In our current age, incandescent lights are still the kings in most markets for lighting around the world. Their popularity is largely due to their low prices, but as LED technology gathers steam, incandescents will disappear from the market. The major obstacle preventing LED technology from being widely adopted is the high initial investment required for the technology. CFLs are the main competitors to LEDs, but the benefits of LEDs far outweigh the advantages of CFLs.
LEDs offer numerous benefits
LEDs have several advantages over CFLs and incandescents. They last longer, emit lesser heat, use up lesser energy, emit light directionally, and have lower start up times. This solid state technology is poised to take over lighting as its price drops steadily. In the United States, between 2009 and 2015, the price of an LED lamp that burns as brightly as a 60W incandescent fell from 70 dollars to 10 dollars.
LEDs have a much smaller carbon footprint and they do not have toxic materials like mercury as CFLs do. LEDs do not suddenly burn out and they slowly dim over time. LEDs can theoretically last forever, except that they will stop emitting light that is visible to the naked eye.
The emergence of OLEDs
Organic LEDs permits LEDs to be produced on flexible surfaces. This technology passes electricity through thin layers of organic semiconductors and is widely being adopted in TVs and smartphones. This technology is expected to revolutionize the LED market. We could theoretically have foldable lighting with OLEDs.
Future artificial gardens and farms
If humanity ever seeks to branch out to space, we need to create sustainable ecosystems to meet our needs such as air, water, and food. LEDs have been considered by space scientists as a serious avenue to replace sunlight in the photosynthesis process when sunlight is not available. LEDs can be programmed to only emit visible light. When this is combined with their low heat output and longevity, it makes LEDs the obvious choice for a future space faring humans. Scientists are still figuring out how many LED lights each plant would require, so this technology is at least a couple of centuries away.
The Department of Energy estimates that 84% of all lighting in the United States will be LED by 2030. Numerous companies such as Phillips and Future Lighting Solutions have realized this and are attempting to develop low-cost LED high bay lights, LED low bay lights, LED recessed lighting, and numerous other forms of LED bulbs.