Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Incandescent Bulbs Return to the Cutting Edge ???

An article was published by the NY Times over the weekend on a "new" incandescent bulb technology. We think not. Please feel free to look at the article and then let's separate fact from fiction.


This "new" technology is yet one more promise of a perfect solution "in the wings". Infrared incandescent technology was announced by GE two years ago and appears to have made little progress toward becoming a viable consumer solution. Philips has a few of the HIR (Halogen Infrared) bulbs they are selling on the European market. Facts conveniently not mentioned in the NYT article: a short life, explosion potential, they burn very hot, and require a complicated and potentially expensive optical coating process (Plasma Impulse Chemical Vapor Deposition) to produce and the "killer" issue ?? they are
not that energy efficient. HIR bulbs are not getting anywhere close to reaching their claims of potentially 40 lumens per watt. HIR bulbs tested late last year for the European Council for an Energy Efficient Economy delivered a maximum efficiency of 18.5 lumens per watt. In comparison, a 100 watt Sylvania A19 light bulb delivers 1710 lumens. That would be 17.1 lumens per watt. I don't think I would consider a savings of 1.4 lm/w very energy efficient. A "
Mercury Bulb" (our name for a CFL bulb) that is a 100 watt replacement delivers over 71 lumens per watt providing a 77% energy savings over a standard incandescent bulb. Vu1 ESL technology is targeting a 70%+ energy savings for our first products. In GE's announcement in Feb of 2007 they claimed their target efficiency would be 30 lm/w. It appears that HIR and HEI bulbs are coming up far short of their target and their claims.