LEDs : Future of lighting, destroyer of incandescent bulbs?

It is an irony that the light bulb, long-time symbol of great ideas, will not be such a great idea anymore, as lawmakers in different countries are planning to ban the century old creation of Thomas Edison, because of its contribution to global warming.

The successor? It is a big question, but at least for now, the only affirmative answer is CFL or Compact Fluorescent bulbs. However, experts predict that LED or Light Emitting Diodes could become a serious contender for the title of world’s champion of lighting, in the near future, or more specifically, in the next two years.

Several hundred LEDs, each of which are the size of a matchstick-head, can be grouped together, to create a light bulb.

LEDs already exist in electronic/electrical equipments as warning lights – those tiny red lights.

LEDs use less power than incandescent bulbs, and last longer – which is why they are used in flashlights already.

Major companies and startups alike are pouring millions for research of LEDs, in the hope of getting quality LEDs at low prices first to the market.

California, Canada and Australia have all decided to ban light bulbs by 2012. EU is looking at banning their production, and U.S is looking at phasing them out in 10 years.

Governments are supporting them because LEDs are five times more efficient than fluorescents. Also, use of LED in U.S could cut electricity consumption by half.

Add to it that LEDs last as much as 50,000 hours, 40K more than CFLs and 49K more than incandescents.

Issues

Two issues plague LEDs.

One is cost. An LED equivalent in lighting to a 25-watt CFL costs $50 – definitely not what you would call affordable.

Second issue is efficiency. When LED is kept individually, they are much more efficient than CFLs. But experts suggest that their efficiency and durability could come down when grouped together. They point towards the fact that LEDs keep heat inside, rather than emitting them, like CFLs.

Solve those, and we could be bidding farewell to the humble incandescent light bulbs worldwide by 2020(assuming that developing nations will not take more than 8 years after they are banned in developed countries like EU).

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