Pedro de Fonseca, the founder and owner of Black Gold Engineering (BGE), a fully-fledged Namibian LED light manufacturer and distributor, is setting the world alight with his unique inventions and strong business acumen. A qualified electrical engineer, De Fonseca has invented a new type of LED light under his Namlux brand that is much more efficient and actually uses up to 70% less electricity than conventional light bulbs while providing sharper and brighter lighting.
His innovations earned him, the company and the country numerous international accolades including in Japan, China, Taiwan and the Netherlands. De Fonseca’s inventions have seen him register five pending international patents, in the United States, Europe, Asia, Africa and the Pacific Ocean region.
Speaking to New Era yesterday, the young businessman explained the major difference between conventional LED lights and his new inventions: “Normally, you have lights on one printed board and the power circuit is separate from that. Now, with my invention, the lights and power circuit are on one printed circuit board and it’s a first for the industry, particularly on this scale.”
De Fonseca’s innovations have substantially increased the reliability and efficiency of the LED light. The result is a brighter and longer lasting LED that consumes only about a 10th of the power needed for a conventional light bulb and is ideal to reduce the electricity bills of the public and private sector as well as households. Also, BGE has significantly reduced the heavy compounds typically used in conventional lights, which De Fonseca explained actually make the traditional lights quite inefficient.
The ambitious and driven businessman enlightened this reporter, stating that while a normal streetlight uses up to 2 500 watts, his LED invention uses merely 49 watts at 0.21 amps of current. For some perspective, charging a cellphone requires three amps.
Calling it the ‘Rolls Royce’ of streetlights, the Namlux streetlights, designed specifically for Namibia’s conditions, also incorporates high-grade aluminium which is excellent at dissipating heat. In fact, De Fonseca said his Namlux streetlights are guaranteed for five years.
BGE recently conducted tests with Cenored, Nored and the town councils of Lüderitz and Oranjemund. While undertaking a pilot phase at these towns, BGE confirmed the massive 70% saving on consumption and components. What’s more is that the Namlux streetlights incorporate a photovoltaic cell, also known as a day-night switch, which ensures the lights go on when the sun goes down. The company also demonstrated their solar streetlights for the City of Windhoek, which showed that 10 Namlux units, producing superior lighting, use only as much solar power as one conventional solar streetlight.
BGE’s lights are manufactured in South Korea while the Namibian designed fittings are produced in China. BGE’s Windhoek office currently employs 15 permanent staff.
De Fonseca’s business vision is for BGE to become the leading light producer in Africa. His personal vision is to one day design the lights for fellow inventor Elon Musk when he eventually embarks on his much-hyped mission to Mars.
Meanwhile, BGE’s market offerings are now more relevant than ever as business, government ministries and individuals were recently threatened with service suspension by the national power utility, NamPower. Last week, the utility warned 15 local authorities, two ministries, and government agencies, who owe it close to N$1 billion, to pay up or face the dark.