FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Friday, November 12, 2004

LED Lighting Comes of Age

You may have heard about efforts to create lighting fixtures from light emitting diodes (LEDs) for some time. The advantages are many, as have been the technical difficulties. Well, it finally appears that someone has finally gotten it right.

According to Popular Science, a company called Enlux has developed a practical LED light. Their 22-watt floodlight produces an output equivalent to a 45- to 65-watt incandescent light, and lasts for 50,000 hours (approximately 35 years of average use). The lights, however, will set you back $80 a pop. For more information on the lights, visit the Enlux website.

A practical LED light to replace incandescent and flourescent lighting has been a Holy Grail of electrical engineers for years. LED lights "burn" cool, last for decades, are rugged, and use a fraction of the energy of conventional lighting. However, difficulties in developing such lights have included generating sufficient brightness to allow them to light a home or business, and creating a high-quality neutral white light (ever notice how LED lights seem to be in every color but white?).

LED lights have been around for decades, most commonly found in electronic equipment. Over the past couple of years, LED Christmas lights have appeared on the market. Recently, I saw a strip on sale at BJ's for about $25; not bad, but way more expensive than what you'd pay for regular lights (as little as $1 a strip). Cool-burning LED Christmas lights are billed as being safer than regular lights, more economical in the long run, and more durable (besides being less prone to breakage, the colors don't fade). But you still have untangle the strings every year...

Source: Futurismic