SURREY — When buddies Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard pooled all of $500 in 1938 and started up a business in a rented northern California garage, few paid attention or even cared.
Two years later, they’d developed their first product and Hewlett-Packard was on its way to global tech dominance.
Last Saturday in Fleetwood, Thom Jamosin and his Surrey-based company Fleetwood Adventure Services had its own rented garage moment.
It happened in a Fleetwood Gardens parking lot and against the inauspicious backdrop of a basketball court and chain link fence. A couple dozen folks looked on – far less than they’d hoped. The “podium” was in fact a folding table topped with a cobweb of cables and electronics.
Jamosin and friends, you see, were introducing Surrey to their vision of the future – and just a few feet away stood the prototype.
It was, at first glance, a streetlamp. But look closer and you could see this was something far more interesting.
At its base, a metal box the size of a hope chest. Bolted to the sides was a series of panels. And at the top, a large red cylinder.
What you couldn’t see was that this streetlamp was completely self sufficient.
Philippines-born Jamosin calls it “Lumen Light Technology.” Then he explains that it’s just about as cleanly proficient as current technology will allow.
It harnesses power from the sun – as those solar panels hanging from the sides indicate. But it’s wind-powered too – indeed, the unit’s wind turbine, sourced from Bulgaria and found inside the mysterious red cylinder up top, is the star of the show.
Unlike the windmill-type models you’d find at a typical wind farm, Jamosin’s turbine operates on a vertical axis and in many ways is superior. It’s crazy sensitive, needing just a two-metres-per-second breeze to operate. It spins no matter which way the wind is blowing. And its enclosed blades are far less hazardous to passing birds.
It’s the lamp itself, however, that makes the thing look as good as it does. LED technology has come a long way even in the last couple of years, and at 12,800 lumens, the LED array in Jamosin’s prototype is very bright, very white when compared to conventional “sodium” fixtures, yet exceedingly efficient. In short, it doesn’t take much juice to make this baby jump.
The box sitting at the base houses batteries – two of them, about the size of car batteries – that store the gathered power and a “wind-solar hybrid controller” that manages the system. Jamosin adds that the unit can easily become a WiFi hotspot.
Fleetwood Adventure Services wants the City of Surrey to become its first bonafide customer. And with 30,000 streetlamps currently on its grid, there’s certainly no shortage of opportunity.
Jamosin says talks with the city are in their infancy.
He’s also working on a more vandal-proof method of storing the batteries and controllers – likely somewhere up the pole and out of reach.
Ultimately, Jamosin’s concept isn’t revolutionary. Google “wind solar hybrid streetlamp” and you’ll get a whole bunch of hits. But the 58-year-old entrepreneur does believe the individual components in his system have reached such a level of proficiency that large-scale “clean” applications are now truly viable.
For more information, visit fleetwoodadventure.ca.