LED lamp is the world’s most efficient

12. dubna 2013 v 8:36 |  street light
Progress in the LED lighting industry can best be measured in two separate metrics: pricing and efficiency. Pricing gets most of the attention, but so many factors affect it - from the cost of materials to various subsidies - that it is primarily interesting as an overall trend. Efficiency, which is measured in terms of lumens-per-watt, is a better way to look at progress. It too depends on multiple factors (including the price of more expensive components) but the industry's steady increase in lumens-per-watt (lpw) is a less adulterated indicator of advances in technology and design.

In keeping with these advances, today Philips announced that they have created the world's most efficient warm white LED lamp. The prototype operates at 200 lumens-per-watt, a number that is more than double what is found in typical household LED products. The "warm white" part might seem like a minor detail, but it's actually rather important. The majority of people prefer their indoor lighting to be at warm white, usually 2700K, so gaining efficiency at this color temperature matters. Raising the color temperature is an easy way to increase efficiency (less color shift is necessary), so hitting 200 lpw with a 5000K lamp would be less of an accomplishment.

In the release Philips noted that the new TLED (tube-style light) does not compromise on light quality and that this is going to be a product for the real world. These are lighting industry code words for a CRI of above 80, color temperature of around 2700-3000K, and a respectable light pattern. At this point, this is likely more reflective of their goals than it is the current prototype.

Philips is calling their invention the "world's most energy-efficient LED lamp suitable for general lighting applications," but it's not a shape everyone will be familiar with. They opted for a tube-style light as opposed to a bulb shape. Any product that hits the market with this design would be more likely to land in an office than your living room, but as homes move away from traditional sockets and towards LED fixtures (at least in my estimation) we'll start seeing more lights like these. Before that point, Philips will want to use TLEDs like this to kill the fluorescent tube.

Philips expects their 200 lpw TLED to be available for purchase some time in 2015. While that's a solid 18 months away, if not more, at least there is a timeline in place. In the past we've seen announcements around the 200 lpw level, but often the company is just talking about a prototype that's off in lab, with no immediate production goals in mind. The manufacturers have been getting better about this though, and when Cree announced their 200 lpw LED in December, it become available for purchase shortly after. (Of course, a 200 lpw LED is quite different from a 200 lpw lamp due to downstream efficiency losses, but the general idea is the same.)

While this is all great news, there are some reasons to hold back your excitement. Mainly, 2015 is a long time away and Philips did not release any pricing expectations. It's way too early for pricing, but fluorescent tubes tend to be reasonably efficient, so even at 200 lpw Philips' TLED might look expensive to businesses that have hundreds to thousands of lamps to retrofit. Also, it could be the photograph, but the lamp being put into that integrating sphere doesn't look like 2700K, or even 3000K to me. In the picture the LED seems to be pushing into the "daylight" range, which is confirmed in reports that put the color temperature at 3000-4500K. The report notes that the 200 lpw number is a result of 1500 lumens produced using 7.5W.

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