Although LEDs have been introduced successfully in many general lighting applications during the past decade, high brightness light source applications are still suffering from the limited luminance of LEDs. High power LEDs are generally limited in luminance to ca 100 Mnit (108 lm/m2sr) or less, while dedicated devices for projection may achieve luminance values up to ca 300 Mnit with phosphor converted green. In particular for high luminous flux applications with limited étendue, like in front projection systems, only very modest luminous flux values in the beam can be achieved with LEDs compared to systems based on discharge lamps. In this paper we introduce a light engine concept based on a light converter rod pumped with blue LEDs that breaks through the étendue and brightness limits of LEDs, enabling LED light source luminance values that are more than 4 times higher than what can be achieved with LEDs so far. In LED front projection systems, green LEDs are the main limiting factor. With our green light emitting modules, peak luminance values well above 1.2 Gnit have been achieved, enabling doubling of the screen brightness of LED based DLP projection systems, and even more when this technology is applied to other colors as well. This light source concept, introduced as the ColorSpark High Lumen Density (HLD) LED technology, enables a breakthrough in the performance of LED-based light engines not only for projection, where >2700 ANSI lm was demonstrated, but for a wide variety of high brightness applications.