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Pumping water up without electricity

  1. Aug 7, 2014 #1
    I'm trying to make a water purification system for use in rural communities. The thing is, most rural areas are off the electricity grid in India, where the system will be implemented. One component of the system needs water to be pumped in from a reservoir below it. The pumping method need not be too elaborate, or even big. If it is enough to pump water from a sealed bottle to another sealed one then it will work fine.

    Thank you for looking in.
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 7, 2014 #2


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    Welcome to PF.
    What is the flow rate in litres per minute?
    Exactly how high must the water be lifted?
    What sources of alternative energy are available?
  4. Aug 7, 2014 #3

    jack action

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    If you have a small current in your water source, you can use an hydraulic ram pump.
  5. Aug 8, 2014 #4
    Yes, I overlooked some parameters there.

    The flow rate, on an experimental basis, is 3-3.5 l/hr. The water needs to be lifted up 300m. The container from which the water is going to be lifted up is about 100m high and the container above is 100m off the ground, and it is itself 100m high.

    The hydram suggested by https://www.physicsforums.com/member.php?u=240508 is indeed feasible. Trying to check its efficiency.

    Thank you PFers!
  6. Aug 8, 2014 #5
    Hyrdaulic ram pumps aren't efficient as far as water usage goes. They're usually used in streams or near streams where water supply is abundant and constant. You'll need 10-20 (or more) times the amount of supply water as you'll be pumping. If you are pumping from a vessel and waste is important to you, it's not the best option (unless maybe you recover all the water and re-load the tank with the waste water by hand).

    Does the water need to be constant? A manually powered positive displacement pump would work, but it would be slow and take human work to get the water moving.
  7. Aug 9, 2014 #6
    I'll correct a previous post: The tanks are 100cm each; one is beloww and the other is 100cm off the ground. Sorry!

    To use the hydraulic ram pump near a stream or river, will the flowing water have to be intercepted? I mean how will we capture it?

    Also, if the waste is collected in a container with a slightly tilted or inclined base then the waste flows back to the source.

    What occurred in my mind first was a handpump to lift up water. Will that work?
  8. Aug 11, 2014 #7


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    Is photovoltaic energy not feasible? Solar cells and a battery to store the energy for use when needed. If the location experiences weeks of heavy cloud during the monsoon season then a provision for manual operation may be needed to cope with such events.
  9. Aug 11, 2014 #8


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    I guess there's some reason why the lower container can't be lifted and sat on a high shelf, to allow gravity to move the water from that container to the other?
  10. Aug 12, 2014 #9
    Yes, the lower container has to be below the ground because it will be filled by ground water. In case I decide to use only rainwater, putting this container above the other will work, but only rainwater will reduce the efficiency in places that receive less rainfall.

    Solar power requires plenty of maintenance, but I am planning for a simple process that the villagers can operate, as I wrote in a previous post.
  11. Aug 12, 2014 #10
    Any reason you can't use a hand pump? If it's that rural, they shouldn't have much issue with pumping water by hand once or twice a day to fill the tank above.
  12. Aug 12, 2014 #11


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    A community well handpump would need to be extremely robust and of an almost maintenance-free design. This would be a major cost in the west, but quite likely such pumps are already locally-produced with typical Indian ingenuity, so for the final project I suggest buying locally in India, this will ensure spare-parts are obtainable, too.

    Handpumps are already installed on hosts of village wells. I recall that charities are providing new wells with handpump fitted to communities in India & Banglahesh where widespread arsenic contamination has poisoned established community wells. This appears to be bordering on disaster in these countries. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/...stricts-contaminated/articleshow/19300561.cms

    Good luck with your project.
  13. Aug 14, 2014 #12


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    How far below ground?

    If the lower vessel were sealed and could withstand a bit of pressure, you could use air pressure to force the water out and up to a higher level. To supply this air you could use a foot-operated car pump, or an already-inflated car tube, or air pressure produced by manually raising a bucket of water to a high shelf and allowing gravity to do the work---as the falling water fed through tubing fills a sealed receptical that receptical's enclosed air is forced out....and into the top of the container whose contents you want pumped to some height.
  14. Mar 30, 2015 #13
    Simply build a small water wheel / human size that someone can step into and walk the wheel around. water is lifted from the bottom of the wheel and released at the top.. can be made from local lumber and is simple enough to be easily maintained.
  15. Mar 30, 2015 #14
    There are 2 simples ways to pump water without electricity supply, as Jack Action mentioned, the hydraulic ramp pump and, the most common in the countryside: windmills. Both of them are simple with not mud maintenance.

    Good luck
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