The Real End of the Light Bulb?

Another fascinating article I reviewed from this morning's USA Today that I wanted to share with you is another peek into the not-so-distant future of lighting. Specifically, light-emitting diodes, more common referred to as LEDs, tagged as the likely replacement for the light bulb.

Lamps using LED technology weren't possible until about a dozen years or so, because for the longest time it could produce only red, green and yellow light, but not white light. That changed when a Japanese company produced blue LEDs in 1993 in which red and green spectrums were combined to create it. Based on semiconductor technology, the efficiency of LEDs has grown by leaps and bounds in recent years. In fact, one New York company announced it had boosted the output of a white LED bulb by a factor of six, surpassing the efficiency of even a compact fluorescent bulb.

The big issue with mass-produced LEDs, of course, is the price. Although it's twice as efficient as the average light bulb, the extra expense remains the major drawback. Still current white LEDs last as much as 50,000 hours, which translates to 50 times the life of the average incandescent light bulb. That means constant use of an amazing six years.

The government is certainly interested in LED development: Using such lighting would cut America's average energy consumption in 20 years by almost 30 percent, or just a measly $125 billion.

USA Today April 15, 2005

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