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GE Announces Advancement in Incandescent Technology

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 7 years ago | from the never-underestimate-ingenuity dept.

Power 619

finfife writes to tell us that GE has announced an advancement in incandescent technology that promises to increase the efficiency of lightbulbs to put them on par with compact fluorescent lamps (CFL). "The new high efficiency incandescent (HEI(TM)) lamp, which incorporates innovative new materials being developed in partnership by GE's Lighting division, headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, and GE's Global Research Center, headquartered in Niskayuna, NY, would replace traditional 40- to 100-Watt household incandescent light bulbs, the most popular lamp type used by consumers today. The new technology could be expanded to all other incandescent types as well. The target for these bulbs at initial production is to be nearly twice as efficient, at 30 lumens-per-Watt, as current incandescent bulbs. Ultimately the high efficiency lamp (HEI) technology is expected to be about four times as efficient as current incandescent bulbs and comparable to CFL bulbs. Adoption of new technology could lead to greenhouse gas emission reductions of up to 40 million tons of CO2 in the U.S. and up to 50 million tons in the EU if the entire installed base of traditional incandescent bulbs was replaced with HEI lamps."The California legislature may want to revisit the wording of their proposed ban on incandescents (AB 722). How about mandating a level of efficiency rather than assuming that innovation can't happen?"

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There are times (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18158110)

There are times when you *need* incandescent lighting, photography for one. Fluorescent is not suitable in all cases. And initial costs of fluorescents are more because you need the ballast etc.

The fact that these lawmakers don't understand enough of the technology to make it workable really gets on my chimes.

Re:There are times (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18158266)

"The fact that these lawmakers don't understand enough of the technology to make it workable really gets on my chimes."

Wait... are we talking lightbulbs or doorbells here??

Re:There are times (0, Offtopic)

c00rdb (945666) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158502)

I bet both AC's are the same person, he just set himself up for his own joke to get modded as funny!

Re:There are times (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18158602)

This is at least the third 'first post' that involves chimes, I guess if something gets on your chimes it means its annoying. Whats going on with the getting on chimes trend lately? what are your chimes, and why if something gets on them it is a bad thing?

- confused

Re:There are times (1)

Nos. (179609) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158744)

However, CFL's have the ballast built in, though that would account for some of the higher cost of the bulbs overall.

Could be quite useful... (4, Interesting)

SECProto (790283) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158122)

Now, people may get another option in lighting. CFLs cause an annoying flashing in the corners of mine, and other peoples, eyes. Not to mention, some people like the "warm" yellow colour of common incandescents. Could be an intriguing development of lighting technologies.

Re:Could be quite useful... (4, Informative)

Paulrothrock (685079) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158196)

If you're not getting "warm" colors from CFL bulbs, you're probably using older bulbs. The flickering also points to this. My wife can't stand CRT monitors at 75Hz, but she hasn't complained about our CFL bulbs flickering. She's also got insanely good hearing and doesn't hear them buzz.

This is like the complaint people have with diesel engines. Yeah, the first diesels in the US were smokey and loud and slow, but new ones are virtually indistinguishable from gas engines and use 50% less fuel or more. Yet, people still avoid them because they don't want a "noisy, smokey, slow diesel car."

Re:Could be quite useful... (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158240)

I'll give you that they aren't smokey and slow. But I'm sorry, youa re dead wrong: a Diesel Engine is WAY louder than a gas engine. Why?

Can you say 18:1 compression?

Re: way louder.... (1)

CodeShark (17400) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158318)

Not necessarily. I have heard quiet running diesels that put out far less sound than a comparably powered gasoline engine -- and are cleaner burning and less vibration intensive as well. What can't be compared is an average engine in each power range -- there are way too many design variables to simply look at noise as an engine constraint.

Re: way louder.... (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158452)

True, Diesel's have come a long way in the noise department...but still, when you have pistons the sizes of a small child's head, it's difficult to make a Diesel quiet:-)

That said, I wish the US would switch over to more diesel engines...of course, what with the way American car manufacturers design their shit to die in 3-5 years, I don't think they want engines that last three to four times that sitting in their cars...

Re: way louder.... (3, Informative)

vought (160908) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158764)

True, Diesel's

Diesel's what? His engine?

have come a long way in the noise department...but still, when you have pistons the sizes of a small child's head, it's difficult to make a Diesel quiet:-)

I'd beg to differ. A Lexus RX330 we have stabled here has obnoxiously noisy gasoline injectors which are far louder at idle than a friend's Jetta TDI (Volkswagen Turbo Diesel). Not all Diesel engines are built by Caterpillar.

Primary stumbling blocks to Diesel adoption her in the states have been our strict particulate and NOx emissions rules, particularly in California and other states that have adopted California Air Resource Board rules. Urea injection will help to solve the NOx problem, and ultra-low sulfur and advanced fuel injection technologies will do the rest.

Audi's Diesel-powered direct injection race cars are loud - but they also won LeMans this year. Diesels look to be on the verge of a very big comeback, and a lot of money is being dumped into these efficient petrochemical engines.

Like the Diesel engine, the incandescent bulb is a product which can be made far more efficient and competitive while retaining it's inherent advantages - but only if the makers of these products are sufficiently goaded into investing in the R&D to make these advances happen. Australia and California, by proposing CFL-only laws to save energy are providing that incentive.

Re:Could be quite useful... (1)

SECProto (790283) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158402)

The thing is, people get exposure to diesel cars when they are out in public - whereas the fluorescent lights a person is likely to encounter would not be a compact fluorescent but a long, tube-shaped industrial grade (or however you like to refer to it). Which are always a blue-white colour instead of the yellow-white shade which I prefer.

Re:Could be quite useful... (1)

eugene ts wong (231154) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158432)

She can't hear the buzzing? I'm surprised. Maybe it's the quality, and not the age of bulb. My hearing is bad, and I can hear buzzing in lamps that I bought about 3 years ago. Also, maybe it's the location. This particular lamp is in a small washroom, right in the corner, and next to a mirror. Maybe the location amplifies the sound.

No. (1)

Gary W. Longsine (124661) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158726)

I have tried some modern CFL bulbs quite recently. They suck. I for one welcome our efficient incandencent patent holding overlords.

Re:Could be quite useful... (5, Informative)

danpat (119101) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158236)

Have you tried any of the newer CFL's with non-magnetic ballasts? The oscilation frequency is now much higher, beyond what the human
eye can typically perceive.

Also, CFL's come in a range of color temperatures, some of which match "warm yellow" from traditional incandescents. They're not all "hard white".

A quick reference: http://medfordcan.home.comcast.net/Myths.html [comcast.net]

Re:Could be quite useful... (1)

SECProto (790283) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158364)

Thanks for the link. All the bulbs I have ever seen (and used) are more of a blue-white shade. And I simply prefer the more yellow tone of traditional incandescents.

As for the newer CFLs, the ones I'm using are just standard ones I pick up from Canadian Tire - I'm not sure, maybe the technology isn't as widespread up here? These bulbs are probably about two years old, if that makes a difference.

Re:Could be quite useful... (1)

ryanov (193048) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158404)

In the US, it does. CFL's that are the warmer color seem to have become widespread in the last 12 months or so.

Re:Could be quite useful... (1)

adonoman (624929) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158624)

Canadian tire here has the "soft white" versions here in Manitoba at least. Just stay away from the "cool white" ones which are the harsh blue colour.

I'll believe it when I see it. (1)

goodmanj (234846) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158472)

Nice press release. Could this be low-pressure sodium vaporware?

Re:I'll believe it when I see it. (1)

goodmanj (234846) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158622)

Also, according to this site [lamptech.co.uk] (which manufactures low-pressure sodium lamps) doubling the efficiency of traditional incandescents to 30 lumens/watt would leave them less efficient than halogens and LEDs, and still far, far short of fluorescents.

Re:Could be quite useful... (2, Informative)

finarfinjge (612748) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158484)

I'm not sure what the human eye can perceive, but my wife's migraines went away when we ditched our CFL's. And yes, they were the newer "not flickering" type. Interesting link. Looks like advocacy rather than information to me. Not as bad as a wikipedia ref, but almost.

Cheers
JE

Just in time innovation? (1, Funny)

gsyswerda (550684) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158124)

I didn't know you could do this kind of thing on a schedule!

They Use Tungsten Vapourware Technology (3, Interesting)

ergo98 (9391) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158396)

Of course there should be skepticism, because it sounds like GE pulled some amazing innovation of out their subsidiaryhole just in time to fend off legislation.

Of course any legislation that talks journey rather than destination is misguided -- it is efficiency and other measurable metrics (e.g. amount of waste per unit, for instance) that matters, not how you get there. Putting specifics into the wording sounds more like some lobbyists got their money's worth.

Having said all of that, anyone who walks into a store and buys an incandescent is either a) stupid, b) very stupid, or c) they live in an apartment with unmetered electricity. I have a house full of CFs, and have had them for half a decade now, and not only is the colour pleasing with the modern ones, and there is zero flicker or start-up lag, but in the entire time I've owned CFs I've changed two whole bulbs, one being used outside in -25C temperature when it was only rated for indoor use.

Re:They Use Tungsten Vapourware Technology (2, Informative)

armandojinx (1049566) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158488)

I agree with everything you said, but as has been noted, CFL have mercury in them. There is a disposal problem that's going to start looking nasty in a couple of years. Most people have no idea about this. As long as folks handle the disposal of CFLs properly (they won't), this isn't an issue (it is).

Re:They Use Tungsten Vapourware Technology (2, Interesting)

ergo98 (9391) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158706)

I agree with everything you said, but as has been noted, CFL have mercury in them.

This will definitely be an issue, though I'm sure soon enough household waste pickup will have a separate category for the various toxic items that fill our lives. For instance batteries are appearing everywhere -- just finished a box of Rice Crispies to find a little watch/projection light thing in the bottom, already with battery, and this is only the latest of dozens of these sorts of things.

Didn't know this before now, but a CF has 1/5 the amount of mercury that's in a common watch battery [nrcan.gc.ca] .

Curious timing (5, Interesting)

oskay (932940) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158150)

I wonder how long they've been sitting on this!

Re:Curious timing (1)

Stephen Ma (163056) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158766)

And I wonder how durable the newfangled incandescent bulb is. I find it suspicious that the article mentions nothing about that.

Regardless of how efficient the new bulb is, it will be a net loss to the environment (and possibly to everyone's pocketbook) if it only lasts half as long as a normal bulb.

When and where? (2, Interesting)

edmicman (830206) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158154)

Sounds good and all, but when is this new stuff going to be at stores? If it's going to take 1-2 years before we see anything at the stores, won't CFL technology in turn have improved that much more by then?

Re:When and where? (1)

AaronW (33736) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158422)

According to TFA the new bulbs won't be available until 2010 and who knows how long for the 4x efficient bulbs (which is still a bit less than a decent CFL).
-Aaron

Government don't play that (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18158160)

How about mandating a level of efficiency rather than assuming that innovation can't happen?"

That doesn't work, because it doesn't help the government have a vast and inefficient morass of laws which no citizen can completely remember and comprehend. Making laws concerning very specific things, which may eventually be completely out of date yet nevertheless remain on the books, helps the government achieve its goals.

I don't believe it... (5, Insightful)

nweaver (113078) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158166)

Here's why. These are INCANDESCENTs. Glowing filliments. You can try to reduce the radiation in the UV and IR, but you aren't going to get rid of it. Running hotter (the Halogen way) ups the UV content which gets filtered out or flouresced down (and if you have a flourescent coating, why not just have a compact flourescent).

This is mostly a Political Marketing statement, trying to forestall bans or taxes on incandescent bulbs, as although incandescents costs more in the long run, they are cheaper when you pay at the register so people still buy a lot of them.

Personally, I'd not want a BAN on incandescents, just a "wattage tax" on lightbulbs, say $4/100W tax on bulbs regardless of the mechanism (LED, CFL, incandescent). Just something equivelent to 1 hour a day use for 1 year (assuming .14 kwh power cost), so that at the register you actually see what the bulb will cost.

Re:I don't believe it... (2, Interesting)

mikelieman (35628) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158248)

Makes me wonder what other changes they're sitting on which could save money. Perhaps they already have the 4X version sitting on a workbench somewhere waiting for the time they'll need it for PR and/or Compliance purposes.

They make Power Generating Stations AND Lightbulbs? What's wrong with this picture?

Re:I don't believe it... (4, Funny)

j00r0m4nc3r (959816) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158328)

Maybe they have a "Turbo" switch somewhere that will make my PC run even faster!

Re:I don't believe it... (4, Insightful)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158334)

Running hotter (the Halogen way) ups the UV content which gets filtered out or flouresced down (and if you have a flourescent coating, why not just have a compact flourescent).

Plenty of reasons. Fluorescents aren't full spectrum; CFLs contain mercury; CFLs are expensive to manufacture; etc...

Re:I don't believe it... (4, Insightful)

PPGMD (679725) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158474)

I highly doubt that this is simply a marketing statement or that it was a technology that they were just sitting on waiting for proposed bans on their products. Likely they noticed that CFL were cutting into the sales of their regular bulbs and developed the technology so that they can compete.

Why does nearly everyone on /. assume that every company is out to deceive them? or that every press release (unless it's from Google or Apple) is a marketing lie? Sure every company is out to make money, but not every company is an Enron. CFLs are the perfect product, I use a ton of them, but there are certain applications where they are too costly to run because of less time on vs on/off cycles. I welcome this if they work as well as regular bulbs and last as long they will allow me to bring those rooms in line with the cost savings that my other rooms get with CFLs.

Re:I don't believe it... (1)

PPGMD (679725) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158514)

Err I missed one thing are = aren't in the sentence "CFLs are a perfect product"

Why I dont' believe it... (1)

nweaver (113078) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158674)

Because the bulb physics are VERY well known, its classic black body radiation.

You can make them more efficient by running them hotter (its how halogens work), and this breakthrough is probably a similar high-temperature filliment strategy, allowing you to get the halogen efficiency (better than a standard incandescent but worse than a CFL) out of something fitting in the standard incandescent form factor. But you can't beat direct radiation technologies (CFL, LED).

Likewise, I'd bet that these bulbs are deep in the blue, hardly the "warm light" (which is a cool color temperature) that people profess they like better about incandescents.

Re:I don't believe it... (5, Insightful)

edwardpickman (965122) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158524)

I agree on the overstating of efficency. Odds are the process has been known for years how to make the bulbs more efficent but chances are it would make them more expensive resulting in fewer sales so they never moved ahead with the technology. The hands down winner though are LED bulbs. They use little power and have insanely long lives and don't suffer from surge shock like filament bulbs and even flourecent. The problem is obviously cost. It'll drop but it's hard to say how much and how fast. They are already being used in hard to reach areas to avoid the labor expense of replacement.

I noticed several responders mentioning taxes and such. It's a mindset we have to be careful of. There's an attitude I noticed with a lot of SUV drivers that they'd prefer to pay a tax and keep driving the beasts. The problem is we need to get them off the road period not just tax them. There was an argument made in Who Killed the Electric Car? that we'll need more coal plants for all the electric cars. Well here's a little food for thought. If all the incandescents were changed to compact florescents not only could every home in amercia charge their electric cars without needing more plants and their electric bills would actually go down. Electric lights are still the biggest single use of electricity in this country.

Why taxes... (1)

nweaver (113078) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158596)

Because taxes are a much better mechanism than an outright ban. There are still reasons for incandescents (there are NO good chandileer style CFL bulbs, CFLs are less weather resistant, etc), and if those uses are worth something, they are worth an extra buck or two a bulb.

Re:I don't believe it... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18158542)

Theoretically, all you need to do is keep the heat from leaking out of the bulb (radiation and conduction). Keep the filament hot with less electricity and you raise the efficiency.

Re:I don't believe it... (2, Interesting)

Radon360 (951529) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158700)

This is mostly a Political Marketing statement, trying to forestall bans or taxes on incandescent bulbs, as although incandescents costs more in the long run, they are cheaper when you pay at the register so people still buy a lot of them.

Why? General Electric is probably the largest manufacturer of CFLs. Because there's more to the manufacturing process of a CFL, they're more expensive to make. Assuming that they have a 10% profit margin on both, the CFL bulb will make them more money.

My guess is that they know there is still a demand for incandescent technology for specialized applications and for those who demand incandescent lighting, so they have found a way to make it more efficient. Perhaps not as good as a CFL or LED, but nonetheless, its a win-win for cases where incandescent is ultimately used.

Re:I don't believe it... (5, Interesting)

Your Pal Dave (33229) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158758)

They might be using tungsten photonic lattice technology [sandia.gov] . Note that this is an article from 2002, and claims a similar efficiency. IIRC this was discussed on /. at the time:

Now a microscopic tungsten lattice -- in effect, a tungsten filament fabricated with an internal crystalline pattern -- developed at Sandia has been shown to have the potential to transmute the majority of this wasted infrared energy (commonly called heat) into the frequencies of visible light.

This would raise the efficiency of an incandescent electric bulb from five percent to greater than 60 percent and greatly reduce the world's most vexing power problem -- excess electrical generating capacity and costs to homeowners caused by inefficient lighting.


Five years to market doesn't sound especially unreasonable to me.

Curious (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158168)

On the one hand, GE is the market leader in CFLs (thanks to Wal Mart) & is building another plant or two in China so they can increase production.

OTOH, each and every CFL is handmade, which is why they're so much more expensive.

My guess is that these HEI bulbs will be significantly cheaper, even if they don't have the same lifespan, which should make them a net plus. And you can put them into fixtures that CFls are either cosmetically or technically untenable.

Re:Curious (1)

Sporkinum (655143) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158408)

Virtually every CFL I have had lasted less long than an incandesent. I major plus for this new technology would be a low wattage bright bulb that fits current fixtures. I have a lot of fixtures that cant use them, as well as outdoors or inside the oven.

Re:Curious (1)

jandrese (485) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158600)

Stop buying such crappy CFLs. I bought a whole house full of the things when I bought my house (4 years ago) and I've only had to replace 1 of them thus far (and it was obviously defective).

My Mother-in-Law always leaves her lights on but never changes bulbs herself (she's not all right in the head), it used to be a common ritual when I visit her to replace half of the bulbs in her house. I finally got tired of it and brought a big pack of CFLs and replaced all of her bulbs. I haven't had to replace a single one of those CFLs yet, they've already lasted between two and three times as long as her other bulbs. As and added bonus I saved her a fair bit on her power bill.

How do they work? (1)

spun (1352) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158172)

Any clue, anyone? The press release is awfully skimpy on the details, and a quick search of GEs site reveals no additional documentation.

Incandescent doesn't mean low effecency.... (4, Interesting)

cloudance (139340) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158178)

Good god I hope California does put in a minimum efficiency rather than just outlawing Incandescants....

I decided to be a good citizen and replace the burnt out bulb in my bathroom this weekend with a Daylight CFL that's rated at "42 watts but gives off as much light as a 100w incandescant". I put it in, turned it on, and could get the damned thing out of there fast enough. The light color just sucked... was far too "flourescent" for anyone to stand. I'm sure *someone* out there likes the sterility and coldness of flourescent light, but it sure ain't me and my wife. I went back to Home Depot, returned the bulb, and bough a high effeciency Halogen that takes 27 watts but puts out as much light as a 100 watt bulb. The perfect color of light, higher effeciency than the CFL, and lasts two years.... and it's an "incandescent" that would be outlawed.

Re:Incandescent doesn't mean low effecency.... (5, Informative)

Alioth (221270) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158294)

That's because you got a Daylight model. You can buy CFLs in incandescent orange if you want. I have one in the lamp across the room right now, and it's virtually indistinguishable from the incandescents I have (certainly a 'warmer' colour than halogen lights, that I have in the downlighter fixtures).

You can get CFLs in pretty much any colour you like.

Re:Incandescent doesn't mean low effecency.... (1)

atomic777 (860023) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158338)

It really makes a difference what quality CFL bulbs you get. If you buy the cheapest Ikea brand, 3 for $5, the light quality is atrocious and barely acceptable as an outdoor porch light. If you spend money on the higher quality bulbs, the light produced is almost as good as incandescent, IMO, especially if you have a translucent filter like a lamp shade or whatever.

Re:Incandescent doesn't mean low effecency.... (1)

cybrthng (22291) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158412)

To each there own. There are good bulbs and bad ones. I'm not fond of most CFL's but in my opinion Halogen's put out more heat then I care to do with. A good light store will help you find what is best and thats how i converted to LED for most of my lighting. I've cut my bill from 130/month to just over 55 by replacing much ouf our external flood lights and most "always on" living space lights (kitchen/living room & bathrooms) nearly 20 flood lights was costing me more than i thought but we like the security of lights when they're on.

Re:Incandescent doesn't mean low effecency.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18158730)

what security are you referring to? I'm pretty sure photons are not going to protect you.

Re:Incandescent doesn't mean low effecency.... (1)

Atticka (175794) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158546)

Well, the problem right there is that you bought the brightest "daylight" CFL available. 42W is in the upper range for CFL's. The CFL bulb your looking for is probably an 8-11W bulb with a warmer coloring.

I have both daylight and warm CFL's throughout my house and find the coloring just fine.

Re:Incandescent doesn't mean low effecency.... (1)

rmstar (114746) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158588)

I've had incandecent lamps for a while. They take some time to warm up. After about five minutes i can't tell the difference to an incandescent any more.

So maybe you screwed it out too fast :-)

Re:Incandescent doesn't mean low effecency.... (4, Informative)

AaronW (33736) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158626)

That's because you bought daylight bulbs. They are supposed to look like that since their color temperature is typically 6500K which approximates the color temperature of the sun. If your eyes have not adjusted to it and there are regular warm bulbs nearby then it will look bluish. Next time buy one with a lower color temperature, like 2800-3500K. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Color_temperature [wikipedia.org] for more information.

-Aaron

Even better (1)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158184)

How about mandating a level of efficiency rather than assuming that innovation can't happen?

How about charging for the abatement costs ($3 per ton of CO2 or whatever) and let people decide for themselves what activities are still worth it?

Remember efficiency is the ratio of value provided per input required. I accept that you can know the latter, but since you can't know the former, you can't really know what's inefficient for any on person.

Charging by the *output* you want to get rid of would cover all existing uses of energy and all future as-of-yet unknown energy uses, instead of scapegoating those who like incandescent light for the high energy consumption of Mr. and Mrs. Howmuchamonth in their giant home in suburbia.

Re:Even better (1)

Silentknyght (1042778) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158490)

The abatement cost would likely be more complicated, and much much lower, than that. I work in the environmental consulting field. For many states (likely most, though I cannot speak with certainty), companies report their emissions and receive a bill in dollars per ton for certain pollutants (carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, particulate matter smaller than ten microns in diameter (pm10), etc.).

Carbon dioxide isn't even on the radar insofar as a pollutant is concerned (last time I checked, there was a political debate over whether or not to call CO2 a pollutant); I can tell you that it's not a billable pollutant in my state, and it's not something we record or calculate for a yearly emissions inventory.

Just for a back of the envelope calculation, 1 ton of coal produces around 5,500 kilowatt-hours, or enough to power about 6 100w lightbulbs an entire year, constant operation. For filterable PM10, you're looking around 10'ish pounds per ton of coal, uncontrolled. While untrue, let's assume it's the same for other pollutants, and that there are 4 other billable pollutants. An annual emissions fee of $150/ton is not unreasonable.

Therefore, we have about $0.70 of pollutants per year, per lightbulb, with all the assumptions, above. Feel free to critique the math or logic.

Re:Even better (1)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158512)

Why charge a fee when selling the device (which does nothing on its own) instead of on the energy used to run it then?

And if you're going to use taxation to influence behavior, why not go all out? Do what CA is doing and ban the activity you disapprove of. After all, we should have civil liberties as long as everybody chooses to use them the way you do. Or just cap people's maximum debt level to 1.5x or 2x their annual income so they have to choose your lifestyle. Or just embed a chip in their head and control them remotely. After all, energy consumption is evil. It has to be, since we've effectively banned all of the practical, non-polluting generation technologies that currently exist unless we all go back to living in a mud hut and consume only soy products and anti-microbials.

Re:Even better (1)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158642)

Why charge a fee when selling the device (which does nothing on its own) instead of on the energy used to run it then?

Er, that's exactly what I meant: don't tax the device; tax the actual bad you're looking to abate: the C02 emissions when the energy is produced.

And if you're going to use taxation to influence behavior, why not go all out? Do what CA is doing and ban the activity you disapprove of. ...

Calm down. The justification for taxing CO2 emissions has nothing to do with personal preferences and everything to do with the abating the harms to other unconsenting victims (*if* the estimates are right, which is a rather imporant "if").

Lesson learned? (1)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158186)

Governments should not try to micromanage. They may want greater efficiency, but when mandating specific technologies, they risk stifling innovation. Bottom line, ratchet up the minimum efficiency level and leave it at that.

This is the real problem (3, Insightful)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158378)

W. has given a series of tax breaks to Coal and Oil and has our troops guarding major pipelines where the oil companies are having issues (Iraq comes to mind). In addition, he has dropped a number of needed environmental protections and possible fines. IOW, he has artificially lowered the costs of Oil and Coal. He is pouring money into hydrogen research, while trying to cut all other avenues.

OTH, there has been damn little incentives for nukes or Alternatives. Now you have states offering incentives for highly unprofitable solar or even ethanol production (which is still unprofitable)and saying that they will ban products. What is needed is for gov. to drop all the incentives and the playing games with picking techs. If they want to encourage us to move away from imports and dirty items, then simply increase the tax on a good in such a way that it encourages alternatives. In particular, rather than banning incandescents, a simple tax based on energy usage would have a much higher impact on creating alternatives. In fact, if they go the route of taxing the energy, then they should tax the pollutants such as the mercury. But this approach of gov. encouraging a particular tech is fool hardy and will lead us down the same road. Basically, it will put the west on a single type of tech which will give us the same damn problem.

Conundrum (0)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158190)

Well, the Aussies ought to go incandescent that their recent forward-looking legislation was a waste...

Hey, is this mic turned on?

Re:Conundrum (1)

mabinogi (74033) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158254)

Actually, the proposed legislation in Australia was a gradual increase in the minimum energy efficiency standards.
Something that fits right in with this development, so not a waste at all.

timing/$? (0)

ack154 (591432) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158192)

So no mention of when they might go to market? Or if the pricing would be comparable to current incandescents?

While I realize there are certain instances where people want/prefer/need to have incandescents, I think a factor for most people switching to the CFLs is $$ upfront.

Or did I just miss that in TFA?

Price? (1)

c04st3r (1067944) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158206)

How much will they cost though....CFL's are about twice as efficient...but the majority of people still buy incandescent bulbs

Seems rather late than just in time.. (2, Interesting)

cybrthng (22291) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158258)

LED's are the way to go if you ask me. Long life span, great performance, more color availability (more "soft" colors/natural looking lights). LED flood lights put out 200-300 lumens @ 7-11 watts of power. I replaced 16 external lights with LEDS and while it was a bit upfront cash my power bill has dropped drastically and no more whipping out the ladder every 2 months to replace burned out bulbs or ones damaged in the weather.

less garbage over the lifespan, less electricity, less footprint. Seems a dollar short and a day late if you ask me.

Re:Seems rather late than just in time.. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18158336)

Write back when LEDs replacement bulbs don't cost $50+ for the equivalent of a 40W incandescent buld, and when they're dimmable like modern CFLs using standard household dimmer switches.

Re:Seems rather late than just in time.. (2, Informative)

cybrthng (22291) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158578)

Thats odd. Every CFL I have explicity states non-dimmer but every LED i've purchased is dimmer capable. CFL's are usually only rated for max power and if you aren't providing that power they wont "fire".

I purchased LED floods for less than 50 bucks a piece (38.00 - found on froogle - did purchase 20 of them though) but when you figure in the lifespan of 20-30,000 hours they're not only cheaper in cost but cheaper in long term power use as well.

Re:Seems rather late than just in time.. (1)

ryanov (193048) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158500)

I have been looking, and have not found, 7-watt replacement outdoor Toro/Malibu bulbs. I have outdoor lighting that burns out regularly and I'd love to throw LED's in there and be done with it (cost be damned). I haven't seen them yet, though.

Re:Seems rather late than just in time.. (1)

cybrthng (22291) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158650)

I did a search on froogle and found a few sites that had great prices. LED is getting VERY competitive and what was 99-120.00 a light a year ago is around 39-51.00 a light if you don't mind going with a non "boutique" name.

I purchased 20 LED "flood" lights and got a quantity discount. A decent investment upfront indeed but my first bill has already shown how much the others literally "sucked". Perhaps with people putting priority on these lights they will get even cheaper.

I'll work on replacing even my CFL's soon.

Re:Seems rather late than just in time.. (1)

Xoltri (1052470) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158586)

Where did you buy them. Any online sources?

Re:Seems rather late than just in time.. (2, Informative)

cybrthng (22291) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158704)

I purchased my LED lamps from http://www.besthomeledlighting.com/ [besthomeledlighting.com] they gave me a quantity discount. There are many others out there as well. I just think of it as a 0% interest buy down on my electricity for the next 2 years and after that its pure ROI :)

Re:Seems rather late than just in time.. (1)

WarwickRyan (780794) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158590)

If you don't have to replace them regularly, then there's no money manufactoring them.

Like any other industry, the lightbulb industry'll do their best to squash any product that'll damage their industry in the long run. So LEDs are out.

Re:Seems rather late than just in time.. (1)

Xoltri (1052470) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158612)

I highly doubt that. If LED bulbs never need to be replaced, they will just be really expensive. They will not however cease to exist due to some conspiracy theory.

a bit late methinks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18158260)

Looks like a scramble attempt to save their market, considering their competitors seem to have better control of CFLs. Either they have been sitting on the technology and are losing their bet on waiting to bring it to market, or they are close to it and are scrambling to delay the legislation to keep their cash cow.

So.. (1)

JustNiz (692889) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158284)

This came along too quickly after the threat of a ban on their products for GE to have innovated this recently.
So why did it take the threat of a ban on their products before GE made this technology available?
Could it be that the cost of a tooling change was more important to them than our environment?
 

Re:So.. (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158606)

Could it be that the cost of a tooling change was more important to them than our environment?

Could it be that companies sell what consumers are willing to buy, and they didn't believe enough people would buy these lamps at prices which probably are not cost-competitive with current incandescents?

Of course, it's possible that these pieces of legislation came along only when GE had a solution. Entirely possible. It's even possible for the legislation in Australia to have been created solely to make it look less like this was true, especially given how the land down under has been all-too-willing to do anything the USA says of late. But is that really the most likely scenario?

banning incadescent light bulbs is silly !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18158296)

Everything is relative ...

It might make sense to ban incadescent light bulbs in an area that is air coditioned. ... if you like the alternatives.

It is just plain silly and pointless in an area (ie Seattle) that is primarily electrical resistance heating. (the "waste" heat of the bulb is NOT wasted.)

and I detest flourescent lighting.

LED lights are an interesting development but still too expensive.

mercury in flourescents (1)

geoffrobinson (109879) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158342)

If memory serves, there is mercury in flourescents. So an improvement in the old bulbs would negate a new problem.

it was the better bet. (1)

Truekaiser (724672) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158348)

assuming that innovation can't happen?

assuming that inovation won't solve a problem* is the safest bet. because assuming it will is like assuming you will win the lottery so you can pay the bill for that half a million dollor boat you just got using your credit card.

*note i do not define global warming as a problem, but as a human induced change of the enviroment that we must adapt too.

Why close plants then? (3, Interesting)

Iamwin (715797) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158352)

If this is so wonderful, why is GE closing one the two remaining Incandescent light plants in the US? http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/business/stories. nsf/story/8D30EC3A4F735E358625728C000EE86C?OpenDoc ument [stltoday.com]

Re:Why close plants then? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158568)

If this is so wonderful, why is GE closing one the two remaining Incandescent light plants in the US?

As per the FA you linked yourself, "GE will close the 96-year-old plant in Wellston on Wednesday and lay off 175 workers because of rising imports and slumping domestic demand for the soft-white standard incandescent light bulbs assembled there."

Perhaps you should learn to read things before you link them.

Might be the end of CFL's? (1)

RebelSponge (1065066) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158356)

If these bulbs can be as energy efficient as they claim, and they can keep the good qualities of incandescents, then CFL's may become obsolete. The two major benefits of CFL's are reduced energy usage and increased life expectancy. These bulbs promise the same energy savings while keeping the benefits of traditional bulbs (instant on, color sprectrum, ability to dim, bulb type varieties). The only thing not mentioned in the article is the life expectancy. Newer CFL's last anywhere from 4-10 times longer than traditional incandescents. If these new bulbs can last 2-5 times longer than current incandescents and cost less than CFL's, then they may eliminate the need/desire for CFL's.

Re:Might be the end of CFL's? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158694)

If these new bulbs can last 2-5 times longer than current incandescents and cost less than CFL's, then they may eliminate the need/desire for CFL's.

If they have less/no mercury in them and last as long as a current incandescent, I'll still be happier than with CFL.

Frankly I don't care if the energy consumption is twice as much as a CFL, I'd still rather use this if it delivers on its promises, because the best light from a CFL is still crap compared to a broad-spectrum incandescent, which is what I use to read by now.

market response conspiracy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18158358)

Just tossing out this sort of paranoid conspiracy idea for the hell of it since it just popped into my head as I was reading.

What if there is some big elite conspiracy sitting on all this technology already but refusing to release it to the public? Like say efficient light bulbs, maybe some alternative to oil that could allow us to be independent but for reasons of power and control and profit taking this stuff is withheld. Then California comes along and enough people have some resolve to say screw it, We want electric cars, we're getting rid of incandescent light bulbs. Then with the most astounding and convenient utterly coincidental timing: "Hey guess what we just discovered/innovated.... efficient incandescent light bulbs" Wow isn't this great? Golly gee shucks ain't this great for all of us?

And with the profits from all these light bulbs GE can make more military tech so we can go have another adventure for the sake of "Freedom" etc... But I'm getting off on to a tangent, check out "Who killed the electric car?"... I'M feeling too lazy to dig up an IMDB link but it's probably on a torrent near you.

I'm just so jaded and cynical in my old age. I just can't believe it's innocent or dumb luck. I just have a feeling that somewhere there are a bunch of dirty rats and we need to call an exterminator.

interesting timing (1)

amigabill (146897) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158372)

The California legislature may want to revisit the wording of their proposed ban on incandescents (AB 722).

Anyone else find it curious that the timing of this announcement comes so close after California's proposal was announced? Is it really coincidence that these two things happen together, or did California's proposal create motivation for these guys to actualy do something with this tech that's been laying around going nowhere, perhaps it was thought to be too expensive or something for consumers to go for it without some "encouragment" such as what California is talking about? Was it found a while ago, and not developed to it's full capabilities, but now it's suddenly worth taking further?

Re:interesting timing (1)

ThosLives (686517) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158564)

Could be, but the big problem with the legislation (if it really bans "incandescent lamps") is that it is mandating an implementation rather than legislating a desired result.

Anyone with decent training and/or experience in the realm of requirements knows that you *never* specify an implementation because you will end up getting undesired consequences. You specify the desired result, and a means to test that you have achieved that result. That way innovation is not hampered by having to re-write laws to accommodate reality (such as the old EPA regulation that said if the city fuel economy of a car was higher than the highway, the label had to put the highway number; lots of waste took place when the first hybrids came out because the law did not reflect physical reality and they had to change the regs).

(As an aside, there are two types of legislation - legislation on physical phenomenon should be on the effects rather than implementation, where legislation on behavior or processes can often be on the implementation without conflicting with physical reality.)

Waste disposal is a big issue (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158446)

CFLs cause mercury contamination. I am not very happy with the current state of garbage disposal. They charge you 3$ to dispose you old battery or 1$ to dispose the oil. But some idiots would save three bucks by taking back their old batteries and tossing them into the swamp or the river and create more problems. Hundred of us might pay the disposal fee and all it takes is one idiot to get the bright idea to save three bucks to nullify it all

I think the cost of proper disposal of any of these things, tires, batteries, bulbs should be built into the cost as a tax and kept as waste management fund. There should be an indenpendant agency to pay out from the fund to waste disposal companies who document the number of batteries, tires, bulbs properly handled by them.

Re:Waste disposal is a big issue (1)

cdn-programmer (468978) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158680)

I wouldn't be so fast to say that one idjot tossing a battery and some oil in the bush nullifies it all.

There are several species of fungus that can happily digest petroleum spills. Some of these are quite common and even good to eat. As for the batteries, the H2SO4 will be dealt with quite rapidly. In fact much of the soils in at least the Western part of North America are sulphur poor. So a little carbonate gets weathered away by the battery acid. It'll get weathered away by carbonic acid in rainwater anyways.

The lead mind you might be an issue. If we have a lot of batteries tossed into a small amount of bush then the lead might be a problem. However in this case we might actually have a small lead mine and someone can go pick up the batteries for salvage.

I've observed batteries tossed in the bush and from what I could see the bush really didn't mind very much . This doesn't mean I'm in favour of tossing batteries in the bush, or waste oil either for that matter. Its just that I'm not terribly alarmed about it.

30 lumens/W (3, Informative)

onkelonkel (560274) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158448)

30 lumens/Watt. Thanks for coming out. Here's your little yellow "I Participated" ribbon.

There are prototype white LED's at 150 lumens/W, supposedly to hit 200 lumens/W by years end.

Re:30 lumens/W (1)

jandrese (485) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158676)

Yeah, but are those LEDs going to cost $50 a bulb while the fancy new incandescent is less than $0.50 a bulb? LED bulbs are super cool, but also well outside of affordability envelope at the moment. I think LEDs are the future (until something better comes along at least), but right now they're just not practical.

Amazing (1, Interesting)

Eric Damron (553630) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158508)

"GE has announced an advancement in incandescent technology..."

It's amazing how quickly the threat of losing your core business to a new technology can drive innovation! Light bulbs have remained largely unchanged for how long? Suddenly there are promises of huge efficiency increases.

Are corporations that manufacture incandescent lights also invested in electricity producing companies? That would be about as good for efficiency as automobile companies owning stock in the oil industry...

Re:Amazing (2, Insightful)

JabberWokky (19442) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158666)

You're absolutely right... except the same companies that make the incandescents are the ones making the CF bulbs. So this is an internal competition among research and manufacturing divisions rather than some conspiracy to sell power. Same thing will happen for LED bulbs. Unless their massive R&D investment is also due to some legislation unreported here. As long as there's more than one company, or part of a company making competing products they will... well... compete.

--
Evan

How about (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18158540)


"How about mandating a level of efficiency rather than assuming that innovation can't happen?"

How about letting *me* decide what kind of lightbulbs I can put in my own damn house?

probably uses IR reflective coating + halogen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18158574)

I worked on a research project 25 years ago where they were trying to perfect applying an infrared-reflective coating to the outside of the glass. It would reflect the heat back to the filament and thus need less power to produce the same light. At the time it reflected about 35% of the IR but also absorbed about 20% of the visible. There were geometric issues as well as you need to reflect the IR back on the filament, not on to the other parts of the lamp. Also, the absorption of the visible caused heatiing of the glass whcih could lead to catastrophic bulb failure.

Probably this is a combination of that technology with a quartz-halogen cycle (which already gives about 30% better efficiency).

ban on incandescent (1)

lifeafter2020 (1068858) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158640)

I agree that wording does make a difference when it comes to giving "progress" a chance. However, the 30 lumen per watt falls more than 50% short of what CFLs can produce today. It's just not good enough giving the state of our environment. Therefore, "improved" incandescent light bulbs are NOT the answer. Let's rather improve the production of LED's and cold cathode light bulbs so that they are available and affordable for the general public. Gerald

HEI Bulb Lifetime? (1)

Cbs228 (596164) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158660)

One thing that neither the article nor GE's own press release [geconsumerproducts.com] mention is if these bulbs will last longer than their traditional incandescent counterparts. I have owned one particular CFL bulb for over four years. It has been one of my primary light sources—in operation for tens of thousands of hours—and still works almost as well as the day I bought it. Traditional incandescent bulbs don't last anywhere near that long.

In buying the CFL, I've saved not only in electricity but also in replacement parts. If HEI is more efficient than incandescent but just as short-lived, then this is just another attempt by bulb manufacturers to continue their practice of selling a product that is almost designed to fail—only now they can increase the cost because it's "energy efficient." Until I see data on how reliable HEI is, I'm not investing in the technology.

More efficient halogen? (1)

Jeff1946 (944062) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158664)

Looking at patents this is the only one that seemed like it might be the proposed technolgy.

http://www.google.com/patents?vid=USPAT6967443 [google.com]

Essentially reflecting the IR portion of the light back onto the filament to reduce power requirements.

Anybody else have any ideas about the technology?

Good Timing? (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158668)

This is a case of awkward good timing, given California's and other's desire to ban the incandescent light bulb entirely.

Amazing Timing! (1)

surfcow (169572) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158698)

For about a century, three companies have largely cornered the market on incandescent light bulbs. And what a great cash cow. Fragile, short-lived consumable commodities - found in every home and business. You can't live without them and you can't make your own. Captive market.

But now, new companies have finally broken into the market and newer technologies - like compact florescent and LED - are finally take off, in a big way. CFL sales are throught the roof this year. Looks like the market is no longer cornered and captive.

And lo, at this moment moment, one of the original Big Three presents a more efficient incandescent bulb. Patented, of course.

What amazing timing. What a coincidence. Somebody up there must like GE. I just wish it happened a few decades earlier.

efficiency vs long life (1)

pjrc (134994) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158728)

The press release makes no mention of how long these bulbs will operate. Historically, high efficiency and long operating life are a design trade-off with incandescent filaments. You get one at the expense of the other.
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