Lighting Startup Unveils Game-Changing LED Bulb

FEBRUARY 9, 2012 | By Megan Treacy for TreeHugger

Soraa, a lighting and laser start-up company that just exited stealth mode yesterday with a cool $100 million in investment backing, has unveiled its new LED technology that raises the bar on energy efficiency, brightness, quality of light and energy cost savings.

The company's co-founder, Shuji Nakamura, is the creator of the blue laser and the white LED and often called the father of the LED. His new company is hoping to push the technology into the future with an LED replacement for the MR16 halogen bulb, a high-power bulb used mainly in retail and industrial settings.

Soraa's LED replacement is 75 percent more efficient than a 50W halogen bulb and, with a lifetime of 25,000 hours, lasts 10 times longer. The company says that the initial price point will be $25, so for a business that uses the lamp for 15 hours a day, the return on investment in energy savings will easily be less than a year. Soraa also expects that initial price to drop quickly as production goes up.

The company's new approach to LEDs revolves around using gallium nitride (GaN) for the substrate part of the light. Most LEDs use GaN on a sapphire or silicon carbide substrate, but Soraa applies GaN onto a GaN substrate to produce a more uniform, brighter and cheaper light. The company says that their technology produces 10 times the amount of light per millimeter than other substrates and without the need for a mechanical fan that often comes with LED replacement bulbs of this size.

Soraa has started production of their LED technology at a plant in Fremont, Ca. and will begin shipping bulbs to businesses this quarter.

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