This year’s Nobel prize in Physics is all about energy efficiency as it was awarded to three Japanese scientists for their invention of the blue LED. This enabled the world to have super efficient LED light bulbs.
LED lights as the graph above shows are much more energy efficient than their old incandescent and fluorescent counterparts ( 20 to four times, respectively ) as it achieves a staggering 300 lumens per Watt. The Nobel Committee states :
They succeeded where everyone else had failed. Akasaki worked together with Amano at the University of Nagoya, while Nakamura was employed at Nichia Chemicals, a small company in Tokushima. Their inventions were revolutionary. Incandescent light bulbs lit the 20th century; the 21st century will be lit by LED lamps.
(…) The LED lamp holds great promise for increasing the quality of life for over 1.5 billion people around the world who lack access to electricity grids: due to low power requirements it can be powered by cheap local solar power.
As I noted in a previous post on LED bulbs :
According to a study carried out in the United States by the local Department of Energy (DOE), the 49 million LED light bulbs already installed helped save a massive $675 million (over 500 million euros) in a single year.
But wait, there is more as if all light bulbs in the United States were replaced by such bulbs, the potential savings could be the absolutely huge amount of $37 billion (27 billion euros) per year !
Now imagine their potential on a global scale and you will understand the significance of the discovery.
Image source : Nobel committee