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Published on February 15th, 2012 | by Glenn Meyers


New ESL Light Bulb Comes Without Mercury

ESL bulb

Look Ma! No mercury!

It’s nice to learn of green lighting solution – the ESL light – that operates without using any kind of mercury.  This review was written by Philip Proefrock and posted for EcoGeek. Thanks for the insights into lumens, Philip.

Incandescent light bulbs are really little space heaters with a side benefit of producing some light. They are an old technology that is being phased out for many applications by more efficient alternatives. Now, in addition to the LEDs and CFLs, we can add ESL bulbs, which have started to reach the market, to the available technologies.

We’ve been watching for Electron Stimulated Luminescence (ESL) lighting technology for a few years. It is now commercially available with the introduction of the Vu1 bulb. ESL lighting uses an electron gun to stimulate a phosphor coated surface for illumination, much like an old CRT or television tube. The bulb is actually a vacuum, with no mercury (or anything else) inside it, so disposal and recycling is easier.

The Vu1 bulb has an expected lifespan of 11,000 hours, which can be 5 times that of an incandescent and close to that of a good CFL. It uses 19.5 watts to produce 500 lumens, so it falls in between CFL and incandescent in efficacy. Thecolor-rendering index (CRI) of the ESL bulb is 90+, again falling between an average CFL with a CRI of 80 and an incandescent with a CRI of 100.

Street pricing for the Vu1 is about $15. That’s more expensive than a CFL these days, but that’s in the range of what CFLs were a decade ago, and LEDs with this color quality aren’t at this price level, either. For further information and a more subjective review of the light, you can read a longer review about the Vu1 light on my personal blog.

This is very encouraging news about new lighting products.

Photo: EcoGeek

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About the Author

Writer, documentary producer, and director. Meyers is a contributor to CleanTechnica, and founder of Green Streets MediaTrain, a communications connection and eLearning hub. As an independent producer, he's been involved in the development, production and distribution of television and distance learning programs for both the education industry and corporate sector. He also is an avid gardener and loves sustainable innovation.

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