|Water-Powered Water Pumps|
Here are some interesting articles about devices which can pump water
up to great heights without gas or electricity, using the power of
falling water or moving currents of water.
I became interested in these pumps when some friends of mine in Pai, Thailand set out to build one on their Permaculture farm.
I am merely the custodian of these documents, and far from an expert on any of them, but if you know of any additional sites or documents on water-powered water pumps, please do contact me and I can add them.
|Water Wheels||These pumps use the power of the current of the river to pump water up to heights much greater than the wheel itself. They require a steady flow at the water surface, but they do not require the river to have any steep descents or waterfalls. Water wheels must be installed in a way that they can be adjusted to the seasonal changing level of the river, which can be done manually or using a floating platform.|
Peter Tailer, formerly of the Windfarm Museum in Martha's Vineyard,
MA, describes the spiral water wheel pump he created along with
historical, construction, sizing, and practical details. This
article, written in 1986-1990, was formerly only available on paper
from the author, but it has just made its debut on the web since I
scanned and OCRed it for all to enjoy!
Morgan Spiral 1
||In his article "The Story of A Waterwheel," Peter Morgan describes the huge spiral water wheel pumps he constructed in Zimbabwe after being inspired by an explosive accident involving an eco-friendly toilet and some rubber pipe. Ok, you'll just have to read it.|
Morgan Spiral 2
||I have scanned Peter Morgan's March 1984 article in the Blair Reasearch Bulletin which describes the device along the same lines as Peter Morgan's website above.|
||In this scanned article from the Journal of Hydraulic Research, G.H. Mortimer and R. Annable make a very indepth mathematical analysis of the function of a coil pump or helical pump. This type of pump is similar to the spiral pumps above, but the pipe moves at a constant radius along the outside of a cylinder rather than in an increasingly smaller radius towards the center of a disk.|
||Alan E. Belcher, now of the Pegasus Energy Project, may have been the first person in this century to create a coil pump. This is one article which describes his 1972 design, for which he accidentally received a 1976 British Patent! This article contains one of the best descriptions of how and why the coil/spiral pump actually works, by decomposing the pump into simpler machines whose operation is more intuitive. Don't be put off by the fish passage details; the paper is really more about the coil pump!|
Two really cool
videos (scroll down to "Test B. Dynamic Head Test" and "Test
A. Static Head Test") which can help you visualize what's going on.
One video, "Test B. Dynamic Head Test," shows the air traps in a spiral pump made from transparent tubing. The other video, "Test A. Static Head Test," shows red water inside a transparent, wave-shaped tube, demonstrating that the water level at one end of the tube differs (unintutively) from the water level at the other end, and that the difference is equal to the heads trapped inside the tube.
||Peter Jacobs of Malawi shares his successful spiral pump design in a detailed document with pictures and specs. His design also appeared in the development magazine "Spore" in October 2009. Links to YouTube videos are also available from the detailed document.|
||This YouTube video shows construction details of an extremely sturdy, floating water wheel installed in Pai, Thailand by Graham Tate. There are a few details about flow rate and construction in the YouTube video description that Graham has included right below the YouTube video (be sure to click "Show More").|
|Ram Pumps||These pumps use the drop in the level of a river to generate power to pump water much higher than the river itself. These pumps do not rely on the current/speed of the river at all. Instead, they operate by letting a column of water in a rigid tube fall freely, faster and faster, and then suddenly and abruptly stopping that flow of water. They use the enormous energy of this impact to push a much smaller quantity of water up a much higher distance. The process of letting the water flow freely and ramming it to a halt repeats evey second or so. For ram pumps to work well, your section of river must have a significant drop. Sometimes you need a very long supply pipe to get the large drop needed to generate the required pumping power.|
||A wonderful article describing how to build your own home-made hydraulic ram pump, including a fair amount of background theory as well. Check out the links on the bottom too.|
Warwick Ram Docs
||A set of amazingly detailed articles about the theory and practice of setting up ram pumps, including calculators for sizing ram pump components, etc.|