Toppling Existing Pricing Models for Low Flow Water Disinfection Products with UVC LEDs


James Peterson

By James Peterson

Product Manager

Germicidal-grade UVC LEDs have hit major milestones in both total power output and pricing. Point-of-use (POU) water purifier OEMs now recognize that on-demand disinfection with UVC LEDs offer substantial savings directly dollar for dollar over mercury lamp reactors.

Traditional, bulky germicidal lamp systems rely on expensive lamp ballasts, periodic consumer bulb replacement and safe disposal of the toxic mercury. Non-toxic UVC LED-based systems use simple DC power systems and last the lifetime of most consumer appliances.

In addition, disinfection performance and flow rate expectations for POU water purifiers vary by region. While lamp systems used in these applications are typically a one-size-fits-all approach, UVC LED systems let manufacturers create product designs that meet specific market needs with closely controlled costs.

TABLE 1

CONSUMER POINT-OF-USE WATER PURIFIER REQUIREMENTS BY REGION

RegionLiters Per MinuteDosage, mJ/cm2Common Disinfection Rate
Asia 2 7 3 LRV E. Coli
North America 4 40 (16) NSF 55 Class A (B)

TABLE 2

Typical Costs for Mercury Lamp-based Purifier vs. UVC LED-based Purifier

RegionReactorFlow
Rate
Initial
Cost
10-yr
Maintenance
TotalLED
Savings
APAC Mercury Reactor
LED Reactor
2
2
$15.00
$35.00
$54.00
$0.00
$69.00
$35.00

49%
USA Mercury Reactor
LED Reactor NSF B
LED Reactor NSF A
4
4
4
$25.00
$60.00
$80.00
$90.00
$0.00
$0.00
$115.00
$60.00
$80.00

48%
30%
Note: Mercury disposal and cost of electricity not included

The biggest impact on consumers' cost for disinfection is attributed to the longer life of on-demand UVC LED reactors—often lasting the full lifetime of the appliance. Annual replacement revenue models of UVC lamps and sleeves easily exceed $100 over the life of a consumer system. Although the initial implementation cost of a UVC LED reactor may exceed that of a mercury lamp reactor system, a UVC LED solution can save 30-50 percent over the total lifetime of the appliance.

Water purifier OEMs should resist getting caught up in price per LED or $/mW when evaluating UVC LEDs for their products. Leveraging regional performance requirements and lowered cost of ownership can give products a competitive advantage in key niches that will lead to future strength in the water disinfection market.


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