The category of the L Prize competition has been revised and relaunched, and will reward US manufacturers of ultra-efficient LED replacements for PAR38 lamps.
The US Department of Energy (DOE) has reopened the PAR38 category of the L Prize competition. This challenges the US lighting industry to develop an exceptionally high-performance, ultra-efficient LED alternative for PAR38 halogen lamps.
Headline figures for the PAR38 competition are a light output exceeding 1350 lm with a power of less than 11W, and an efficacy greater than 123 lm/W. Products should have a minimum center-bean luminous intensity of 18,000 cd. Not all lamps submitted for testing are required to meet these targets – see “PAR38 criteria” below.
The L Prize competition was established by US Congress in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 and launched by DOE in 2008.
The first L Prize was awarded to Philips in the 60W-incandescent-replacement category in August 2011. The winning Philips product is expected to be available in stores any time now. Philips won $10 million, but there is no word how much cash the PAR38 winner will receive.
The PAR38 replacement category was temporarily closed in 2011 to “retool the competition based on lessons learned through the 60W competition,” according to the DOE.
The relaunched PAR38 competition retains the original technical requirements established by Congress (see below), but has been “streamlined to keep pace with the speed of technology innovation and to move winning products into the market sooner,” says the DOE.
PAR38 lamps (PAR stands for parabolic aluminized reflector, and 38 designates a diameter of 120mm or 4.75 in) are directional lamps that are in widespread use in both residential and commercial applications. The DOE says there are approximately 90 million PAR38 lamps installed in the US. Replacing these with lamps meeting the L-Prize criteria would save 11 terawatt-hours of electricity per year – approximately equivalent to the annual electricity consumption of Washington, DC – and avoid 7 million metric tons of carbon emissions.
“The L Prize competition challenges the best and brightest engineers and scientists across America’s lighting industry to drive innovation in new, more efficient products and boost our nation’s competitiveness in manufacturing,” said Energy Secretary Steven Chu. “The winning products will help expand lighting choices for consumers, reduce our nation’s energy use, and save money for American families and business owners.”
According to the DOE, “the rigorous performance testing needed to win the L Prize ensures that the performance, quality, lifetime, costs, and availability of winning products meet expectations for mass manufacturing and widespread adoption.”
For the PAR38 category, about 50% of the LEDs must be produced in the U.S., and all of the assembly must be done in the U.S.