Saving Electricity: LEDs poised to replace light bulbs

Bright idea: LEDs poised to replace light bulbs
By R. Colin Johnson
EE Times
July 23, 2004 (1:00 PM EDT)

PORTLAND, Ore. — A recent advance in light-emitting diodes may illuminate the path to replacing light bulbs with LEDs within the next five years, according to researchers.

Fred Schubert, a professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (Troy, N.Y.), claims to have invented a 99-percent efficient reflector that promises to speed the replacement of light bulbs with LEDs.

“Until now, all lighting systems, especially incandescent bulbs, generated more heat than light. But our 99-percent efficient reflectors for LEDs makes them the first candidate for light-bulb replacement that generates more light than heat,” said Schubert.

By tipping the scales towards more light than heat, Schubert said, there’s also light at the end of the tunnel. He envisions white LEDs beginning to replace incandescent light bulbs within five years. Schubert has so far only demonstrated his omnidirectional reflector LEDs in red and blue, achieving more than twice the brightness of earlier LEDs. The next step is to demonstrate white LEDs for light- bulb replacement.

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