SAN FRANCISCO—Claiming a breakthrough in light-emitting diode (LED) technology, Cree Inc. Tuesday (Feb. 7) announced a new product that the company claims delivers twice the lumens per dollar of conventional LEDs and offers the highest performance in the industry.
Based on a new silicon carbide technology platform, the Cree's XT-E LED and the recently released XB-D LED addresses the largest obstacle to mass LED lighting adoption, initial cost, according to Cree (Durham, N.C.).
Cree maintains that the XT-E LED more than doubles the lumens per watt (LPW) of its XLamp XP-E LED family—providing up to 148 LPW at 85°C (or up to 162 LPW at 25°C) at 350mA. The XT-E LED delivers exceptional performance in the 3.45mm x 3.45mm XP footprint and can be used for almost all lighting applications, according to Cree.
Because the XT-E White LED is a successor product to XP-E High Efficiency LED, customers who incorporate it into lighting systems require only 3,000 hours of XT–E LED LM-80 data to achieve Energy Star qualification, as opposed to the normal 6,000 hours, Cree said.
Mike Watson, Cree's senior director marketing for LED components, said through a statement that Cree's XB-D LED "changed the game," introducing a better price-performance curve. "Now, with the XT-E LED, Cree continues to break barriers and extend its leadership on this new trajectory, delivering products that accelerate LED adoption," Watson said.
The XT-E White LED delivers up to 148 lumens and 148 LPW in cool white (6000 K) or up to 114 lumens and 114 LPW in warm white (3000 K), both at 350 mA, 85°C, according to Cree. Samples of the product are available immediately and production volumes are available with standard lead times, Cree said. More information about the XT-E White LED is available on Cree's website.
I don't think that SiC semiconductors are anything particularly new. And, according to
when applied to LEDs, SiC seminconductors are used to create blue LEDs. That yellow colored phosphor is what changes to light to white.
Here are the types of semicondictors used to create different colors, according to that URL:
"Silicon carbide (SiC),
indium gallium nitride (InGaN), and zinc selenide
(ZnSe) produce blue LED’s.
(GaP), and gallium nitride (GaN) produce green
"Gallium arsenide/phosphide (GaAsP) produce
red, orange and yellow LED’s.
arsenide (AlGaAs) produces red and infrared."
It goes on to say that white light can be made by combining red, green, and blue, although I'm pretty sure that's the more expensive way of making a white LED. The cheaper approach is just to use a blue plus a phosphor.
I think they do pay for themselves even at the current prices. I replaced 3 50W halogen bulbs on my kitchen hood with 8W LED lamps which are brighter which means I can operate them at a lower dimmer setting. Bulbs were $20 each.
savings per year at 5hrs a day for 360 days at 11c per kWh = $7. so return is in 3 years approx.
This is conservative since we now keeps the main kitchen lights off most of the time since all we need is lights over the stove at least in the daytime. Earlier, we had to turn all the lights on for an extra 65W for 5x13W CFLs.
Given the cost of the bulbs, the savings can accrue over time but with the limited lifetimes (power electronics typically) I am not sure the bulbs will ever pay for themselves based on electrical usage. I do know that in a number of applications they are very nice - quick to start and energy efficient (more for the PR and customer experience than real savings). Some companies will want to jump on the bandwagon just for the green-ness of the bulbs, again maybe more PR than anything else.
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