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The ESL: A light bulb that speaks the language of energy efficiency
Cheaper than LEDs and safer than CFLs, will ESL (electron-stimulated luminescence) light bulbs be a viable household replacement for incandescents?
Tue, Nov 16, 2010 at 08:59 AM
Do we really need another energy-efficient light bulb to take the place of the glorious but totally inefficient incandescent as it slowly but surely (they’ll be completely phased out in the U.S. by 2014) becomes a technology of “yesterday” along with Walkmans
(tear) and Betamax players?
New York City-based Vu1 Corporation
would like consumers to think so with the announcement that after years in the making, the company’s R30 Electron Stimulated Luminescence energy-efficient reflector light bulb
— or ESL bulb for short — has been granted final UL approval and will become available to consumers in early 2011. And if all goes as planned, the ESL will prove to be a formidable contender to the two existing, not-entirely-perfect incandescent alternatives: the CFL
and the LED
After reading through a release sent to me by Vu1, it seems there’s a lot to like about ESL bulbs:
• Unlike CFLs, ESL bulbs contain no mercury so no freak-outs
are necessary when you accidentally break one. They also don't require special recycling
• At $20 a pop, ESL bulbs are cheaper than most LEDs.
• They sport a nice long life of 10,000 hours. This is shorter, about a quarter, less than the life of LEDs but they're still 70 percent more efficient than incandescents.
• ESL bulbs are cheaper to produce (they're manufactured in a factory in the Czech Republic) than CFLs and LEDs.
• Most importantly, ESL bulbs produce light that’s a close facsimile to the light produced by the incandescents that we know and love. Plus, unlike LEDS and CFLs, ESL bulbs are dimmable.
It should be noted that R30 ESL bulbs will serve as a direct replacement for incandescent 65W flood light bulbs found in recessed ceiling fans and not typical American "A" (standard, pear-shaped ones) incandescent bulbs. However, Vu1 plans to release ESL A-type lamps in 2011 and 2012.
So how does this newfangled Electron Stimulated Luminescence technology
It uses accelerated electrons to stimulate phosphor to create light, making the surface of the bulb “glow”. ESL technology creates the same light quality as an incandescent but is up to 70% more energy efficient, lasting up to 5 times longer than incandescent and contributing to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. There is no use of the neurotoxin Mercury (Hg) in the lighting process.
Nifty. I'm curious to see how consumer react to ESL bulbs when they hit store shelves. Think you'll try one (or two or three) out in your home?
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