GE unveils jet-powered LED bulb

22 Oct 2010

General Electric scientists have come up with an experimental LED bulb that incorporates jet engine technology.

The 1,500-lumen prototype produces as much light as a 100-watt halogen bulb, using a third of the energy, according to GE, whose patented “dual cool jets” technology enables the lamp design.

Almost half the size and weight of 600-lumen LED downlights that are currently available, scientists from GE Global Research have announced the successful demonstration of a 1,500-lumen LED bulb that addresses commercialisation barriers to a widespread adoption of LED bulbs domestically and commercially.

“We’re taking swings at issues such as higher light output options, thermal management, and bulb size and weight. This kicks open the door to the solid-state age that is upon us,” said John Strainic, global product general manager for GE Lighting.

Cooling technology

The main innovation of the bulb is a “dual cool jets” cooling technology, which are miniature bellows that create high velocity air streams and draw heat away from the thermal sinks on the LED. These jets of air increase the heat transfer rate to more than 10 times that of natural convection. By drawing away the heat, this lowers lowers the ambient temperature and enables more current to flow in the LED. Essentially, this leads to the bulb consuming less power because it depends on less LEDs running at higher currents, as opposed to more LEDs running at a more moderate level, without risk of flare up or burnout.

“Dual cool jets” is based on technology the company now uses in its aviation and energy businesses. GE and the University of Maryland are in the final stages of the DOE project and are studying ways to improve the reliability and lifetime of LED lighting systems.