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  Referencia 8880
Título: ¿Es esta la lámpara del futuro?
Título original: Is This the Light Bulb of the Future?
Resumen: Philips, the Dutch electronics giant whose products range from clothes irons to medical equipment to light bulbs, believes that it’s about to become $10 million richer.

That’s the value of a prize the company thinks it will win with its entry in the L Prize, a U.S. Department of Energy contest to create a viable LED-based alternative to a 60-watt light bulb.

Philips announced today that it is the first company to submit an entry in the contest. The company has first-mover advantage, because if their lamp is shown to meet the rules, then Philips wins, even if another company enters later with better results.

In May 2008, the Department of Energy announced that it would award $10 million to the first company that developed a solid-state lamp that could replace a standard bulb. Among the criteria: The lamp can use no more than 10 watts to create the equivalent light of a 60-watt incandescent bulb; the color of the light output must mimic that of today’s incandescents; and the bulbs must last at least 25,000 hours, as much as 25 times as long as today’s standard bulbs.

While $10 million is nice, the lighting companies are not in it for that prize. The contest winner will, more importantly, get access to potentially lucrative federal purchasing agreements.

In addition to the lighting specs, the company must also manufacture at least 75 percent of the value of the lamp in the United States, and package the product in this country.

“I want the Secretary of Energy to hold this thing and say it’s made in America,” said James Brodrick, manager of the Department of Energy’s Solid State Lighting Program.

To prove its prototype, Philips has shipped 2,000 samples to the Department of Energy, plus around 100 pages and a CD of supporting documents, according to Kevin Dowling, vice president of innovation at Philips Solid State Lighting Solutions. The tests will take close to one year to complete as the department independently evaluates Philips’s claims.

But to make that time frame, the government will need to cut at least one test short. To test the life span of the lamp would take close to three years of continuous lighting, so the Department of Energy will make sure that the lamps last at least 6,000 hours, or eight months, and then extrapolate from there.

“This will be the most publicly tested bulb ever,” Mr. Brodrick said.

Mr. Brodrick hopes that the L Prize has sped up the creation of an LED-based equivalent that is a quality product. The department is still smarting over mistakes made when compact fluorescent bulbs were introduced to the market. Consumers rebelled when they found the light output from C.F.L. bulbs to be cold and unpleasant, with much shorter-than-claimed lifetimes, and the potential to pollute due to the mercury in each lamp.

By setting the L Prize’s criteria, “we’ve probably eliminated almost 25 products that were horrible,” Mr. Brodrick said. “We test LED bulbs today that claim on the package that they’re equivalent to 40 watts, but are really like 20 watt bulbs.”

Before you plan on replacing your lighting with new LED lamps, know that the first products won’t be cheap. Today’s LED-based lamps cost up to $100 each. To get the cost down, Mr. Brodrick has enlisted 27 utility companies around the country as L Prize partners. Once a winner is chosen, the utilities will help promote and possibly subsidize the cost of the lamp.

It’s in the utilities’ interests to do so, both for P.R. reasons and because if enough people buy LED lamps, there will be less demand for power and for new power plants. In several states, such as California, profits are “decoupled” from consumption. Profits are made based on a fair rate of return, and energy rates are adjusted to meet that level.

How much the new bulbs will eventually cost is anybody’s guess, but clearly there’s no market if they’re too expensive. “Over the long term, we can absolutely get the cost down to the $20-25 range,” Mr. Dowling said.
Idioma: Inglés     País: USA     Año: 2009
Tipo: Artículo
Área: Productos > Luminarias
Subsectores de aplicación: · Fabricación de productos metálicos, excepto maquinaria y equipo
Fuente: The New York Times
Localización en fuente: September 18
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