GE is Entering the L-Prize with A Cree-Driven 60W LED Incandescent Replacement Lamp

If you follow the L-Prize competition, you would have noticed an interesting entry that GE is going to be making – and is currently in development.  GE (General Electric, NYSE:GE) is entering a 60W LED replacement lamp using Cree LED emitters as the light source.  This is pretty awesome, if I do say so myself – I’m a fan of Cree (NASDAQ:CREE), and it’s nice to see a company like GE reach across the aisle and ask help from a company that is making some pretty impressive strides in light-emitting diodes.  I was extremely impressed seeing their LMR-4 at LightFair, and in reading of the news of the TrueWhite technology kinda blows the mind when you look at LED research and development to date.

Check out an example of Cree’s TrueWhite Technology – it’s a short video, 1:55 – totally worth your time:

Cree and I disagree a little on the death of incandescents, but disagreement is what drives innovation.  I also disagree with my bestie Greg about throwing things off of balconies.  Innovation.

Ok – now think of what GE could possibly be coming up with using some rocking Cree LEDs?  Will it be another one of those “multi-fingered hand grasping at a blob of milk” lamps?  WHO KNOWS!  At least the light coming from it will look good.  Let’s see what GE does about heat dissipation this time.

Oh – as of right now (Tuesday, July 5, 2011), the L-Prize website is broken.  That’s a little concerning, huh – I mean, being that it’s supposed to be a really important honor and all.

You might be asking yourself – self, what exactly IS the L-Prize?  Well, it’s a competition that is basically driven to “spur lighting manufacturers to develop high-quality, high-efficiency solid-state lighting products to replace the common light bulb.”  Ok, fair enough.  The Department of Energy runs this contest, and the prize for the best 60W incandescent replacement lamp is about ten million buckaroos.  For a PAR38 replacement?  Only five million bones.  Only.

There are requirements for entries into the L-Prize – from the wikipedia article on the L-Prize, since the site ain’t workin':

More on the L-Prize soon, I’m waiting to hear back from them.

Here’s the initial GE press release about their entry into the L-Prize (also located here):

EAST CLEVELAND, OH (June 30, 2011) : GE Lighting engineers and scientists are developing a 60-watt replacement LED bulb that meets the specifications for the Department of Energy’s Bright Tomorrow Lighting (L Prize) competition. GE recently submitted a Letter of Intent to the Department of Energy to enter the competition.

“The objective of our product research and development is simple,” says Steve Briggs, vice president of marketing and product management, GE Lighting Solutions, LLC. “We exist to create advanced lighting solutions based on customer needs and expectations. Our L Prize journey is inspired by the challenge to deliver advanced technology in a form factor that delivers on consumer expectations. We won’t be the first to submit an L Prize candidate but we believe our solution will more closely match consumer preference for an incandescent look and feel.”

GE has collaborated with Cree to accept the stringent L Prize challenge yet deliver a lamp without remote phosphor, which appears yellow in an unlit state. Cree has designed a custom LED component that features Cree TrueWhite® Technology to deliver superior efficacy and light quality. GE lamp designers incorporated the component into an advanced thermal, optical and electrical system to achieve L Prize performance.

The L Prize is the first government-sponsored technology competition designed to spur lighting manufacturers to develop high-quality, high-efficiency solid-state lighting products to replace the most widely used light bulb in America, the 60-watt incandescent bulb. To learn more about the L Prize competition, visit

The Linac Coherent Light Source

$500 million dollars later, the DoE’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory at Stanford has created the world’s brightest X-ray source – world, meet the Linac Coherent Light Source:


The LCLS is the first high energy X-ray laser light source – also called a “hard” laser – and it’s going to turn some heads.  The LCLS will, once the finest tunings take place, create the world’s brightest short-pulse X-ray laser for scientific study.  Using the LCLS, scientists will be able to study the arrangement of atoms in a ton of materials, from metals to catalysts, plastics, and bio mateiral.  In short, this thing is pretty amazing.

From the press release at the SLAC:

“This milestone establishes proof-of-concept for this incredible machine, the first of its kind,” said SLAC Director Persis Drell. “The LCLS team overcame unprecedented technical challenges to make this happen, and their work will enable frontier research in a host of fields. For some disciplines, this tool will be as important to the future as the microscope has been to the past.”

Even in these initial stages of operation, the LCLS X-ray beam is brighter than any other human-made source of short-pulse, hard X-rays. Initial tests produced laser light with a wavelength of 1.5 Angstroms, or 0.15 nanometers-the shortest-wavelength, highest-energy X-rays ever created by any laser. To generate that light, the team had to align the electron beam with extreme precision. The beam cannot deviate from a straight line by more than about 5 micrometers per 5 meters-an astounding feat of engineering.

“This is the most difficult lightsource that has ever been turned on,” said LCLS Construction Project Director John Galayda. “It’s on the boundary between the impossible and possible, and within two hours of start-up these guys had it right on.”

Unlike conventional lasers, which use mirrored cavities to amplify light, the LCLS is a free-electron laser, creating light using free-flying electrons in a vacuum. The LCLS uses the final third of SLAC’s two-mile linear accelerator to drive electrons to high energy and through an array of “undulator” magnets that steer the electrons rapidly back and forth, generating a brilliant beam of coordinated X-rays. In last week’s milestone, LCLS scientists used only 12 of an eventual 33 undulator magnets to generate the facility’s first laser light.

Chock one up for the DoE scientists.  I’m thrilled to see what this thing can do.

Thanks, MedGadget!

US Congress to the EPA: Drop Your Energy Star Criteria

More policy news – it’s always good to know what’s going on, as it affects everything we do, and lighting is no exception.  Just recently, on March 27, the United State Congress told the Environmental Proetction Agency to dump their Energy Star criteria – you might remember that the EPA and the Department of Energy were having some disagreements as to what the Energy Star standards should be, and the government was trying to pass some legislation telling them what it should be.  The DoE and the EPA told Congress that they could figure this out amongst themselves without having to pass some legislation, but Congress told the EPA that the DoE should be administering the Energy Star standards for solid-state lighting.  I’m interested in hearing what the EPA has to say to Congress.

I would really, really like to know what readers think.  Please post your opinions in the comments.

Here’s the text of the letter:

Congress of the United States
Washington, DC 20515
March 27, 2009

Administrator Lisa Jackson
Environmental Protection Agency
Ariel Rios Building
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20460

Dear Administrator Jackson,

We are writing to urge you to quickly bring to resolution the ongoing conflict between the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy regarding Energy Star criteria for residential solid-state lighting (SSL) products, commonly referred to as “LED lighting,” by rescinding the EPA Energy Star criteria for SSL as soon as possible.

We recognize and appreciate the EPA’s longstanding leadership in the Energy Star program, and we understand that the Agency’s SSL criteria were developed with intent consistent with the Energy Star mission. However, the current state of affairs, in which two federal agencies have put forth two separate standards, is untenable. The overlapping standards are creating uncertainty in the industry [and the] resulting confusion is threatening American leadership in this growing industry and could erode the integrity of the Energy Star brand if allowed to continue.

The future of the SSL industry is very promising. The market for high-brightness LEDs used in lighting was $205 million in 2006, and projected to grow to approximately $1 billion by 2011. The United States currently enjoys a leadership position in this industry. Because Energy Star certification is a vital step in the commercialization of any new energy efficient technology, a single agency must ultimately take the lead so as not to undermine the SSL industry at a critical point in its development.

We have come to the conclusion that the DOE should administer the Energy Star program for SSL based on our interpretation of section 912(b) of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and input from experts in the SSL industry. We understand the past precedent with the respect to the division of responsibility between DOE and EPA and a justifiable interpretation of relevant legislation led the Agency to develop Energy Star criteria for SSL. We hope that report language accompanying the FY2009 Omnibus Appropriations Act provides sufficient clarification as to the intent of Congress in this matter.

The EPA and the Energy Star program have played an invaluable role in making America more energy efficient, and will continue [to] serve an important function in our Nation’s efforts to achieve energy independence, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and create good jobs for Americans. In interest of preserving the integrity of the Energy Star brand and supporting American leadership in the SSL industry, we urge you to defer to the DOE’s SSL Energy Star criteria.


Jay Inslee (Member of Congress, D-WA)
Andre Carson (Member of Congress, D-IN)
Russ Carnahan (Member of Congress, D-MO)
Jim Himes (Member of Congress, D-CT)
Mike Honda (Member of Congress, D-CA)
Jerry Moran (Member of Congress, R-KS)
David Price (Member of Congress, D-NC)
Betty Sutton (Member of Congress, D-OH)
Paul Tonko (Member of Congress, D-NY)

cc: Steven Chu, Secretary of Energy
cc: Nancy Sutley, Council on Environmental Quality

Energy Star: EPA and DoE VS. US Senate

Right now, the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency are trying to convince the Senate that they can work out the details of the Energy Star program without legislative help.  The Senate has some members who want to go ahead an legislate the Energy Star program and decide what the standards are, regardless of what the two agencies decide. The Obama administration says that the Senate should take out some pending legislation that says the DoE and the EPA have to cooperate in a revised agreement for the Energy Star program. The EPA and the DoE have 45 days or so to get written dispute resolution to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

Some people are not happy about this – about the legislation, that is:

Some witnesses at the hearings discussed problems they have encountered with Energy Star, a labeling program launched by EPA in 1992 to help consumers identify the most efficient products.

Kyle Pitsor of the National Electrical Manufacturers Association said there has been confusion in the lighting industry because of competing EPA and DOE programs that address solid state lighting technologies that can provide major energy savings.

Pitsor, the group’s vice president of government relations, said the first DOE specifications for solid-state lighting products were finalized in March of last year. But he said that last year EPA’s Energy Star program also began addressing light fixtures that use solid state lighting. “Companies are investing and making decisions on new LED lighting and … conflicting Energy Star programs will impede acceptance of this developing lighting technology,” he said, and recommended Energy Star programs for solid state lighting be under DOE only.

This is important.  If you’re affected by the potential outcomes either way by this, please post in the comments.


Check out the original article at the NYT.

DoE’s 200 kWh Sun Wall

Solomon Cordwell Buenz, a Chicago-based architecture firm, has won the US DoE’s Solar Wall Competition, with a “sun wall” measuring 32,000 square feet and covering the southern part of the the Department of Energy’s Washington DC headquarters.  I tried the link to the DoE SUn Wall competition site, but I kept getting a 404.  You’re more than welcome to try visiting.

From the Solomon Cordwell Buenz site on the project:

SCB, in partnership with ARUP New York, produced the winning design for the Department of Energy’s Solar Wall Competition.   SCB’s 32,000sf  “Sun Wall” covers the south elevation of the DOE’s Washington, D.C.  Headquarters building.  The Wall is expected to generate 200 kw of electricity through a combination of photovoltaic panels and evacuated tubes for hot water.  The DOE asked entrants for a “visually exciting” and technologically advanced project.

The project will generate around 200 kWh of power, and will be the largest integrated project of its kind in any federal building.  One of the things we don’t know is the cost of the construction for the project.  Hmm.

Cree’s LEDs and the Pentagon

Major LED manufacturer Cree was just awarded a contract to replace a whole ton of fluorescent fixtures in the Pentagon for their LED fixtures – more than 4200 recessed lighting fixtures, to be exact.  The Cree LED fixtures that the Pentagon contracted for purchase retain at about $380 a pop.  These fixtures, referred to as LR24’s, have created energy savings of somewhere in the neighborhood of 22% in government testing.  Apparently (from the source at the US DoE) LEDs saved the government around 8.7 trillion bucks in 2007.

So, 4200 X $380 = $1,596,000, right?  Probably not.  But wow.

Pentagon test room before Cree:

Pentagon test room AFTER Cree’s LEDs:

This project was funded under a project within DoD called Title III.  Title III was created to “promote creation and strengthening of domestic industrial capabilities to support national security needs.”

Thanks to CleanTechnica, EcoGeek, and Earth2Tech!