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Cree Announces LED Technology That Could Bring Electric Energy Consumption to 1987 Levels

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Cree, a North Carolina-based semiconductor company, has just announced a stunning milestone: the company has created a 75W-replacement ‘concept bulb’ that gives the same amount of light as an incandescent 75W but only uses 12% of the power,  or 8.7W.

As mentioned in a Minyanville article published yesterday, Philips expects LED technology to take 90% of the $100 billion lighting market by 2020. Under the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act, incandescent bulbs are due to be phased out of use in the US beginning in January 2012.

Contrary to some claims that the lighting load on the electric grid is negligible, Cree's engineers say, “We calculate that if fully deployed, LED lighting at 150 LPW (Lumens Per Watt) could bring a 16.5% reduction in the nation’s electric-energy consumption, returning it to 1987 levels.”

The Cree bulb, at 150 LPW, already meets the federal government’s requirements for the "21st Century Lamp" category of the L Prize, which challenges companies to develop the next generation of lighting. Well, actually, the Cree bulb might have reached those goals. In fact, the specs for the 21st Century L prize haven’t even been finalized yet, but there will be a requirement for 150 LPW, whereas the 60W Incandescent Replacement L Prize only requires 900 Lumens at 10W (90 LPW).

Cree's new lamp

Philips already has its entry for the 60W Replacement category being tested by the Department of Energy.

New LED bulbs have expected lifetimes in the neighborhood of 10 to 20 years, meaning the concept of buying fixtures made with replaceable bulbs may one day cease to exist. You’ll never expect to replace the bulb. The fixture will be out of fashion before it burns out, unless you pick something that doesn’t go out of fashion --  like the guy’s beard in this video from CREE announcing the major breakthrough:

POSITION:  No positions in stocks mentioned.