GE's $100 Million LED Gamble
For those of us who don't know, LEDs (light emitting diodes) are a wonderful little way to convert electricity into photons. And while incandescents did it well for a hundred years, and compact fluorescents are doing it well now, LEDs might very well be taking over in the future.
LEDs are long-lasting, efficient, and can be built without toxic substances. Unfortunately, they're currently either expensive or dim. In a call earlier this week General Electric told TreeHugger that they are committed to being leaders in LED technology. While the price point is higher, GE is already selling LED lighting systems to commercial customers. One of the biggest buyers is Wal-Mart who decked out over 500 stores with commercial refrigerators that use LEDs instead of fluorescents.LEDs are perfect for commercial refrigeration lighting because they are bright and white, energy efficient, and don't produce heat from the lamps surface (all waste heat is produced at the back of the light, in the silicon chip.) GE Recently purchased GELCore, a company that it previously only owned half of. The GELCore purchase speaks to GE's excitement concerning LEDs. While compact fluorescents are making a splash for GE as great products with great PR, LEDs are absolutely the next step in making our lives brighter. And the more they invest now, the sooner we'll see these products in stores.