Life cycle analysis of an OSRAM incandescent lamp



Product name  CLASSIC A CL 40
Average lifetime  1 000 h
Lumen  415
Watt  40

The classical incandescent bulb has been in use ever since Thomas Edison turned it into a product for the masses in the early 1900s. It is a thermal radiator in which electricity flows through a tungsten wire filament in an enclosed glass bulb that is completely evacuated or filled with an inert gas. The light is produced by the wire heating up to approximately 2600 to 3000 Kelvin.

Material Composition
Glass 20.54 g 87.05 %
Ferrous metal 0.084 g 0.36 %
Aluminum 1.15 g 4.87 %
Non-ferrous metal (ex. Al) 0.2095 g 0.89 %
Cement 1.45 g 6.14 %
Plastic - -
Electronic components - -
Resin compound - -
Mercury - -
Other (incl. special chem.) 0.163 g 0.69 %
Total 23.6 g 100 %


Environmental impact of production
The following table depicts the environmental impact of the incandescent lamp during production, including the Cumulated Energy Demand (CED) of this life cycle stage.

Environmental Impacts
Cumulated Energy Demand (CED) MJ 2,2032
Global Warming Potential (GWP) kg CO2 eq. 0,14
Acidification Potential (AP) kg SO2 eq. 0,0004
Eutrophication Potential (EP) kg PO4 eq. 0,00004
Photochemical Ozone Creation Potential (POCP) kg ethene eq. 0,000036
Human Toxicity Potential (HTP) kg DCB eq. 0,0208
Abiotic Depletion Potential (ADP) kg Sb eq. 0,0008


Cumulated Energy Demand of the use phase
The Cumulated (primary) Energy Demand during the use phase is calculated from the wattage of the lamp, its average lifetime and the energy mix.

Calculation of the CED
1 Electrical power consumption during life 40 WEl • 1000 h = 40 000 Wh = 40 kWhEl
2 Energy mix
(includes average power plant efficiency)
1 kWhEl requires 3.29 kWhPrim
3 Cumulated Energy Demand 40 kWhEl • 3.29 = 131.6 kWhPrim = 473.8 MJ


CED and Global Warming Potential of the use and manufacturing phase
The graphs below outline the Cumulated Energy Demand and the Global Warming Potential of the use phase in comparison to the manufacturing phase. For the calculation of the CO2 emissions resulting from the use phase, an electricity mix of 0.55 kg CO2 per kWhEl was taken as a basis. Of course electricity production during use is also responsible for other environmental impact categories, but this depends very much on where the lamp is used. For this reason we have only depicted the CO2 impact, which may also vary depending on the location of use.

Equally depending on the electricity mix, the usage of an incandescent lamp may be responsible for mercury emissions. This is due to the comparatively high ratio of coal power plants in some electricity mixes, which emit mercury by burning lignite or hard coal to produce electricity.

Applicability of this life cycle analysis

The main purpose of this life cycle analysis is to compare the incandescent lamp with more efficient light sources. In fact, the LCA of this lamp can be seen as a representation of all incandescent lamps. Due to the very similar material composition of these lamps, the Cumulated Energy Demand of the production is approximately the same for all types. For the use phase, it is merely necessary to recalculate the Cumulated Energy Demand based on the wattage of the lamps, according to the three steps illustrated in the table above.

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