Colin Humphries' team at Cambridge University has figured out how to grow gallium nitride on silicon instead of sapphires, making a much cheaper light emitting diode. LEDs can reduce lighting bills by 75% compared to incandescent, but they still cost a lot of money. Humphries claims within five years, the new bulbs will be available, cheap, mercury free, dimmable and designed to last over 50 years.
He is quoted the University of Cambridge Newsletter:
"This could well be the holy grail in terms of providing our lighting needs for the future. We are very close to achieving highly efficient, low cost white LEDs that can take the place of both traditional and currently available low-energy light bulbs. That won't just be good news for the environment, it will also benefit consumers by cutting their electricity bills....
There is still work to be done in making the white light from current and future LEDs less harsh – in the same way that some people will cling to incandescent light bulbs for some time to come, citing their more-appealing light, no doubt there will be some reticence from some in moving wholeheartedly into using LEDs in their lounge or bedroom."
In the UK alone, use of the new bulbs instead of warm and cosy incandescents would end the need for eight big power stations. No doubt in America, the Light bulb Freedom of Choice Act will be revised to ban them as they will hurt the coal industry and the infrastructure workers building new power plants.
See also the Guardian; via Clean Technica
More on LED lighting:
Big LED Breakthrough at Purdue University Could Change the World
GE "major milestone": Printing Organic LEDs like Paper, Applicable to Solar Panels
Osram Claims Warm White Organic LED Breakthrough
OLED Breakthrough at U. of Michigan and Princeton: 70 Lumens/Watt!