May 19, 2013 Lighting Design & Controls Comments Off
Sean Coppom asked: Most people don’t spend a lot of time thinking about lighting and its associated energy costs in their homes or businesses, but that would change quickly if they knew the benefits and savings provided by energy efficient lighting found on the market today. Enter the LED downlight, one of the best LED lighting solutions available and a prime example of how LED lighting is going to revolutionize the lighting industry. While not all current LED replacement bulbs live up to their claims, products like the Cree LR6 Downlight provide you with beautiful warm white light, an 85% energy savings over conventional incandescent bulbs and a 50,000 hour life span. That means it won’t need replacing for the next 20 years or more if ran for approximately 6-8 hours a day. The main question most people find themselves asking regarding LED downlights is, “Do the benefits justify the high cost?” The answer is a definite yes. Let’s look at the cost savings of using an LED downlight such as the Cree LR6 more closely. Most conventional downlights use a standard 65-watt incandescent bulb and are run on a switch that typically contains several downlights. For this example we’ll say there are a total of six lights on a switch. On average, the cost to light just one 65-watt incandescent bulb for 50,000 hours is $325, so you find that six of them would cost $1,950 to operate over that time. Another factor we have to consider is the rated life of an incandescent bulb, which is typically 750-1000 hours. Assuming each bulb lasts the full 1,000 hours, we’ll need to buy 50 bulbs per fixture to get 50,000 hours of total run time. Multiply that by 6 fixtures and we’ll be buying 300 bulbs! If the cost per bulb averages $2 we’ll end up paying an additional $600 for a grand total of $2,550 to run six incandescent lights. Now, what does the Cree LR6 cost to operate under similar circumstances? Amazingly, it runs on just 12 watts of power and uses 85% less energy than a 65-watt incandescent bulb. The energy cost to light one LR6 for 50,000 hours is only $60 on average. If we have six downlights then our total energy cost equals a paltry $360, with the added bonus of never needing to replace them. Currently the LR6 sells for around $90, so we’ll spend about $540 to install them (they can be installed as a direct replacement to standard downlights, no special tools needed) and our total cost will be $900 over the 50,000 hour period. That’s a huge savings of $1,650 over using 65-watt incandescent bulbs! In case you’re wondering how a LED downlight compares to a compact fluorescent bulb (CFL), the LED downlight is up to 50% more energy efficient than a CFL, and also doesn’t contain mercury, a toxic material that requires special disposal and cleanup if a CFL bulb should break. One last benefit of LED downlights is they produce a much smaller amount of heat than traditional bulbs and will therefore help to reduce costs associated with air conditioning. The only question left to ask is, “Where do I purchase LED downlights?” Online companies such as Polar-Ray (http://www.polar-ray.com) specialize in LED lighting solutions and can help you find what you need for your home or business. Online general lighting stores may stock LED lights but may not have the expertise or customer service to make sure you get exactly what you need. Currently it is even harder to find LED downlights at local retail stores and, when you do find them, the costs are usually higher than what you’ll find online
May 19, 2013 Energy Talks Comments Off
The U.S. Department of Energy’s Basic Energy Science Catalysis Science Program is supporting solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) development. The SOFCs use an electrochemical process to produce electricity by oxidizing a fuel. As the name implies, SOFCs use a ceramic electrolyte, a material known as yttria-stabilized zirconia (YSZ). Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Diagram. Click image for more information.
May 18, 2013 Energy Talks Comments Off
Freshwater bodies are not just the main source of drinking water, they also serve as nesting grounds and food sources for various organisms. Oil spills could pose a serious threat to freshwater ecosystems as the fresh water organisms are exposed to high risk. Fresh water ecosystem includes two habitats, standing water, and the flowing water. [...]
May 18, 2013 Energy Talks Comments Off
Oxidizing fuels is problematic because combustion is so inefficient at producing usable energy. For example, when gasoline is used to power a vehicle, at least 80 percent of the energy produced is wasted as heat. That’s reversed with vehicles that run on electricity. Better than 80 percent of the energy supplied to the vehicle is converted into motion, with only 20 percent lost as heat. Many other combustion devices as well could be replaced with electricity or with electricity produced by fuel cells. Fuel cells are devices that produce electricity from simple fuels from hydrogen up to the simple hydrocarbons and alcohols, without burning them, so fuel cells are a very desirable and promising technology. Using light gases and liquid fuels could power everything from cars and homes on to small portable devices such as cellphones and laptops. But fuel cells come at a very high cost due to the materials and construction costs, thus researchers have been trying to find ways to make the devices less expensive. One group, an MIT team led by Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science and Engineering Yang Shao-Horn with researchers at the Japan Institute of Science and Technology, and the Brookhaven National Laboratory has found a form of fuel cell electrode that promises to dramatically increase the efficiency of the electrodes in the type of fuel cell that uses methanol instead of hydrogen as its fuel and is considered a top candidate as a replacement for batteries in portable electronic devices. The MIT electrodes are made of platinum, increasing their efficiency means that much less of the expensive metal is needed to produce a given amount of power. Moreover, methanol is something that could be produced in huge quantities.