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Researchers Develop Method to Reuse Incandescent Light Bulbs' Wasted Energy


A team of researchers came up with a new method of maximizing the efficiency of incandescent light bulbs, which are known for being highly inefficient.

According to BBC News, incandescent light bulbs typically use up to three percent of its energy for light, whereas the rest goes into generating heat. Thus, they have been scrutinized for their wastefulness.

Published in the journal Nature Nanotechnology, the new study detailed a process of re-using the majority of wasted energy to emit light.

Incandescent light bulbs were banned in the European Union and Canada, while they are no longer imported to the United States. They have since been replaced by the more efficient compact fluorescent (CFL) and LED bulbs, but at a higher cost.

"LEDs are great things, and people should be buying them," study co-author Marin Soljači, a professor of physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said in a press release. "But understanding these basic properties about the way light, heat, and matter interact and how the light's energy can be more efficiently harnessed is very important to a wide variety of things."

The researchers' method involves a structure within the bulb redirecting leaked infrared radiation back to the filament, where it is used for light.

"Thomas Edison was not the first one to work on the design of the light bulb, but what he did was figure out how to mass produce it cheaply and keep it stable longer than 10 hours, these are still the two critical criteria. These are the questions we are trying to answer now," Soljači told BBC News. "We have this huge challenge that the world is facing right now, global warming and energy efficiency and this gives you one more tool in the toolbox to meet that huge challenge.

"We are very excited about the potential though."

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