Most of us still use today the traditional incandescent light bulbs to light our homes. But as the traditional light bulbs have a high energy consumption, most turn nowadays to compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs).
CFLs are used more and more because of their efficiency in energy consumption(almost one third of a traditional light bulb) and because of their durability (almost 1,000 times longer compared to the normal light bulbs).
But there are still open points to be solved regarding CFLs functionality:
– they don’t work with dimmer switches(“when a CFL is used with a dimmer switch, its bulb can burn out sooner than expected” said Dr. Praveen Jain)
– the energy efficiency is compromised by the poor power factor problem(it means that a part of CFLs consumed energy is used to power the bulb, resulting a waste power).
However, the Queen’s Center for Energy and Power Electronics Research teams started to work on solving these open points which will make CFLs one of the most used light bulb on the planet. The global market is estimated at $80 billion.
“Consumer-grade CFLs need to be compact and inexpensive. Until now, the complicated circuitry needed to power these bulbs most efficiently has been too large and too costly for consumer-grade compact fluorescents. In its current form, the household CFL takes away the very benefit to the power grid that it was supposed to provide” says professor Praveen Jain, and world expert on electronic power supplies.
The research is opportune since many countries, including Australia and the European Union, have already begun phasing out incandescent bulbs in favor of the CFLs.
And the solution did show up finally as John Lam, PhD candidate, developed a compact, simplified circuitry and controller which overcomes both problems, poor power factor and dimmable, making CFLs inexpensive and very attractive to the consumer market.
The technology transfer office of Queen’s, will work with major CFL manufacturers to bring the technology to market as soon as possible. I really hope all of us will sustain this action and will go to CFLs lighting.