and $3.9 billion each year.

Philips’ L Prize winner is an LED light bulb which is even more efficient than those it already has on sale in retail stores. The bulb that’s available right now uses about 12.5 watts of electricity, while the L Prize winner uses just 9.7 — though they both last about 25,000 hours, which is much more than the standard Incandescent’s 1,000 to 2,000 hours. Right now there is no price attached to the prize winning, ultra-efficient bulb, but 60-watt equivalent LED light bulbs currently in stores go for about $40 each. That may seem pricey, but Philips and their LED competitors have faith that within the decade, these bulbs will come down into the $10 range.

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Itai Lahat
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