Gallery: Philips Wins $10 Million Prize with 60-Watt Equivalent Bulb Th...


The US Department of Energy (DOE) just awarded Philips Lighting America the Bright Tomorrow Lighting Prize along with a cool $10 million for the development of their new energy efficient LED light bulb that uses just 9.7 watts of electricity. The award – a.k.a. the “L Prize” – challenged manufacturers to create a 60-watt light bulb equivalent that could keep up with the demands of real-world consumers. 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 we’d save a collective 20 million metric tons of carbon emissions, 35 terrawatt-hours of electricity and $3.9 billion each year.

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. “Not only does the L Prize challenge innovative companies like Philips to make LED technology even more energy efficient, it also spurs the lighting industry to make LEDs affordable for American families.”

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.

Via New York Times


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  1. gep2 August 19, 2011 at 6:28 pm

    I would have preferred to see a cold cathode bulb as the winner… I’ve been switching over my home to cold cathode light bulbs. One good reason for a ban is landlords in apartments and rental housing who will use the cheapest bulbs they can buy, and then leave tenants to pay the electric bills. You also really shouldn’t only consider the electricity used by the bulb… you also should count the heat load that it generates, and the electricity the air conditioning system uses to pump that heat outside. Note that we here in the USA are latecomers to the incandescent ban… Australia was the first, followed by the European Union and Canada. I think a ban is soon in effect in China, too. I’ve been told that the amount of electricity the US wasted in incandescent light bulbs was equal to SEVENTY PERCENT (!!) of all the energy we use in every car and light truck in America…! Meaning that if we TRIPLED the fuel economy of every car and light truck (to 70+ mpg), and then replaced our entire fleet, we wouldn’t save as much energy as we will by getting rid of incandescent light bulbs!

  2. caeman August 5, 2011 at 9:02 am

    Ban the CFL! Long live the LED!

  3. lighthouse10 August 4, 2011 at 3:57 pm

    This is exciting stuff
    – the more lighting choice, the better.

    As you say, they think these Philips LED bulbs will come down a lot in price
    (as indeed have CFLs, even discounting subsidies)

    so why ban simple incandescent alternatives in that case, which of course have advantages too?
    Presumably people will soon WANT to buy all these wonderful new bulbs then – without coercion?


    1. People prefer new bulbs = why ban old bulbs, little savings from a ban, and the old bulbs still have advantages in some situations
    (compare radio tubes and transistors, tubes were bought less anyway, but are still useful in some situations – any guitarists out there ?!)

    2. People still prefer old bulbs = rather odd to ban them then, as well!
    (and it is a ban, halogen type incandescents will be banned too before 2020 on the Energy Act 45 lumen per Watt specification, and anyway have different light quality as well as much greater expense for marginal savings)

    the supposed switchover savings are not there anyway, either for society (less than 1% US energy usage, 1-2% grid electricity)
    or for consumers, based on DOE ‘s own statistics –
    There are as seen much more relevant ways to save energy,
    in electricity generation, grid distribution, and real consumption waste,
    than from telling people what light bulbs they can or can’t use.

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