The traditional Nostalgic Bulbs may have been a massive boon to humanity since its development in the 19th century, but its extremely low energy efficiency has seen an international phase-out in recent years in favour of more environmentally friendly alternatives.
That could one day turn around, however, thanks to a new kind of Nostalgic LED Bulbs developed by scientists in the US, which feeds upon its own waste heat to power itself, effectively recycling light in the process.
The researchers behind the new bulb say that if the technology reaches its potential, it could offer vast electricity savings over today’s conventional energy-efficient lights such as compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) and light-emitting diode bulbs (LEDs).
Incandescent bulbs work by heating a thin wire – usually tungsten – to an extremely hot temperature of about 2,700 degrees Celsius. The intense heat causes the wire to emit visible light, but that’s not all. It also produces lots of excess radiation we can’t see, including infrared, which ultimately means more than 95 percent of the energy that goes into incandescent bulbs is wasted, most of it as heat.
This is why more energy-efficient alternatives like CFLs and LEDs have increasingly replaced incandescent globes, but what if there were a way of harnessing that excess heat and energy and using it? That’s exactly what the researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have reportedly done, developing their “light recycling” light bulbs in a two-stage process.