Philips — the large Dutch electronics manufacturer — announced last week that it submitted the first entry for the L Prize, a contest run by the Department of Energy that plans to award up to $10 million to the first person or group to design a better, less-energy-gulping version of the 60-watt incandescent light bulb. Don't expect a definitive winner anytime soon, though: it's going to take close to a year to complete testing of Philip's bulb...
As The New York Times notes, the $10 million prize is almost beside the point compared to the considerable (and potentially very lucrative) federal purchasing agreements that could come out of the contest. The winner would also get a big jump start in the race to "crack the consumer market" and convince people to make the permanent switch to more energy-efficient light bulbs.
With incandescents still accounting for 50% of all lighting sold in the US, there is a significant need to update the standard. The Department of Energy has said that if all those bulbs were converted to LEDs, "enough power would be saved to light 17.4 million American households and cut carbon emissions by 5.6 million metric tons annually."
Philips has delivered 2,000 prototypes of its new bulb to the Energy Department for testing. The contest criteria states that the bulbs must reproduce the same amount and color of light made by a 60-watt incandescent bulb, but use only 10 watts of power. It must also last for more than 25,000 hours — about 25 times longer than a standard incandescent.
Read more at The New York Times.
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