Vu1 – A New One

After CFL and LEDs, now a completely new lamp technology from an independent company is finally about to enter the market!

Quoting part of the October 2010 introduction from the C|Net  article “Vu1 readies efficient lightbulb Edison would love“:

Vu1 (pronounced “View one”) today said that it received UL certification for its first lightbulb which it says matches the light quality of incandescent bulbs but uses a fraction of the energy and costs less than current LEDs.

Its technology, which the company calls electronically stimulated luminescence (ESL), is derived from cathode ray tubes used in televisions, said president and CEO Philip Styles. Electrons are fired at a bulb coated in phosphors which are excited and emit light. The effect is a “natural light,” which is the same as a traditional incandescent, Styles said.

“It’s basically old technology that everybody just gave up on some years ago because it’s based on the TV side, not lighting,” he said.

Because of the phosphors Vu1 is using, it can better match the light spectrum of incandescent light than competing technologies, Styles said.

Its first product, which Vu1 intends to start making early next year, is an R30 floodlight for recessed cans which produces as much light as a 65-watt incandescent at 870 lumens while consuming 19 watts. An Energy Star-compliant compact fluorescent light with similar output consumes about 13 watts. But unlike compact fluorescent bulbs, Vu1 bulbs will not have mercury. The cost is projected to be under $20, said Styles.

And now the day has come!

Well, almost… Last Friday, ahead of official launch date, Lowe’s started selling the long-awaited Vu1 lamps online (for a lower price than projected, $14.98) but only a few lucky buyers were able to place an order. Yesterday, the Vu1 corporation CEO issued a letter explaining why. It seems Lowe’s need to revamp their website to create a new product category since the Vu1 will not fit into existing lamp categories. Once that’s taken care of, online order should work again.

Early reports from those who received their bulbs are mostly positive regarding light quality. (I’ll be back with a review if I can get hold of one myself.) Update: seems that may be several years down the line as they are not yet produced for European mains voltage.

Update Aug 2012: The Vu1 lamp has received much positive attention but the company seems to still have problems delivering the lamps to U.S. retail stores, so eager consumers have to be very patient.