Good Thinking

Barsha pump provides irrigation water, but doesn't need fuel

A Barsha pump at work in Nepal
A Barsha pump at work in Nepal
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A Barsha pump at work in Nepal
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A Barsha pump at work in Nepal
The pump claimed to be capable of pumping water up to a height of 25 meters (82 ft), at a maximum rate of one liter (0.26 US gal) per second
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The pump claimed to be capable of pumping water up to a height of 25 meters (82 ft), at a maximum rate of one liter (0.26 US gal) per second

Climate-KIC, a European-union climate innovation initiative, recently selected a jury of entrepreneurs, financiers and business people to award funding to what they felt were Europe’s best clean-tech innovations of 2014. Taking first place was Dutch startup aQysta, a Delft University of Technology spin-off company that manufactures what's known as the Barsha irrigation pump. It can reportedly boost crop yields in developing nations by up to five times, yet requires no fuel or electricity to operate.

Although the Barsha pump (Nepalese for "rain pump") is a new product, it's based on a very old design – it has its origins in ancient Egypt.

The pump itself is essentially a water wheel on a floating platform, that's moored in a nearby flowing river. The moving water rotates the wheel, that in turn utilizes a spiral mechanism to compress air. That air drives water through an attached hose and up to the fields.

The pump claimed to be capable of pumping water up to a height of 25 meters (82 ft), at a maximum rate of one liter (0.26 US gal) per second
The pump claimed to be capable of pumping water up to a height of 25 meters (82 ft), at a maximum rate of one liter (0.26 US gal) per second

It's claimed to be capable of pumping water up to a height of 25 meters (82 ft), at a maximum rate of one liter (0.26 US gal) per second. According to its designers, it has zero operating costs, only one moving part, can be built from locally-available materials, and should provide a return on investment within one year of use – for diesel-powered pumps, they claim that the figure is closer to 10 years.

Of course, it also creates no emissions.

The first Barsha pump was set up in Nepal this July, and a business is now being established there to manufacture and market the devices. Plans call for similar developments in Asia, Latin America, and Africa.

Sources: aQysta, Climate-KIC

13 comments
Khoop
isn't it just this? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spiral_pump I have one at my cabin... you can make it with a regular hose on a wheel.
Deres
If you are adjacent to a river, the multi-millenia non fuel solution is simply to take water upper in the river. In arid countries, river are always lined by canals with smaller descend angles ... The main advantage of this solution is to limit the need for the acceptance for a small canal. Note that in curent days, those canal can easily be done with close tube or hoses and not the big costly open air canal in stone or bricks of ancient days.
flink
@Khoop, it's similar, not exactly the same. Your spiral pump (classified as a progressive cavity pump, I believe) uses the force of water to turn the screw, which moves water. It has limited lifting ability. After all, there's a practical limit to how fast the water current can turn that screw. The Barsha is an closer to being what most people would call a pump. It uses a turning rotor to move water _and_ air (to get that extra lift) much further. The overall flow is less than your screw pump, but it's definitely the best choice for users who may be separated from the water source by distance and elevation. It's undoubtedly smaller and easier to work with, too. @Deres - Quite right, but canals are of little use unless the farmland is near or below the level of the flowing water. When the land is higher than the water, irrigation channels get filled using pumps (modern times) or manual mechanical lifting devices (counterweighted vessels) to add water to the channel. Much more than 10-15 feet and any manual solution rapidly loses any practicality. That's why this one is so cool. The air forced into the hose along with the water provides lift. When the arable land is well above the water level (think a mountainous region rather than a river plain), this one is much more useful.
LordInsidious
Love seeing these smart elegant solutions that don't require multinational corporate approval.
Stephen N Russell
mass produce for global use IE India, Africa, SE Asia, Caribbean, PNG alone
Neil Larkins
Ram pumps that operate on the same water they pump are made from ordinary PVC pipe and fittings and have been supplying water in rural settings for decades now. Easy and cheap to make, the plans are available for free on the Internet. As long as you have a moving water source, you can have water 24/7 at no cost and years of trouble-free operation. Better to disseminate this information to the world's needy than the availability of a commercial pump they may not be able to afford.
Nelson Hyde Chick
This will only work if there is running water, and that is getting less and less likely in our overcrowded future.
SamC
@Stephen N Russell Yeah my thoughts too. Why not just use a way cheaper and simpler Hydraulic Ram? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydraulic_ram
Racing Eng
The problem with ram pumps is that you need a head (height difference) in order for them to operate by having a pressure differential that triggers their 'waste' valve and creates the ram wave. Check this illustrative animation: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zk9zs0EQIQ8 This Barsha pump, on the other hand, does not necessarily need such head to be propelled. As traditional stream waterwheels, it operates with virtually no head, relying mostly on the river's kinetic energy, hence not needing such height difference. Hence, it can be used in far many more locations! That's why this one seems so interesting for scaling up. Additionally, the majority of the fluid that goes through a ram pump is 'discarded' and only a small proportion is lifted, hence their discharge output tends to be small (probably smaller than the 1 litre/second claimed by the Barsha). If ram pumps were so suitable, don't you think they would already be very popular by now? ;-)
Slowburn
The seal at the rotating joint looks to be a problem. I would the little waterwheel to drive a bucket chain. (Given the flow rate a stout string and thimbles.)