The L Prize

The United States Department of Energy is holding a contest. A contest with a $10 million prize. A contest that I hate, because I can't win. A contest that will shape the future of...the lightbulb.

The L Prize is essentially an incentives package for new takes on Edison's (relatively) old idea. The most common lightbulb in the US right now, the 60 watt replaceable incandescent lamp, is one of the most horribly inefficient bulbs on the planet. In this country alone, there are about 900,000,000 of them.

The challenge is this: develop a 60 watt bulb that A) produces light at an efficiency of 90 lumens/watt (no clue), and B) lasts an average of 25,000 hours while C) maintaining the luminosity and warmth of the current incandescent bulb. Just so we're clear about the scope of change required, currently a 60 watt bulb has an average life of 1,000 hours and sucks up power at a far less efficient rate, in the area of 10 lumens/watt.

There is an identical contest for Halogen bulbs and another for a "21st Century" bulb that will be announced at some point in the future. If you are a light bulb crafter and wish to enter, the entry rules and specifications can be found here.

The pic at the top is the first entry in the contest, submitted by Philips, for the 60W bulb portion of the contest.

I myself plan to print the booklet and leave it on my coffee table with some nonsensical sketches and notes to impress the ladies.

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