Salient White Elephant

April 13, 2009

Third World Deep Well Water Pump

Third World Deep Well Water Pump

Any type of electric pump circulates water until its velocity reaches the value that closes the hydraulic ram pump valve. While the ram pump valve is closed, water is pulled in through the check valve. The electric pump at the top operates continuously, and suffers no damage when the ram pump valve closes because of the air buffer at the top left corner of the diagram. Water eventually absorbs air, but the air is easily replenished when the system isn’t working by opening the drain valve.

This system may work even better with a piston pump like the kinds that were on the old fashioned water pumping windmills. Note that in this case the piston is at the top of the well rather than at the bottom.

Third World Deep Well Water Pump (Piston Driven Variation)

The pumping system proposed here has high maintenance components at the top of the well. It also requires low startup torque. To see this, simply imagine an old fashioned water pumping windmill. In order for the windmill to start working, the wind must reach a velocity sufficient for providing enough torque to life the entire column of water in the well. If the well is 800 feet deep, that’s one whale of a lot of torque! But notice that the lightest breeze could start the counterclockwise motion of water in the diagram above. The system will start pumping when the counterclockwise motion reaches the velocity required to close the hydraulic ram pump valve. Of course, it won’t pump much water at this windspeed, but it will pump just the same. As the wind picks up, water is delivered to the storage tank at a faster and faster rate.

Shock Buffering Mechanism

An air chamber is required to buffer the mechanical shock that occurs when the ram pump valve closes. But I thought of a possible way to eliminate the shock absorber (air chamber). This system would close the ram pump valve “gently”:

Shock Buffering Hydraulic Ram Pump Value


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