The inventor of the first visible light-emitting diode makes history again this year as it begins to show customers a 40-watt replacement GE Energy Smart LED bulb available later this year or early 2011. GE Lighting's new LED bulb is expected to consume just 9 watts, provide a 77 percent energy savings and produce nearly the same light output as a 40-watt incandescent bulb, while lasting more than 25 times as long.

The new GE Energy Smart LED bulb is expected to outperform currently available products that may be underwhelming consumers right now. GE scientists and engineers designed the bulb to better direct light downward on the intended surface and all around, not just out the top of a lampshade, as most current LED bulbs are prone to do. The new GE LED bulb offers 450 lumens – the Energy Star threshold to be considered a 40-watt incandescent replacement. Currently available LED bulbs produce 350 lumens or less. GE has filed multiple patent applications for the bulb and expects it will be an Energy Star-qualified LED omnidirectional light bulb.

“This is a bulb that can virtually light your kid's bedroom desk lamp from birth through high school graduation,” says John Strainic, global product general manager, GE Lighting. “It's an incredible advancement that's emblematic of the imagination and innovation that GE's applying to solve some of the world's biggest challenges.”

The 9-watt GE Energy Smart LED bulb, a replacement for 40-watt general service incandescent bulbs, hits store shelves this fall or in early 2011. Retailers set pricing but it is expected to be $40 to $50.