The truth about the incandescent bulb ban
Lights out for the common household incandescent bulb came on Jan. 1, 2014, as the final step of the Energy Independence and Security Act takes effect phasing out 40- and 60-watt bulbs.
On the heels of the 100-watt (2012) and 75-watt (2013) phaseouts, the lighting industry has seen rapid acceleration of technology resulting in growing consumer acceptance of energy-efficient bulbs. Today, one out of every three light bulbs purchased is a CFL or LED bulb.
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LED technology has experienced the largest growth − more than doubling in popularity during the last year − as prices have decreased significantly and customers have grown more accustomed to seeing LEDs in other consumer products such as televisions, computers and car headlights.
Following are five things consumers need to know about the change:
- You can keep your current bulbs. According to the legislation, consumers can still use their existing incandescent light bulbs and retailers are allowed to sell bulbs they have on their shelves and in stock. Manufacturers are simply required to stop producing noncompliant products. Some specialty types of incandescent light bulbs, such as reflectors, three-way, appliance and some decorative bulbs, are exceptions to the law and can still be manufactured.
- You won't notice a major difference. Halogen light bulbs are a popular pick by interior designers because of their crisp, white light and welcoming ambiance. For customers who love the look and feel of incandescent light bulbs, there is no need to worry. Manufacturers have developed halogen light bulbs that both meet the new efficiency standards and offer the characteristics of traditional bulbs. While these bulbs may cost more up front, they pay off in the long run by saving 28 percent in energy costs over the life of the product.
- You won't replace your bulb until your baby graduates from college. It's a great time to upgrade to LED light bulbs as prices have steadily decreased while performance and appearance have improved. According to Lowe's manufacturers, an average LED bulb will last more than 22 years (based on three hours of usage per day), and over its lifetime will cost about $30 to operate, whereas an incandescent bulb will cost $165 over the same period of time. Lowe's carries a wide variety of LED bulbs for almost every household application with prices starting under $10.
- These aren't the CFLs of years past. CFLs, one of the most popular replacements for incandescent bulbs, have changed dramatically with recent technological improvements. Manufacturers have addressed common customer feedback so that these bulbs now create better light output and turn on faster when you flip a switch. Once considered a safety concern because of mercury content, today's CFLs contain less mercury than a common household thermometer.
- There's a full light spectrum for different applications. Light bulbs are available in a variety of color temperatures and should be selected based on application and personal preference. Soft or warm white, the standard color range of incandescent and halogen bulbs measures between 2,500 and 3,000 kelvins (K), providing perfect ambient lighting for bedrooms, living rooms and dens. A bright white or cool white, which measures between 3,500 and 4,100K, is ideal for kitchens, workspaces, bathrooms and other areas of the home where tasks are performed. A daylight temperature of 5,000 to 6,500K is ideal for outdoor applications and detailed tasks.
For more information, visit Lowe's Light Bulb Legislation Frequently Asked Questions.
Itronics successfully tests manganese recovery process
Itronics - a Nevada-based emerging cleantech materials growth company that manufacturers fertilisers and produces silver - has successfully tested two proprietary processes that recover manganese, with one process recovering manganese, potassium and zinc from paste produced by processing non-rechargeable alkaline batteries. The second recovers manganese via the company’s Rock Kleen Technology.
Manganese, one of the four most important industrial metals and widely used by the steel industry, has been designated by the US Federal Government as a "critical mineral." It is a major component of non-rechargeable alkaline batteries, one of the largest battery categories sold globally.
The use of manganese in EV batteries is increasing as EV battery technology is shifting to use of more nickel and manganese in battery formulations. But according to the US Department of Interior, there is no mine production of manganese in the United States. As such, Itronics is using its Rock Kleen Technology to test metal recoverability from mine tailings obtained from a former silver mine in western Nevada that has a high manganese content.
In a statement, Itronics says that its Rock Kleen process recovers silver, manganese, zinc, copper, lead and nickel. The company says that it has calculated – based on laboratory test results – that if a Rock Kleen tailings process is put into commercial production, the former mine site would become the only primary manganese producer in the United States.
Itronics adds that it has also tested non-rechargeable alkaline battery paste recovered by a large domestic battery recycling company to determine if it could use one of its hydrometallurgical processes to solubilize the manganese, potassium, and zinc contained in the paste. This testing was successful, and Itronics was able to produce material useable in two of its fertilisers, it says.
"We believe that the chemistry of the two recovery processes would lend itself to electrochemical recovery of the manganese, zinc, and other metals. At this time electrochemical recovery has been tested for zinc and copper,” says Dr John Whitney, Itronics president.
“Itronics has been reviewing procedures for electrochemical recovery of manganese and plans to move this technology forward when it is appropriate to do so and has acquired electro-winning equipment needed to do that.
"Because of the two described proprietary technologies, Itronics is positioned to become a domestic manganese producer on a large scale to satisfy domestic demand. The actual manganese products have not yet been defined, except for use in the Company's GOLD'n GRO Multi-Nutrient Fertilisers. However, the Company believes that it will be able to produce chemical manganese products as well as electrochemical products," he adds.
Itronics’ research and development plant is located in Reno, about 40 miles west of the Tesla giga-factory. Its planned cleantech materials campus, which will be located approximately 40 miles south of the Tesla factory, would be the location where the manganese products would be produced.
Panasonic is operating one of the world's largest EV battery factories at the Tesla location. However, Tesla and other companies have announced that EV battery technology is shifting to use of nickel-manganese batteries. Itronics is positioned and located to become a Nevada-0based supplier of manganese products for battery manufacturing as its manganese recovery technologies are advanced, the company states.
A long-term objective for Itronics is to become a leading producer of high purity metals, including the U.S. critical metals manganese and tin, using the Company's breakthrough hydrometallurgy, pyrometallurgy, and electrochemical technologies. ‘Additionally, Itronics is strategically positioned with its portfolio of "Zero Waste Energy Saving Technologies" to help solve the recently declared emergency need for domestic production of Critical Minerals from materials located at mine sites,’ the statement continues.
The Company's growth forecast centers upon its 10-year business plan designed to integrate its Zero Waste Energy Saving Technologies and to grow annual sales from $2 million in 2019, to $113 million in 2025.