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Phoenix Energy Blog
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Emerging Energy Efficiency Technologies- Q1 2017


We know about LED lights, smart thermostats, and electric cars, and for many those are old news. As we ending Q2 of 2017, let’s see some of the greatest new technologies we all could use to increase our energy efficiency in our lives.

Nanophotonic Incandescent Bulbs

Incandescent bulbs have barely changed since the days of Mr. Thomas Edison, yet are still a popular option in homes everywhere. With the push now being toward CFLs and LED lights which are many time more efficient, Incandescent bulbs are going out of style. Rightfully so, the mechanism of action for these bulbs is heating up tungsten wires to emit a broad spectrum light, but in this process more than 95% of the energy produced is wasted as it is released as heat.

MIT has developed a new incandescent bulb that begins with that similar mechanism but instead of allowing the heat to escape as radiation, it is reflected back to the filament to be emitted as visible light. This is considered a nanophotonic bulb-a word more frequently associated with solar panels. Because of this reflection, the luminous efficacy (the measure of how well a light source emits light to the human eye) is actually able to surpass that of normal incandescents, CFLs, and even as much as 8x more than LEDs.

Most efficient LED light

On average, a traditional LED lamp costs 31kg of carbon dioxide emission yearly. A team at State Key Laboratory of Ultra-precision Machining Technology (Partner Laboratory in The Hong Kong Polytechnic University), has developed an LED with 150% the luminous efficacy of these average lights and a mere 22kg of CO2 emitted yearly.

The team has utilized new technologies to make this happen more efficiently and at lower production cost. For example, with the increase of heat flow, the luminous efficacy is reduced so the team is using aluminum as their substrate to make the product more efficient and affordable. Other less efficient substrates used in other bulb technologies include ceramics and sapphires. Additionally, the school developed a injection moulding method that increases the beam angle to 300 degrees, rather than limiting the angle with traditional moulding.


Magnetic Refrigerators

Sure, your kindergarten artwork probably was stuck to the fridge by a magnet, but it was powered by expanding and compressing refrigerants. Taking those magnets inside, scientists are working to reduce the effect of refrigerators on your electricity bill and on the environment.

Refrigerators and air conditioners contribute to as much as 25% of an electricity bill. They are running almost 24 hours a day and use hydroflourocarbons (HFCs)- a greenhouse gas. If we continue using our current cooling technology, “ by 2030 cooling devices will account for 13 percent of the entire world's greenhouse gas emission

The new magnetic refrigerators will use the magnetocaloric (MCE) effect and will be approximately 20-30% more energy efficient than traditional methods. This works by changing from high to lower magnetic field to reduce the temperature and the heat is expelled. This system also doesn’t require HFCs.

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