Friday, March 9, 2012

L Prize, light bulb,"green" technology, government subsidized

The U.S. government [Department of Energy] last year announced a $10 million award, dubbed the “L Prize,” for any manufacturer that could create a “green” but affordable light bulb. Now the winning bulb is on the market.
The price is $50.
[Made by Philips]
How the expensive bulb won a $10 million government prize meant to foster energy-efficient affordability is one of the curiosities that arise as the country undergoes a massive, mandated turnover from traditional incandescent lamps to more energy-efficient ones.
When replacing a bulb, consumers must now go out and buy energy-efficient incandescent, compact fluorescent and LED (light-emitting diode) bulbs, in a compulsory transition...
The L Prize was meant to ease this transition by enticing manufacturers to create affordable bulbs to replace the most common type, the traditional 60-watt.
Officials added that they are working with utilities to provide rebates for consumers. That could lower the price of the L Prize bulbs. But existing rebates, which max out around $10, are too small to take a big slice out of the $50 price tag. By comparison, the typical 60-watt bulb that it would replace, an old-fashioned energy hog, can cost as little as $1.
Two other manufacturers, General Electric and Lighting Science Group, announced last year that they were developing entrants to the competition. But before they could submit, the prize was awarded and the competition closed. The contest also required that at least some of the manufacturing be done in the United States, where costs can be higher. The Philips bulb will be assembled in Wisconsin, and the chips will be made at a Philips plant in San Jose, the company said.
[M]anufacturers are offering LED bulbs for far less than the L Prize bulb.
For example, at Home Depot, one can find LED bulbs to replace the 60-watt incandescent for much less than $50. Lighting Science Group, under the EcoSmart label, offers another for $23.97. It is assembled in Mexico. And another Philips LED bulb on sale costs $24.97. It was made in China.
-excerpts from 3/8/2012 Washington Post article by Peter Whoriskey

A prize-winning light bulb that lasts for 20 years is going on sale in the US on Sunday - also known as Earth Day.
Made by Dutch electronics giant Philips, the bulb swaps filaments for light-emitting diodes to provide illumination.
Using LEDs endows the light with a long life and a hefty price tag. The first versions are set to cost $60 (£37).
Philips has arranged discounts with shops that will sell the bulb meaning some could buy it for only $20 (£12).
The bulb triumphed in the Bright Tomorrow competition run by the US Department of Energy that aimed to find an energy efficient alternative to the 60-watt incandescent light bulb.
The DoE challenged firms to develop a design that gave out a warm light similar to that from an incandescent bulbs but was much more energy efficient.
Philips was the only entrant for the competition and its design underwent 18 months of testing before being declared a winner.
A cheaper and less efficient version of the LED bulb is already sold by Philips in the US and Europe.
LED bulbs face competition from compact fluorescent lights which are almost as energy efficient and cost a lot less.
Sales of more energy efficient bulbs are being aided by official moves to end production of higher wattage incandescent bulbs.
Production of 100 watt bulbs has ceased in the US and Europe. Production of 60 watt bulbs has been stopped in Europe and is being phased out in the US. From 2014, incandescent bulbs of 40 watts or above will be banned in the US.
-BBC 4/22/2012