Published on October 3rd, 2013 | by Cynthia Shahan0
Sunflower Pumps Water Using Solar Power
Sunflowers, sunbeams, and dry fields. The sun is shining and the fields need watering, what’s a farmer to do? Use his tired old back pumping water? Worse yet, use that smelly diesel fuel or petrol to pump some water? No, there is an alternative! Use the sunshine to pump the water. It just goes hand in hand — sunshine and watering are two parts of the same work day. When the fields need watering, there is plenty of sunshine. Renewable energy is ever-present.
Futurepump, the Sunflower’s creator, explains: “The Sunflower is the result of over twenty years R&D to develop an affordable way of doing this.”
Cheaper, no smell, no hard labor, this solar-powered pump is rather simple after all.
Image Credit: Futurepump, The Sunflower
The Sunflower uses a solar collector that generates steam to drive a simple engine pump. It can lift 12,000 litres/day from a 7.5m well (more at shallower depths) which can irrigate around 1/2 acre. It is so cost-effective — with No fuel costs, (and no noxious smell) — that the initial investment of around $400 can be recouped in 1-2 years compared to the ongoing running costs of diesel or petrol engines.
Futurepump built this baby to last. It is designed with the intent of low maintenance, a kind consideration. It has no electronics. As Sunflower’s creators suggest, if you understand how a bicycle operates, you will be able to understand this.
It comes as a kit. We farmers love the do-it-yourself kit, don’t we? The only thing we love more is those lady bugs and bees. It is easily serviced with spare parts always available at low cost. There are three main parts to the Sunflower:
- the collector, which is a reflective dish that captures and focuses sunlight to produce steam;
- a meticulously designed engine that converts pressurized steam into mechanical movement;
- the pump, a reciprocal piston pump that draws water out of the well.