A Taiwan university research team has been awarded a patent on energy efficient nano-carbon light bulbs. Unlike popular CFL bulbs and LED lights, the new nano-carbon light bulbs and tubes use a mercury-free manufacturing process and can be easily integrated into existing light bulb production facilities.
The advantages in environmental friendliness and economic practicality are significant: the CFL bulb was invented in 1976 in response to the 1973 Oil Crisis but General Electric decided against mass-producing the bulbs as it would cost $25 million to set up a production line.
Nowadays incandescent bulbs are on their last legs but so are the paid-off factories that produce them.
The new nano-carbon light bulbs invented by the Taiwanese research team can be manufactured at existing light bulb factories – switchover costs would be much less than those required to build and equip a whole new facility. Economics are one thing, human health and the environment are another.
Though CFL (compact fluorescent) light bulbs are more energy-efficient than incandescent bulbs, one of their main components is mercury: highly-toxic if it escapes into the environment by way of broken and/or improperly disposed-of bulbs.
Not so with nano-carbon light bulbs. Ger Ming-Der (???), a professor in the Department of Chemical and Material Engineering at the Chung Cheng Institute of Technology, states that “nano-carbon materials can be used to produce a light source in a mercury-free manufacturing process.”
Although the research team has completed a prototype of the energy saving nano-carbon bulb, some minor technical issues still need to be addressed and solved before mass production can begin. Current estimates put the target as early as the second half of 2013. According to Ger Ming-Der, “We're seeking more cooperative opportunities with private businesses to improve our invention so that it can be mass produced.” In other words, show us the money and we'll turn on the lights! (via Taipei Times)