By Mark Halper
Posting in Design
Its Osram division shows off a module in Frankfurt that it claims is ten times more efficient than incandescent lighting.
FRANKFURT - I was at the Light + Building trade fair here earlier this week when a dull-sounding Siemens press release grabbed my attention for the wrong reason.
Never mind the release's headline, which might put you to sleep as it almost did me: "Global Standard to Help LEDs Market Breakthrough" it intoned - not exactly a screamer, let alone decipherable.
I know from experience that Siemens often has something good to say even if it sometimes has trouble saying it, so I read on.
Ach du lieber! There, at one of the word's largest lighting exhibitions, Siemens' Osram lighting division was displaying a new LED lighting module that the release claimed to be "ten times more efficient than an incandescent lighting lamp."
Ten times more efficient! If I'm inverting my math correctly, the average LED bulb available today is about five times more efficient than an incandescent - LED vendors such as Siemens and Royal Philips Electronics routinely claim that their current LED bulbs require only about a fifth of the electricity compared to incandescents. The Siemens release seemed to quietly declare a doubling of that.
Many of us are already excited about the potential savings in fuel bills and CO2 emissions from today's 5-times more efficient LEDs. Philips CEO Frans van Houten said here at Light + Building that a full conversion to LEDs would save the world around €130 billion ($171 billion) in running costs and could eliminate 640 medium-sized power plants. (As I wrote here yesterday, Philips is cutting LED prices and implementing new business models as part of its LED campaign). The Japanese government has calculated that Japan could permanently shut down 13 nuclear reactors by replacing 1.6 million lightbulbs with LEDs.
So I wandered over to have a look at the new 10-times more efficient Osram module, which to extrapolate from van Houten (sorry, Philips, for applying your numbers to illustrate a rival's product), could now save the world $342 billion and 1,280 power stations.
There it was: The Osram (you might know them in the U.S. as Sylvania) PrevaLED Core Z2, designed for sale to "original equipment manufacturers" (OEMs) to build into a finished downlight or spotlight for use in retails shops or other commercial settings. Osram was also showing three other varieties of the PrevaLED, each with a more linear, strip design than the round light source in the Core Z2: The PrevaLED Linear, Linear Slim and Compact.
It was hard to get near the display cases to find out more - crowds of people from OEM companies kept swarming by. Despite my best advanced efforts, there wasn't a press person in sight to assist (come on Siemens, why are you making it so difficult?!).
One factoid I noticed on the information placards: the PrevaLED Core Z2 delivers "up to 111 lumens per watt." That's good, but it doesn't necessarily translate into LED efficiencies that are twice that of existing LEDs. I've seen plenty of LED announcements over the last year that claim similar "lm/w" performance. I have a year-old Philips 60-watt equivalent LED bulb on the desk where I'm writing this blog post, and it's rated at 67 lumens per watt - well over half of 111.
So, is this new Osram module really twice as efficient as the going LED bulbs? An Osram technologist told me in broken English that unlike LED bulbs, the PrevaLED was designed from the ground up for efficiency, not for retrofitting into existing sockets. She said she had no information on pricing - perhaps a sign that PrevaLED won't be cheap, which probably explains why Osram is positioning it for the commercial market rather than residential.
I did manage to snap some grainy photos with my aging Blackberry. PrevaLED has several components, including the LED light source, a set of "driver" electronics made in Italy, and cabling. OEMs add heat sinks and reflectors.
The PrevaLED marks Osram's first LED module that conforms to the Zhaga standard. Zhaga is a consortium of over 180 companies that have agreed on basic design specifications that make the various components of LED modules interchangeable from one manufacture to another. Thus the press release's "global standard" headline.
Is PrevaLED the big efficiency breakthrough that it appears to be?
More LED illumination on SmartPlanet:
- Philips CEO: LED bulb prices must fall to 'well below $10'
- The LED that gives more power than it takes
- Dial-a-Photon: Cellphone and small solar panel buy African power
- What's keeping the lights on in Tokyo?
Apr 18, 2012
RE All the "efficiency" talk here, in all the LED articles: 1. Energy efficiency is just one type. There is also the small matter of constructional and performance efficiency It is much simpler, and cheaper to construct a bright incandescent than a bright LED bulb - in fact omnidirectional 100W equivalent bright LED replacements for ordinary bulbs can't be bought regardless of price. 2. All lighting types have advantages - energy saving is only one. The overall switchover energy savings are small anyway, referenced http://ceolas.net/#li171x 3. LEDs have several issues of their own They are in effect pure light sources in spectrum output, somewhat like lasers, sometimes as with phosphorescent coating (as with white LEDs) to spread the light, but then mimicking CFL light quality. They so not have the same smooth spectrum as incandescents, even with filters, and their CRI is nearly always lower, and often ???tweaked???, so photographers and filmmakers are unhappy about rendition too. http://ceolas.net/#li15ledax .
Having a different standard for connecting an LED light into a lighting system is the smart way to go for the industry. The expensive LED light bulbs have not helped sell LEDs as a practical lighting source; and it does not help when the LED bulbs are seen as expensive and short lived. Having a different style and fitting for LED light fixtures will go a long way to reduce the cost of the LED light source and make it last longer.
The 3000-930-HD-C gives 3000 lumens, which sounds adequate for a videoprojector replacement bulb. Is there anyone manufacturing such bulbs already?