Seeking a bright idea on light bulbs

Department of Energy and utilities offering prize for best new light bulb.
Written by Harry Fuller, Contributor

Often the lightbulb is used a cartoonist's symbol for a bright idea. Right now the U.S. government is hoping for a bright idea on lightbulbs.

The Department of Energy (DOE) is running a contest, and to enter you need a thousand new-fangled light bulbs that are energy efficient. The DOE's L-Prize got its first official entry from Philips. The Philips entry is an LED bulb and would work in the standard socket. The LED bulbs can be dimmable and run off direct current. They produce no heat, a major point of efficiency compared to incandescent that regularly convert large amounts of electricity into heat.

One rule: the inner gets $10 million but the bulbs then have to be manufactured in the United States.

Another rule, the winner has to be a bulb that will replace the omnipresent standard 60 watt incandescent bulb, largely unimproved in decades. Here is the DOE's L-Prize website. The testing will take months because the bulbs will be turned on and left on for nine months.

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