A team of researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have successfully developed an incandescent light bulb that recycles the heat it produces to be used as a source of power.
Published in Nature Nanotechnology, the report states that the MIT researchers used a special crystalline filter to cover the filament of the light bulb to trap the wavelengths of the infrared part of the spectrum — which produces heat — while still allowing the light waves to pass through.
The filter allows the light bulb to be more energy efficient, since the heat in the filament remains hot and produces light.
The researchers estimate that the amount of power created from the light bulb recycling its own heat is the same amount of power as that from a fluorescent light bulb. In some cases, the incandescent bulb created the same power consumption of an LED.
While the invention would allow light bulbs to save lots of wasted energy by partially self-powering, the MIT team noted that this light bulb is still just a proof-of-concept.
Moreover, the idea of a self-powering light bulb is nothing new. Light bulbs that feature a similar filament encasing called Halogen are already available. This type of light bulb's filament is located within a glass tube filled with gas that recycles the chemical tungsten back onto the filament. As a result, the light bulb is more efficient and is partially self-powered.
Still, we wonder if there will even be a demand for incandescent light bulbs in the future as the market continues to feature smart LEDS.
Photo: Patrik Nygren | Flickr