LED bulb makers target 100-watt brightness

With a lighting efficiency mandate approaching, Osram Sylvania, Switch Lighting, and other lighting companies show prototype LEDs to replace 100-watt incandescent bulbs.

The design of Osram Sylvania's 100-watt equivalent LED expected for release later this year or next year.
The design of Osram Sylvania's 100-watt equivalent LED expected for release later this year or next year Osram Sylvania

With a federal lighting efficiency mandate looming, lighting companies are developing LED bulbs designed to replace 100-watt incandescent lights.

Osram Sylvania today showed off a prototype of an LED bulb that gives off 1,500 lumens--as much light as a 100-watt incandescent--and consumes 14 watts. It also said that its 75-watt equivalent will be available in July.

Another company, Switch Lighting, today announced its own 100-watt equivalent which it said produces 1,700 lumens of white light and will be available in the fourth quarter, according to a representative. A version with a warmer light is due in mid to late 2012.

The announcements were made in conjunction with the LightFair lighting conference, where a number of new efficient LED lighting products are being introduced .

Osram Sylvania said its dimmable 100-watt equivalent will come in the A19 shape and have a color temperature of 2700, similar to an incandescent bulb. The color rendering index, a measure of light quality, will be over 80 and the bulb is rated to last 25,000 hours, or 25 times more than incandescent bulbs.

It has a shape meant to disperse light evenly to make it suitable for many uses, such as desk lamps or overhead lights. The company didn't announce pricing but its current general-purpose LED bulb, a 60-watt equivalent, costs about $40.

Switch Lighting, a venture capital-backed start-up based in San Jose, Calif., has an unusual design to ensure even light and long life. The small coin-size LED light sources are placed around the edge of the bulb, rather than at a single point.

It also has an internal cooling system where liquid circulates through the bulb to ensure long life and maximum brightness. The company plans to have its first products available this fall, starting at under $20 for a 40-watt equivalent. Switch Lighting also said the bulbs can be returned and recycled.

Switch Lighting's bulbs place the LED near the edge of the bulb for even light and have a liquid cooling system.
Switch Lighting's bulbs place the LED near the edge of the bulb for even light and have a liquid cooling system. Switch Lighting

Lighting manufacturers are ratcheting up light quality and brightness to make LED lighting an attractive alternative to incandescent and compact fluorescent bulbs . A federal law signed in 2007 sets efficiency levels for lights which 100-watt incandescent bulbs will not be able to meet.

Philips yesterday announced that its EnduraLED A21 , which gives off as much light as a 75-watt incandescent, will be available in the fourth quarter for about $40.

LED specialist Lighting Sciences Group, whose bulbs are sold at Home Depot, is showing a prototype of a 100-watt equivalent bulb that seeks to address overheating with an active cooling system that moves air over the LED chips within the bulb, according to a representative. It has the same look as its 60-watt equivalent which is coming to market in the U.S. now.

LED bulbs need to have some sort of heat sink, often in the shape of aluminum fins below the LED lights sources, to give off full light and ensure the expected lifespan of the products.

Updated at 12:30 p.m. PT with additional details on Lighting Sciences Group prototype.

 

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