I have just left Ethiopia where I visited Ziway in the Rift Valley where IDE is field testing a radical new way to for poor farmers to pump water for irrigation in the developing world.
IDE has gone back to 19th Century technology - but using the power of the sun rather than fossil fuels to create steam and drive a water lifting pump.
An umbrella kind of device called a parabolic mirror concentrates the rays of the sun onto a central pot of water. This water soon reaches boiling point and creates steam that travels down a plastic tube to drive the steam pump to lift water out of a well.
We have nine pumps being tested and assessed in farmer’s fields in the Rift Valley area. These are showing real promise to revolutionise the way smallholder farmers irrigate their fields, enabling them to grow high value crops for market – without the time and effort required for manual pumping.
The pump has been developed by IDE in partnership with the Practica Foundation as part of a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation funded programme that is developing, market and field testing income generating irrigation technologies for smallholder farmers in the developing world.
Nick Jeffries a student and volunteer from the Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) in Wales is currently studying the efficiency of these pumps using a range of monitoring techniques – I am looking forward to seeing the results soon, early data indicates that the pump can deliver around 5000 litres of water a day to a farmer’s fields.
Expectations that a final pump would retail in the region of $250. A comparable cost to a small diesel pump – but of course without the need for a farmer to buy fuel.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 3 so far )