'Most energy-efficient' LED light revealed by Philips

Coen Liedenbaum and prototype TLED The prototype lamp uses half the energy of equivalent lights on the market

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Lighting company Philips has developed an LED lamp that it describes as "the world's most energy-efficient".

It said the prototype tube lighting LED is twice as efficient as those currently used in offices and industry around the world but offers the same amount of light.

Being able to halve the amount of energy used could bring huge cost and energy savings.

Lighting accounts for more than 19% of global electricity consumption.

The prototype tube lighting produces 200 lumens per watt (200lm/W) compared with 100lm/W for equivalent strip lighting and 15lm/W for traditional light bulbs.

What is LED lighting?

Light-emitting diodes have been around for years.

Traditionally, they have been used as indicators on electrical devices, such as standby lights on TVs. This was because LEDs were available only in red, but recent advances mean that other colours are now available, and the light emitted is much brighter.

White light (used for general lighting) using LEDs can be created via a number of techniques. One example is mixing red, green and blue LEDs.

It is suggested that LEDs can last for up to 100,000 hours, compared with the 1,000 hours of traditional incandescent light bulbs and compact fluorescent lamps' (CFLs) 15,000 hours.

The technology is also much more energy-efficient, using up to 90% less energy than incandescent bulbs.

The long lifespans and low energy use make LEDs economically attractive because even though the fittings cost more, the running and maintenance bills are lower.

"This is a major breakthrough in LED lighting and will further drive the transformation of the lighting industry," said Rene van Schooten, chief executive of light source and electronics at Philips.

"It's exciting to imagine the massive energy and cost savings it will bring to our planet and customers," he added.

The lamps are intended to replace the fluorescent tube lighting used in offices and industry, which currently account for more than half of the world's total lighting.

In the US, for example, such lighting consumes around 200 terawatts hours (TWh) of electricity annually. Swapping to the energy-efficient lamps could save $12bn (£7.8bn) and stop 60 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere, according to Philips.

LED light bulbs are more efficient than traditional incandescent ones because there is less energy loss through heat.

However they tend to be more expensive than ordinary light bulbs.

Philips expects the light to go on the market in 2015, initially to replace office lighting.

Ultimately though it is seen as a real alternative to lighting in the home.

The company has not yet published prices but a spokesperson told the BBC that the cost would not be significantly more than current LED tube lights.

The Energy Saving Trust - a UK charity which provides advice on how to cut carbon emissions - said manufacturers' claims always had to be treated with caution, but added that if Philips could bring the product to market it would represent a major advance.

"The typical performance of LEDs we have trialled and tested before has typically been in the range of 50 to 70 lumens per watt which is significantly better than traditional lighting - so if this new Philips product can perform as claimed then it represents a huge leap forward in performance," James Russill, the trust's technical development manager, told the BBC.

"It is also good that this product is aimed at office environments, where lighting is often left on for 24 hours per day - the potential for reducing electricity demand is therefore very high."

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