GE Uses Jet Engine Cooling Technology in 1,500-Lumens LED Bulb

ge led light bulb jet cooling photo

Photo: GE Global Research
Nice Cross-Pollination
We've all known for a while that light emitting diodes (LEDs) are the future of lighting. But at some point, it has to change from "future" to "present", and we're not there yet. But some of the remaining challenges are slowly being eroded away by various companies, including GE. They've just released information about one of their LED bulb prototypes that produces 1,500 lumens (equivalent to a standard 100-watt halogen PAR38 bulb) while being half the size and weight of a 600-lumen LED downlight available today, and this without the thermal problems that come with high-power LEDs. Read on for more details.
ge led light bulb jet cooling photo

Photo: GE Global Research
One Step Closer to Solid State Lighting
GE also makes jet engines, so it has lots fluidics experts and technologies that allow it to study air flow and cooling. This helped it develop the cooling technology, using jet engine know-how, used in this prototype LED bulb:

GE dual cool jets are very small micro-fluidic bellows type devices that provide high-velocity jets of air, which impinge on the LED heat sink. These jets of air increase the heat transfer rate to more than ten times that of natural convection. The improved cooling enables LED operation at high drive currents without losses in efficiency or lifetime. For a given lumen output, the dual cool jets' improved thermal management reduces the necessary LED chip count. This, in turn, can dramatically lower the cost of the lamp. In addition to performance and cost advantages, this cooling technology enables reductions in LED lamp size and weight.

This seems like a very elegant solution. By solving one problem - cooling - GE has also reduced the number of LEDs required, reduced the size and weight of the bulb, and thus potentially reduced the cost (this will depend on how cheaply it can make its cooling devices).

Anything that can bring us closer to widespread LED lights usage matters. So much of the world's electricity is used for lighting, and even where CFLs are used there are downsides (mercury, easy to break, shorter life than LEDs).

Via GE
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