On the NPR show, Science Friday, it dedicated a whole show to the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Bright Tomorrow Lighting Prizes (L Prize) Competition and how Phillips Electronics is the first company to enter. The guest speaker for this show was Jim Brodrick, Lighting Program Manager for the Building Technologies Program (with DOE). Brodrick was very pleased to have Philips summit their bulb because he believes that this will spur other companies to enter.
The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 established the $10 million competition. This competition is designed to spur development on more efficient light bulbs to replace the most wide used and inefficient 60-watt incandescent and PAR 38 halogen lights. There is a long list of specific requirements that the light bulb must perform (i.e. dimming capabilities, specific color/brightness, lifetime, etc), and will undergo a number of rigorous tests to determine if requirements were met and to detect and address product weakness. Additionally, the company must submit a total of 2,000 bulbs for testing (establishing that it is feasible to mass produce their product). One of the most interesting requirements is that the LED bulb will have to use less energy than the compact fluorescent light—consuming less than 10 watts, last more than 25,000 hours, and produce more than 900 lumens.
According to Brodrick, the Philips LED bulb (at first glance) looked very well built, and will now go through the rigorous testing that may take up to a year.
If interested in being updated on this competition check out Kimberly Janeway’s blog posts at Consumer Reports