U.S. Department of Energy’s “L Prize” to Award Up to $20 Million for Innovations in Lighting

L Prize

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently announced details on the Bright Tomorrow Lighting Prize competition (the "L Prize").  The L Prize is the first government-sponsored technology competition designed to encourage the development of high quality, high efficiency solid-state lighting products to replace the common light bulb. The competition will award up to $20 million in total cash prizes in three competition categories and may lead to other benefits for the winning products such as federal purchasing agreements.

The Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007 authorizes DOE to establish the Bright Tomorrow Lighting Prize competition and defines three categories of prizes.  An excerpt from the legislation that defines these categories follows:

SEC. 655. BRIGHT TOMORROW LIGHTING PRIZES.

(b) PRIZE SPECIFICATIONS.—
(1) 60-WATT INCANDESCENT REPLACEMENT LAMP PRIZE.—
The Secretary shall award a 60-Watt Incandescent Replacement Lamp Prize to an entrant that produces a solid-state light package simultaneously capable of—
(A) producing a luminous flux greater than 900 lumens;
(B) consuming less than or equal to 10 watts;
(C) having an efficiency greater than 90 lumens per watt;
(D) having a color rendering index greater than 90;
(E) having a correlated color temperature of not less than 2,750, and not more than 3,000, degrees Kelvin;
(F) having 70 percent of the lumen value under subparagraph (A) exceeding 25,000 hours under typical conditions expected in residential use;
(G) having a light distribution pattern similar to a soft 60-watt incandescent A19 bulb;
(H) having a size and shape that fits within the maximum dimensions of an A19 bulb in accordance with American National Standards Institute standard C78.20–2003, figure C78.20–211;
(I) using a single contact medium screw socket; and
(J) mass production for a competitive sales commercial market satisfied by producing commercially accepted quality control lots of such units equal to or exceeding the criteria described in subparagraphs (A) through (I).

(2) PAR TYPE 38 HALOGEN REPLACEMENT LAMP PRIZE.—
The Secretary shall award a Parabolic Aluminized Reflector Type 38 Halogen Replacement Lamp Prize (referred to in this section as the ‘‘PAR Type 38 Halogen Replacement Lamp Prize’’) to an entrant that produces a solid-state-light package simultaneously capable of—
(A) producing a luminous flux greater than or equal to 1,350 lumens;
(B) consuming less than or equal to 11 watts;
(C) having an efficiency greater than 123 lumens per watt;
(D) having a color rendering index greater than or equal to 90;
(E) having a correlated color coordinate temperature of not less than 2,750, and not more than 3,000, degrees Kelvin;
(F) having 70 percent of the lumen value under subparagraph (A) exceeding 25,000 hours under typical conditions expected in residential use;
(G) having a light distribution pattern similar to a PAR 38 halogen lamp;
(H) having a size and shape that fits within the maximum dimensions of a PAR 38 halogen lamp in accordance with American National Standards Institute standard C78–21–2003, figure C78.21–238;
(I) using a single contact medium screw socket; and
(J) mass production for a competitive sales commercial market satisfied by producing commercially accepted quality control lots of such units equal to or exceeding the criteria described in subparagraphs (A) through (I).

(3) TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY LAMP PRIZE.—
The Secretary shall award a Twenty-First Century Lamp Prize to an entrant that produces a solid-state-light-light capable of—
(A) producing a light output greater than 1,200 lumens;
(B) having an efficiency greater than 150 lumens per watt;
(C) having a color rendering index greater than 90;
(D) having a color coordinate temperature between 2,800 and 3,000 degrees Kelvin; and
(E) having a lifetime exceeding 25,000 hours.

DOE has now provided the specific technical requirements for the first two prize categories. Further information on the third prize category (21st Century Lamp) will be provided by DOE at a later date.

The EISA legislation authorizes up to $20 million in total cash prizes for the three categories.  The exact amount of the cash prize for each category will be determined based on DOE Congressional appropriations and supplemental contributions from foundations and utilities. DOE will contribute up to $1 million to the cash prize purse, subject to enactment of the FY 2009 appropriation. In addition, potential opportunities for future federal purchasing agreements, utility programs, and other incentives for winning products may far exceed the value of the cash prize.

Proposals for the competition will be accepted for each product category until a winner is declared in each category, or until 24 months have elapsed since the first award in a given category, whichever comes first. In each category, all prizes will be awarded to the winner, the first entrant to successfully meet the full competition requirements. Up to two additional qualifiers may be determined to have met or exceeded the L Prize criteria, and may be eligible for program partner promotions.

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