Design, Build and Field Test a Low Cost Water Pumping Solution for Developing Countries 2011

Andrew Bruce Evans


This project, in line with the 2011 Year of the Humanitarian Engineer (Institute of Engineers Australia) which calls for an improved water supply and sanitation in developing countries, aims to design, model and field test a water pumping solution. The design utilises the energy in a flowing body of water to energise a low pressure, low volume supply of water at low cost and low complexity.
Two concepts have been identified as viable options, under a set of specified environmental, geographical and cultural constraints. A view toward simplicity was taken in order to minimise cost, logistic and maintenance implications, as well as considering the technological capacity of the intended end user. The first concept uses forces generated from a flapping wing and the second uses vortex induced vibration over a cylinder, both driving a simple bellows type pump, which is constructed with low cost, readily available agricultural fittings and materials.
The concepts have been modelled mathematically, scale models produced and tested in laboratory conditions, and full size prototypes manufactured and tested in real river flow conditions. The results of these tests report promising outcomes and with further development should yield viable options for implementation into real world environments. These devices have the potential to assist a distinct demographic of impoverished and needy people. Although the demographic that can benefit from this project is comparatively small, it is significantly large enough to warrant further research into the viability and feasibility of the designs.
It is recommended that detailed design development be continued into both of the concepts, as it is believed that each device has the potential for a successful outcome in assisting the humanitarian water and sanitation crisis that exists throughout developing countries worldwide. Further implications exist for these designs as there is the potential for these types of devices to be implemented in agricultural irrigation applications in lieu of pumping systems that use non-renewable fuel sources such as petrol and diesel powered pumps.



Humanitarian Engineering; Sanitation

Full Text: