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Pumping water uphill for free  RSS feed

 
Seth Pogue
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Ram pumps use no external power source, only head pressure, to pump water uphill.  e.g. One design lifts water 10 feet for every foot of fall.  They last about 30 years with no maintenance, cost a few dollars to build with parts you can buy at the hardware store.

http://www.slideshare.net/anniethompson/possibilities-for-locally-fabricated-hydraulic-ram-pumps
 
                                    
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My husband will be building one soon. I'll post when it's finished.
 
Seth Pogue
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Wonderful! I look forward to hearing how it goes.
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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Similar tricks can be played with electricity. An analogous circuit to the ram pump, called the Joule Thief, is often used to power LED flashlights on low-voltage batteries. A mostly-dead AAA (1V) can power a 3V device.

Nothing comes for free, of course. Boosting the potential by a factor of 10 means that over 90% of the flow is wasted. It's possible to be more efficient about it when the potential is only increased by a factor of 2 or 3.

If you build a ram pump, be sure to fix everything in place solidly at the bottom of the hill. I've read that they tend to shake themselves apart, otherwise.
 
Ed Bans
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Here is a great site with video on building a ram pump.
http://www.vimeo.com/channels/emas#8454559
 
Peter Mckinlay
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Hello Seth Pogue,

I being and old bushy have had much experience with the ram pump.  To stop them washing away they may be buried in stream /river bottom without effecting operation.

A further use of such pump is to raise water into a holding tank ten foot or greater above ground level.  The tank effectively takes out the surge as the water released from the tank is constant as it flows back through a hydro turbine.

Constant electricity may be generated this way so long water flow to the pump is sufficient. Ten gallons of water through the pump raises one gallon up.  The greater the wattage requirement the greater the flow or pressure need.  Calculous being, one litre per second at 9 bar pressure generates 720 watts increasing with flow or pressure.  Peter
 
Len Ovens
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DaS Energy wrote:
A further use of such pump is to raise water into a holding tank ten foot or greater above ground level.  The tank effectively takes out the surge as the water released from the tank is constant as it flows back through a hydro turbine.


Um, am I missing something here? Couldn't almost 10 times the power be generated at the stream itself?  or at least with one less thing to maintain? Of course the good thing is that power would still be generated if/when the stream dies out late summer. Though of course the holding tank would have to be rather large as has been pointed out in other threads. The water may be more valuable as water for drinking, washing or irrigating (if we haven't quite got the hugelkultur thing working right).
 
Peter Mckinlay
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Hello Len,

No you not missing something here, other than the turbine is attached to a generator and that would be need be sealed to prevent water damage.  Also a low stream volume  when pumped to a holding tank will give greater wattage for the period of time till the water drains from the tank, also such installation is used when the stream itself cannot supply a minimum of 9 bar presure.   Tank sizing is dependant upon the wattage requirement.  eg, higher wattage requires higher volume flow per second.    Also the water having come from the tank/dam and passed through the turbine can be put to any purpose.   A tank at ground level may be fitted with an electric pump to increase the flow pressure though the flow rate not be as great as some the energy is lost during conversion to electricity. Peter




 
                              
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DaS Energy wrote:
Hello Seth Pogue,

I being and old bushy have had much experience with the ram pump.  To stop them washing away they may be buried in stream /river bottom without effecting operation.

A further use of such pump is to raise water into a holding tank ten foot or greater above ground level.  The tank effectively takes out the surge as the water released from the tank is constant as it flows back through a hydro turbine.

Constant electricity may be generated this way so long water flow to the pump is sufficient. Ten gallons of water through the pump raises one gallon up.  The greater the wattage requirement the greater the flow or pressure need.  Calculous being, one litre per second at 9 bar pressure generates 720 watts increasing with flow or pressure.  Peter


Very cool idea. Have you built one of these? I'd love to see pictures and get some details on water flow and electrical output.

Unfortunately, it requires a moderately sized stream with a steep drop.
 
Peter Mckinlay
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Hello Peak,  Sorry all a long time ago.    Stream flow requires a one in ten drop, to acheive a ten foot pump head.  Electric output relies totaly on hydro turbine set up and flow.

Alternate is to use ambient heat pump to raise the water to required head. Peter




 
Markham Cornoit
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What is the most frugal way of pumping water uphill? I want to keep my header dam topped up! Looking forward for your reply.
 
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