A Bright Idea: Introducing ESL Light Bulbs from Vu1
When changing out incandescent light bulbs for energy efficiency, there are usually two options, CFL and LED. However, the start up company Vu1 is adding another light bulb option (not to mention acronym) to the mix, the Electron Stimulated Luminescence (ESL) bulb. The Vu1 ESL innovation re-purposes technology from our tried and true friend, the cathode ray tube (CRT) television. ESL uses accelerated electrons to stimulate phosphor and create light, thus making the bulb surface glow. It is astonishing to think that an energy efficient lighting inspiration and innovation has sitting right under noses.
In terms of energy efficiency, the ESL bulb beats out the CFL and LED. ESL bulbs have a power factor rating of 0.95-0.99. CFL and LED lamps have a respective power factor 0.5 and .08. Suffice it to say, the higher the power factor, the more energy efficient the bulb.
For the most part, the ESL bulbs are made of recyclable material, namely the plastic and the glass. But like many electronic devices today, the semi-conductors and electronic components are not as easily recyclable. The good news is that unlike CFL's, we do not have to worry about heavy metals such as mercury with the ESL.
The ESL technology has also been nominated for a 2011 Edison Best New Product Award. It will be judged along side other nominees on several criteria including societal impact, marketplace innovation, and technological innovation.