A California company has developed a new type of light bulb, the size of a breath mint, that pumps out as much light as a street lamp. The bulb is twice as efficient as an LED, and 10 times as efficient as an incandescent light. It also produces a full spectrum of light frequencies, illuminating objects in true color.
The US Department of Energy has created a competition, called the L Prize, for designing new, high-efficiency lighting to replace the common light bulb. The competition will award up to $20 million in prizes.
Courtesy Tiago Daniel
We’ve written before about compact fluorescent light bulbs – a new type of bulb you can buy for your home that uses a lot less electricity than standard bulbs, and thus reduces pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. But are they all they’re cracked up to be?
Some environmental groups warn that the bulbs contain mercury, which can be toxic and difficult to clean up in the event of a broken bulb.
Researchers in England claim the bulbs can trigger migraines, epilepsy and lupus.
And a review panel assembled by the New York Times concluded that most CFL bulbs do not give off attractive light.
Though a step in the right direction, clearly there are still some bugs to work out of the bulbs.
It seems that everywhere I look, energy is in the news these days. Here are a few more stories that caught my eye recently.
Delaware is considering building a massive windfarm in the waters off their Atlantic coast. Experts estimate this could generate enough energy to light 130,000 homes. But some people raise concerns about the damage this might do to migratory birds, ocean shipping, and the natural beauty of the view.
Nano solar panels
We’ve discussed how nanotechnology might revolutionize solar energy elsewhere on this blog. Now come word from Rice University of a breakthrough: an efficient means of creating molecular-sized semiconductors, an important component of high-efficiency solar panels.
Green fuel guide
Ethanol. Biodiesel. Hydrogen. Lots of new fuels are vying to replace gasoline as the automotive energy of the future. Popular Science magazine gives a run-down on the pros and cons of each.
All about CFLs
We’ve had a couple of threads here on Compact Fluorescent Bulbs and the advantages of replacing your regular bulbs with low-energy CFLs. For those who want to learn more, here’s a handy round-up, telling you everything you need to know about these bulbs.
The website One Billion Bulbs want to help reduce pollution, energy consumption, and greenhouse gases by getting people worldwide to change their old-style incandescent light bulbs to new compact fluorescents. Their goal: one billion light bulbs changed.
They still have a ways to go. As of this morning, they were around 56,000.
Science Buzz has decided to help! We want to see how many light bulbs our devoted readers can change. If you’re interested, go to this site. Click on “Join the Group” and register. Then, as you change out your light bulbs, record your activity.
The home page of One Billion Bulbs lists the most active groups. We’d like to see Science Buzz on that list! Join now!.
Want to know how much money you’ll save, and how much pollution you’ll prevent, by changing to fluorescent bulbs? Use this handy calculator:
(How many Science Buzz readers does it take to change a light bulb? We’ll find out soon enough!)
I am going on an energy diet. Each year I hope to reduce the amount of energy I use. By recording the gallons of gas, the electricity, and the natural gas I pay for each year, I will measure my success.
“The Energy Diet,” a story in Thursday’s Home & Garden section of the New York Times gave me this idea. Its author, Andrew Postman, asks, "What would you be willing — or not willing — to give up in order to lessen your household’s impact on the environment?" So far, 159 people have answered in their comments.
Please use comments to tell me what you are doing to reduce your energy consumption. I will add the most commonly used ones to this list.