CF and Mercury

Patman3Patman3 Solar Expert Posts: 62 ✭✭✭✭
Time magazine just had an article about all the mercury entering into the environment, and it's not good.  I just bought a 12V compact flourescent at Wal-Mart and it had a warning on it, with this site http://www.lamprecycle.org/
Coal is the main producer of mercury and by using these bulbs less mercury goes into the air, but I am worried when these bulbs start to fail and get disposed of in land fills, more trouble.  This may also be of some help - http://www.nema.org/lamprecycle/epafactsheet-cfl.pdf - just put them in a plastic bag and forget about it or find a hazardous waste recycling place. So CF's are good and bad.

Comments

  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,088 admin
    Re: CF and Mercury

    Read somewhere a year or few ago that mercury from fluorescent lights being released into the environment was going to exceed that from the burning of coal sometime in the near future.

    Recently in our area (just south of SF CA), the garbage company changed its recycling policy for fluorescent. Previously, you could only bring a maximum of six at a time to the facility--now you can bring any number. But who wants to drive a half dozen miles to return a CFL bulb or two (since they don't fail that often--and keeping them around is a pain too)...

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: CF and Mercury

    definitely dont just throw out your cf's. many organizations are taking bulbs for recycling. i was this week talking with a company you can mail your bulbs too in NH. http://www.workwaste.com/

    i THINK greendisk takes bulbs, workwaste assure be their products are recycled and reused whereas i havent been able to verify about greendisk. regardless for this (CF) topic, workwaste definitely takes them.

    and there is info on one of our local organization's website regarding cf recycling:
    http://www.cetonline.org/FarmBusiness/fluor_bulbrecycling.htm
  • BrockBrock Solar Expert Posts: 633 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: CF and Mercury

    Weird. On campus all the CF's are all murcury free, they have a green stamp, sort of like the energy star, but say murcury free. They cost a bit more, but hey you don't have to worry about the murcury then. I know I ahve seen them in the stores as well.
    3kw solar PV, 8 L16's, xw 5548, Honda eu2000i, iota DLS-54-13, Leaf EV, 4 ton horizontal geothermal, grid tied - Green Bay, WI
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: CF and Mercury

    even better, cool. i have to look for them. i bought a couple standard screw in AC led lights, theyre ok, one is only nightlight quality output but doesn;t even register 1 watt on my killawatt. the other is a good task light. very expensive though... i still need to try the luzeon type led's, theyre supposed to be very bright. have you tried any of those in your flashlights? (luxeon)
  • BrockBrock Solar Expert Posts: 633 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: CF and Mercury

    Have I tried them ;)

    I have 2 on me right now and about a dozen at home. I really like them, they tend to put out more light for the same wattage since people tend to way overdrive regular 5mm LED's and they become less efficient.

    I got to see a prototype 100w LED, very nice ;)

    Back to reality though I think they are still overpriced at this point, but I believe they will fall in price rapidly as newer LED are released.
    3kw solar PV, 8 L16's, xw 5548, Honda eu2000i, iota DLS-54-13, Leaf EV, 4 ton horizontal geothermal, grid tied - Green Bay, WI
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: CF and Mercury

    An interesting bit of information when I "Googled" (luxeon type led's)
    Seems that LED's dim with age and use, some quite dramatically. That was news to me, having worked with LED's for probably 20 years and never having noticed it. From what they say, the old 5 mm types are hardest hit, while the luxeon not so much, but dim they do. Seems to be related to hours of use and how hard they are driven.
    Anyone else have any experience with this?
    Wayne
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: CF and Mercury

    it's luxeon, im sorry for the typo. :roll:
    backwoods has a cool selection of lights (in'd luxeon fixtures, and screw in), ive bought a few from them
  • BrockBrock Solar Expert Posts: 633 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: CF and Mercury

    Wayne this is very true. Running at their rated power they typically will run 100,000 hours to 90% of original output. If you overdrive them by even 10% you get about 10 times reduction in life. Running them at 50% over will get you 50 times reduction. This is why you see so many failures right now, people tended to drive a 5mm LED intended to run 20mA and push it to 40 or even 50 mA. So you see a lot of 1st generation lights with LEDs failing. With Luxeons or other chip die LED's it's all about heat. With a chip you can add a heat sink and get rid of the excess heat, which is what kills them. In a typical 5mm LED there is no practical way to remove the heat so you are pretty limited there.

    The 3w LED light I typically carry will get very warm when left on for 20+ minutes at full brightness (very rare for a flashlight), but the chip is well bonded to the entire body of the flashlight. It gets to about 110F at the head or front of the light while the tail or back is up near 90F, pretty good heat dissipation across the whole light.
    3kw solar PV, 8 L16's, xw 5548, Honda eu2000i, iota DLS-54-13, Leaf EV, 4 ton horizontal geothermal, grid tied - Green Bay, WI
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: CF and Mercury

    Thanks for that Brock - now it all makes sense - I've never run LED's over their rated, so being down 10% in 100,000 hours - my eyes would never notice that.
    It's good info for any future projects too.
    Thanks
    Wayne
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: CF and Mercury

    Brock do you have a brand name (s) for the mercury free CF bulbs and/or store names you bought them (if theyre a national chain)
  • BrockBrock Solar Expert Posts: 633 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: CF and Mercury

    I got some at Home Depot. The ones we have here at work (4 foot tubes) all have green ends one them, made by Sylvania.
    3kw solar PV, 8 L16's, xw 5548, Honda eu2000i, iota DLS-54-13, Leaf EV, 4 ton horizontal geothermal, grid tied - Green Bay, WI
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 9,393 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: CF and Mercury
    Brock wrote:
    Weird. On campus all the CF's are all murcury free, they have a green stamp, sort of like the energy star, but say murcury free. They cost a bit more, but hey you don't have to worry about the murcury then. I know I ahve seen them in the stores as well.

    They are low mercury, but mercury vapor is what creates the UV glow inside, which gets the phosphors all excited. Or else there is some now ingredient I have not heard about. The low mercury tubes have green end caps, and may require a new ballast to start in cool weather.
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • BrockBrock Solar Expert Posts: 633 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: CF and Mercury

    You absolutely correct. I just went and looked at the box. They are Philips Alto low-mercury. They do still have HG in them; they didn't say how much less, just less and better for the environment. We do recycle all our fluorescent and CF lamps here on campus and I was told I could bring my old ones from home and drop them in the same recycle bins so I do.

    We did have issues with the Alto's not working in some of our older fixtures (they wouldn't start) and we have to use regular tubes in those older ones. Now this makes since.
    3kw solar PV, 8 L16's, xw 5548, Honda eu2000i, iota DLS-54-13, Leaf EV, 4 ton horizontal geothermal, grid tied - Green Bay, WI
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,088 admin
    Re: CF and Mercury

    Mercury content ranges, roughly from 3 to 12 to 46 mGrams per tube... The newer low mercury tubes at the lower portion of the scale...

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fluorescent_lamp

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • kc8adukc8adu Solar Expert Posts: 50 ✭✭✭
    Re: CF and Mercury

    i just installed a bunch of 24" vita lite tubes over my new workbench and noticed huge globs of mercury rolling around in them.
    the t8 4 foot ge spx 850 tubes have none to be seen.
Sign In or Register to comment.