Energy efficient light bulbs have come a long way in the last decade to keep pace with growing concerns about the health of our planet. Lighting accounts for 18 percent of a typical household’s energy bill, but recent advancements in lighting technology has allowed us to trim pounds off our bill by fitting energy efficient bulbs.
There are currently two energy efficient light bulbs available in the UK, Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) and Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs), but these two products will be soon be joined by a third revolutionary new lighting option.
A bright idea from two Noble Prize winners
The graphene light bulb is the first consumer product available in the UK to be made from this much-hyped new material. Reported to use approximately 10 percent less energy and last longer than the existing energy saving options, the new graphene bulb looks set to light up the UK market when it hits the shelves later this year.
Graphene was first discovered by two researchers and Nobel Prize winners at the University of Manchester, Andre Geim and Konstanin Novoselov. The bulb itself will be manufactured by a Canadian-owned spin-off company with ties to Manchester University, and is set to become the first commercially available graphene product available anywhere in the world.
The discovery has also led to the development of Manchester University’s new National Graphene Institute, which will employ somewhere in the region of 200 researchers, and position the UK as the dominant force in graphene technology.
What is graphene?
Graphene is a form of carbon made from a single layer of atoms linked together in a honeycomb structure. This not only makes it incredibly thin and light, but also exceptionally strong. A 1 metre square sheet of graphene weighs just 0.77mg, but is capable of supporting more than 4kg in weight. Graphene is so thin that three million sheets stacked on top of each other would measure just 1mm deep!
Light bulbs are just one of the many potential applications for this material. It is thought that the majority of graphene’s uses will come in the electronics field, where it will be used to make flexible screens for mobile phones, and in the production batteries which are tiny but also have a high-capacity.
How will the graphene light bulb work?
The graphene light bulb is unremarkable in its appearance, with very little to differentiate it from conventional light bulbs. The real difference is in the thin layer of graphene which coats the filament and allows it to conduct electricity more efficiently.
The new light bulb will retail for less than £15 and is reported to produce energy savings of as much as 10 percent. This superior performance is down to the increased electricity and heat conductivity of graphene. The result is a light source that not only lasts longer, but can also be made entirely from sustainable components, making this a greener offering in every way.
Written by Sam Butterworth at The Electrical Wholesaler