Incandescent bulbs, take 2 | The American Ceramic Society

Incandescent bulbs, take 2

With a hat tip to Gizmag, I want to point out that the New York Times has a recent story about efforts to enhance the efficiencies of incandescent light bulbs and rehab the image of these old workhorses.

The story discusses a line of incandescents from Philips Lighting called “Halogena Energy Savers” and the work being done by Deposition Sciences, an R&D firm located in Santa Rosa, Calif. Illumination-wise, the 70-watt units ($5) Halogena bulbs are comparable to an old-school 100-watt incandescent. Philips claims that despite its price tag, a 30 percent reduction in power useage and a lifetime that is three times longer allows the Halogena to pay for itself.

The Halogena is actually a bulb within a bulb. The filament is contained within a small glass capsule coated with a reflective material. The concept, in brief, is that the coating in the capsule reflects some of the heat energy from the filament back onto the filament. The filament then converts some of the heat into light. Deposition Sciences developed the technology. A short flyer on DepSci’s website indicates it even has a newer, better technology that creates a 50 percent energy savings.

The NYT story also notes the research being done by the University of Rochester’s Chunlei Guo, who is doubling the illumination by using lasers to etch the surface of a tungsten filament, and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Shawn-Yu Lin, who is using an iridium-coated filament recycle lost heat energy. (Lin received attention last year for his work in perfecting an antireflection coating for silicon solar panels.)

Some big players are starting to weigh in on this field. Besides Philips, General Electric, Osram Sylvania, Auer Lighting and Toshiba are working on developing and marketing high-efficiency incandescent bulbs.