New Luminescent Bulbs May Outshine LEDs and Fluorescents

VU1 ESL Light Bulb
VU1 ESL Light Bulb

Retailers are gearing up to meet deadlines for the incandescent light bulb ban. Ikea has already stopped selling the inefficient bulbs. And California has pulled the plug and is letting current supplies run down. Many incandescent lovers are shedding tears and hating on the mercury-containing CFLs and the more expensive (though infinitely more efficient) LEDs. So here come the ESLs. The VU1 Corporation has developed a light bulb using Electron Stimulated Luminescence that the company claims to be more efficient than incandescent, CFL, and LED bulbs.

Though using this patented technology in lighting is new, the science itself is by no means cutting edge. It works in the same way that a cathode ray television works- electrons stimulate phosphors inside the bulb to make them glow. The VU1 Corporation is marketing their bulbs as having the same light quality as an incandescent, yet up to 70% more efficient. They’re taking on the LEDs with a cheaper sticker price. And by not containing any mercury, they are a safer option over the CFLs.  They also have dimming capability and come on instantly, fit into a standard socket and have a similar shape to the Edison bulbs. Here is a comparison photo from the VU1 website:

VU1 Light Quality
VU1 Light Quality

Energy efficiency compared to an LED though is still in question. The VU1 bulb produces 30 lumens per watt, the equivalent of a 65 watt incandescent. LED technology continues to advance rapidly with some LEDs producing 3 times that many lumens per watt. And the LED holds the top spot when it comes to longevity. The VU1 bulb lasts 10,000 hours, while LEDs average 40,000-60,000 hours. Check out our guide to LEDs here.

Nevertheless, the ESL is an energy efficient and environmentally friendly lighting option and VU1 could find a nice slice of the light bulb market, especially as the incandescent bulbs leave the building. As stated in this report on Bloomberg, VU1 is in talks with two major retailers in the U.S. to begin selling the ESL bulbs. The bulb, which received UL certification in October, currently sells on the company’s website for $19.95.

[Via: Technology Review]

10 thoughts on “New Luminescent Bulbs May Outshine LEDs and Fluorescents”

  1. These are a great idea, not because of power saving, but because they produce a better quality light than the other two “power saving” options. Personally, I would prefer not to have to buy products with mercury in them, nor expensive LED’s no matter how long they last, since both have poor lighting quality, and cannot be used to heat a room if needed, as can incandescent bulbs, in colder climates. The best solution, here in Arizona, would be to get the cost of solar panels down to where it would be cost efficient to have a solar system lighting your home (typically 5% or less of your usage) and not rely on the grid at all for this. True, you’ll probably have to spend quit a bit still for the REAL power hogs, air conditioning and cooling, refrigerators, TV’s, etc. I don’t get how saving 2% of your power bill a month by switching to other lighting, which costs, typically, years to pay back, will help anything, BUT if they outlaw the BEST lighting source ever…incandescent, I’ll have to go with quality of lighting, rather than energy saving factors, and therefore the ESL is a good choice.

  2. everybodies:
    I have seen the comments about LEDlight, they all think is its high price but its energy-saving,environment-protecting and any other advangages,ok ,with the development of LEDlight ,its price will be down ,i think LED light of RWJ Lighting Technology Co., Ltd is very good ,you can have a look.if you want ,i will let them give you the lower price ,see the website:

    1. Jeff, you contacted me and sugested that I buy some LEDs from a company in China. Why should I buy cheap junk from China when I know that the quality is poor? The industry in China needs first of all to be honest and secondly it needs to get on the ball with quality control. No one wants junk.

  3. This sounds like a great idea but one concern has me thinking. The old standard for television sets was the cathode ray tube, which emitted electromagnetic radiation, which was dangerous at close range. What are the effects of this technology in light bulbs at close range?

  4. EfficiencySeeker

    MetaEfficient has always the most interesting stories on the web. I heard of this bulb before eons ago. It might have actually been on this website. I can’t remember. If this bulb works like a cathode ray tube, does it also produce x rays like a crt and does the glass need to be leaded?

  5. The power factor is not important for power generation, but does affect distribution. A simple way of putting it is that fluorescents (also motors and other devices), create a sort of “back current” (not really, but sort of), that requires extra line capacity.

    So power companies charge for low power factors because they consume transmission capacity. You can neutralize this with capacitors, but that makes you consume a bit more, plus has an installation cost.

  6. I’ve done my best to research this bulb and I’ve never seen an article that says that they produce more lumens per watt; instead the newer articles talk about energy efficiency in terms of power factors and state that “he ESL bulb beats out the CFL and LED. ESL bulbs have a power factor rating of 0.95-0.99. CFL and LED lamps have a respective power factor 0.5 and 0.8”… I don’t really understand why power factor ratings are so important but apparent utility companies consider them to be important and charge industrial or commercial customers more when there is a low power factor.
    * See the above website for the quote I’ve included here

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