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Natural Water condensation irrigation  RSS feed

 
Terry Frankeberger
Posts: 34
Location: West Tennessee
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forest garden rabbit woodworking
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I am going to attempt to make an irrigation device that condenses the humid warm summer air in porous pipes under my garden. The air flow will be provided by a solar chimney just like a qanat. I have considered several pipe materials. Clay pipe would be very expensive since I would have to special order it. I think that perforated pipe would drain too rapidly in my sandy soil. Even though concrete pipes would be easy to make and fairly inexpensive I really did not think of it as eco-friendly. Finally I considered using a bored out log as the pipe.
I think that wood is the best choice because it will store the water and release it slowly and as needed. It will also be more efficient bause the plant roots will grow around the wood. I also think that as the wood breaks down the water will help carry the nutrition to the plants.
I am just not so sure as to what type of wood would be best Cedar would last a long time but may not be very beneficial to the soil but other woods might rot to fast any ideas or suggestions would be helpful.

Description: porous pipe will be buried under ground with elbows and openings at each end. One end will have a solar chimney that will heat the air inside causing it to rise and exhaust; drawing warm moist air in from the other end the moisture will then condense on the wood and slowly soak through and into the soil. Any evaporation will recool the ground and pipe.
 
Michael Cox
Posts: 1667
Location: Kent, UK - Zone 8
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I can see some issues...

You have assumed "humid air" being drawn through these pipes. What is likely to happen if warm *dry* air is drawn through them instead? You are likely to end up drying out the soil even further, by allowing subterranean evaporation. You could,I guess, find some way to manually control the air, only taking in air that reaches a certain humidity level, but that is likely to be a lot of micromanagement for a small yield of water.
 
Terry Frankeberger
Posts: 34
Location: West Tennessee
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forest garden rabbit woodworking
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Thank you, Michael. but I do not think that will be an issue.

I did some research and the average relative humidity during the summer for my area is about 80% in the mornings and about 50% during the evenings. I am confident that there will be plenty of moisture in my climate for this to work. I believe this mainly because, qanats were built in arid climates to condense what little moisture that was available for irrigation and are still working today.

More importantly thanks to your post I did realize that I would probably need to control the intake and exhaust air flows to prevent low air pressures in the pipes. Low air pressures would likely increase the potential for subterranean evaporation.

My main goal here is to keep my soil irrigated between rains without using municipal water. I also have low rainwater catchment opportunities near my garden. Also depending on how well this works I may experiment with these for energy production.
 
D. Logan
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Location: Soutwest Ohio
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I recall one of the Foxfire books had a tutorial on creating a wooden pipe to transport water. I don't recall which book, though it would have been one of the first five. It almost certainly mentions a wood that is good for the job, so if I have time I will try to dig around in the books and see if I can find the reference.
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