Hydraulic Ram Pump : Zero Energy Solution

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               The hydram is an automatic pumping device powered by falling water. The hydram uses a large amount of water falling through a small height, to lift a small amount of that water to a much greater height.

                 Each cycle happens very quickly, about 60 times a minute or once a second (although the cycle can be between about 30 and 120 times a minute). Since the cycle happens very quickly it is easiest to explain how it works by looking at the four stages:

Acceleration

                        When the waste valve is open, water flows down the drive pipe and comes out the open valve. The water flowing past the open valve drags past it, trying to close it. The flow down the drive pipe through the impulse valve gets accelerates. As it gets faster, it drags harder on the valve until it is strong enough to drag it closed.

Compression

                         When the waste valve closes, the water flowing down the drive pipe cannot escape through it. At the moment valve closes, the water is travels very fast and suddenly it has nowhere to go. As the water increased speed, it gains momentum. Since the water cannot escape, the momentum changes to pressure-energy and the water in the pump body compresses. This leads to a sudden rise in pressure, called a “water hammer”. The water pressure rises to a much higher level that the pressure in the pump’s air chamber.

Delivery

                        Because the pressure rises higher than the pressure in the air vessel, the delivery valve is pushed open and water flows through it. The pressure in the pump body drops quickly to equal the pressure in the air vessel. The water coming down the drive pipe slows down and the pressure in the pump body drops. As soon as the pressure falls enough to be lower than the pressure in the pump’s air vessel, the delivery valve closes. The delivery valve is a one-way valve, which stops water flowing back from the air vessel into the pump.

Recoil

                              When the delivery valve closes, there is still some pressure in the pump body and drive pipe. The valves in the pump are closed, so the only direction in which the water can move is back the way it came. The water coming down the drive pipe has stopped, so the pressure energy can be released by moving back up the drive pipe. The water in the pump body bouncing back makes the pressure in the pump body fall low enough for the waste valve to reopen. The waste valve reopens because of its own weight. The low pressure in the pump body means that a small amount of air is sucked in through the snifter valve. This air waits under the delivery valve until the next cycle when it will get pushed into the pump’s air vessel. This makes sure that the air vessel always stays full of air.

                                    Figure. Ram Pump Installation at Badegaun, Godawari

                        During each pumping cycle only a small amount of water is pumped. Most of the momentum harvested from a large amount of water is transferred into a small amount of water. The high pressure in the pump body pushes water through the delivery valve and into the air vessel. It provides the power to push the small amount of water much farther uphill than the big amount of water fall downhill.

                        While a hydram is working, water flows out of the waste valve. This happens during the ‘acceleration’ stage of each pump cycle. It is the noise of the “water hammer”, the splashing of water, and the closing of the waste valve that people notice when they see a working hydram. The noise varies from pump to pump. The water leaving the waste valve is often called ‘waste’ water. Although ‘waste’ water is not delivered by the hydram it is the movement-energy harvested from this water that pumps the water that is delivered. A better name for ‘waste’ water would be ‘used’ water.

                                     Figure. Ram Pump Installation at Badegaun, Godawari

Components Of A Hydram And Their Functions

  1. Intake: structure at source that diverts flow of water to the hydram system;
  2. Feed pipe or canal: delivers water from the source to the drive tank;
  3. Drive tank: provides storage to ensure a constant flow to the hydram and removes sediment from the water;
  4. Drive pipe: feeds water to the hydram;
  5. Hydram: pump unit that delivers a small amount of the drive flow to the delivery pipe;
  6. Pump house: to protect the pump and fittings from accidental damage or theft;
  7. Delivery pipe: delivers water from the hydram to the delivery tank;
  8. Delivery tank or pond: stores the water pumped by the hydram. Can be a cement based structure or a lined pond;
  9. Distribution system: distributes water to the users. Piping can take water to households, tap-stands or fields.

Starting a pump

                Although ram pumps often start very easily they can require a little coaxing particularly the first time that they are run. Procedure varies according to drive head in the system with large drive head requiring extra care to starts a pump.

  1. Open the waste vale fairly quickly.
  2. Water will flow out through the open waste valve until it suddenly shuts.
  3. If waste valve automatically reopens, the pumps should continue to run on its own. Some time you need to reopens the waste valve until it creates delivery head.
  4. If waste valve does not reopen automatically for long time, you must prime the delivery system manually by filling the delivery pipe until sufficient delivery head is available for the pump to operate.

    Figure. Installed Ram Pump at Dhungkharkha, Kavre

Source: Centre for Rural Technology/Nepal(CRT/N). All right reserved to CRT/N.

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Pani Ghatta : A Grinding Machine

                       Water mill is one of the clean and appropriate technology for grinding at local level. The most of part of Nepal still remains far from electric grid connection. The rural electrification has been catch word just to remain safely in vaults of Planning commissions.. Nepal faces one of the longest hour of blackouts as energy crunch nation we are struggling with basic right to energy access. The geographical terrain, improper settlements of housing system, challenges of hindrances on scenic beauty and landscape as tourism being one of major attraction, losses on transmission lines might be counter acting such kinda of electrification initiative.

                       The appropriate technology is recognizing need of local people, meeting their aspirations and bringing them one step closer to energy access. There is flow of water from higher hills to lower plains. Here gravity does most of the work. The Kinetic energy of water can be directly used for generating energy. Traditionally we have been harnessing such energy through water mill. Still today lots of people in rural areas are highly dependent on traditional water mill for grinding all required household goods such as flour, rice, wheat, spices and also oil in some cases.

Working Mechanism:

                       The water from head of 20m or above is brought in open or closed conduit. Traditionally wooden blades are used as turbine on which water jets are strike upon, jets rotates the bigger wheel mounted on smaller wheel. There is continuos feed of grains in between grinds into finer particles.

A story form DhunKharkha, Kavre

                           The village has perennial source of water, water mill is located near river close to the source of water. The villagers have been using water mill for grinding their grains. It was happy to encounter old mother who was grinding her maize on mill. She was so delighted to use it, as it has reduced efforts and time that people used to devote for grinding in traditional way. She explained although she is weak and fragile, she can help her family in some way. The use of water mill popularly known as pani ghatta is free to use. The opening and closing is as simple with supplying and cutting off water supply to mill. She is happy and proud user of water mill.

                                 This is what appropriate and proper technology can transform rural life. Helps in bridging gap in energy and technology use.

Journey form Training to Trainer : As Light of Hope Continues

                           

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                      Energy has been one of the basic requirement of human beings. The traditional use of fossil fuel is gradually shifting with advent of cleaner and greener technology. And change in people perception and consciousness about climate impacts, global warming and green house effects. RAN (Robotics Association Nepal) is one of Nepal’s best institutions trying to promote technology for generating holistic relation between machine and human.

                             The #LIGHTOFHOPE is audacious project initiated by RAN with agenda to connect rural livelihood to basic energy use like lighting and charging system. The process is to connect rural and earthquake affected area to primary energy use. The deprivation of energy & energy crunch is not only hampering economic activities but education of students. So #lightofhope aims to bring back hope to people to re-start life. Everything is broken but there stands only hope that things will get better. #LightofHope tires to embolden resilience, empathy and provide strength to return to normal living for Nepalese people who are beyond electric grid connection.

                                The Shree Nawalpur Secondary School was place for solar training and distribution. The place being in vicinity of Melamchi, still lacked proper road and electric connection. The event was already planned and well arranged by local partner YUWA Nepal. Primary task was to train ninety student, equip them for repair & maintenance, and distribute 5W solar system with light and charging system. We could see curious, energetic and bold ninety students, school authority, local experts being in school. We were really glad despite public holiday of Saturday people were kind enough to show up. The main objective was to give introduction about renewable energy, detail about solar system, component of solar system, repair & maintenance and about how solar can good business opportunity.

                                      Personally there is great difference in being with the crowd and handling the crowd. Being in training helped me to learn and nurture self. I was always obliged and felt privileged to get such opportunities. This was time to pay back or simply spread good vibes for others. I tried as much as being basic about facts and in mean time holistic. The major point I was careful not to let voids between by talks and student listening. The sessions was quite interactive, reaching student asking them and they asking back their queries. I was able to reach their psyche to some extent inspire them to lead from grass root. It was amazing to teach, hear, learn and share among students. The latter solar as business opportunities was carried out by Binod Pangeni. This session was especially designed to promote business opportunities that can or comes with solar technology. The main idea behind this was to encourage student to find solution within country and to remind them there are possibilities as well as potentialities developing country and making money in Nepal.

                                                    The journey to and fro Sindhupalchowk was full of fun. It was great conversation with fellow travelers local resident Aunt who rose my curiosity about place, her experience after earthquake, how grateful she was to have young people like us helping them, the hardship they have been through, hope & resilience they had despite their homes were completely turned down, her future dream to rebuilt house. Thanks to volunteers from Australia and Germany for being here selflessly to be part of re-construction. It was great to catch up with you guys. Oh! Driver dai, your story and reasoning and loud music system made us inexhaustible throughout travel. It simply helped us to be cheerful. Many many thanks to Bikash Gurung dai for providing wonderful opportunity to actually go to different part and shade some knowledge I had. It was great to reach people in local level and empower them. #LightofHope continues for adding hope for rural livelihood and re-construction after earthquake, shading light raising people’s aspiration.

Cheers.

About Robotics Association Nepal.

Robotics Association of Nepal (RAN), is not-for-profit, non-governmental organization which is continuously working in the field of robotics and electronics automation since its establishment (2010). Each year we celebrate festival of art, science and technology “Yantra”. Robotics Association of Nepal has built a network of students RAN Representatives (RR).

Solar Cookers

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Introduction:

Nepal was once known for its dense forest, however in present only 29% of the cover remains. About 87% of the domestic energy in Nepal is produced by firewood. This percentage is close to unity in remote regions. Wood is used for cooking as well as space heating. The shortage of fuel wood in many parts of Nepal is prominent and collection has become more and more time consuming. Usually it is women and children who collect and carry wood to their home to use for food preparation. On an average, 4-6 hours a day is spent on collection of fire wood. In this context, cooking with the help of solar energy can be one of the solutions for this alarming situation. 

Solar cooking is a matured technology which many of the developing countries like India, China etc. has successfully promoted. There are several hundred thousand solar cookers in India and China.

Principle:

Though there is various type of solar cooker. The basic principle is to convert the sunlight into heat. Some of the basic principles are – 

  • Concentrating sunlight: A reflective mirror of polished glass, metal or metalized film is used to concentrate light and heat from the sun into a small cooking area, making the energy more concentrated and increasing its heating power.
  • Converting light to heat: A black or low reflectivity surface on a food container or the inside of a solar cooker will improve the effectiveness of turning light into heat. Light absorption converts the sun’s visible light into heat, substantially improving the effectiveness of the cooker.
  • Trapping heat: It is important to reduce convection by isolating the air inside the cooker from the air outside the cooker. A plastic bag or tightly sealed glass cover will trap the hot air inside. This makes it possible to reach similar temperatures on cold and windy days as on hot days.

Types 

In general there are two type of solar cooker. The box-type and concentration type.

Types-of-Solar-Cooker

Solar Water Heating System

 

Solar water heaters are one of the common applications of conversion of solar energy to heat water. Some of the typical applications include domestic hot water, swimming pool heating and commercial and industrial hot water supplies. 

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 Generally a solar water heater consists of 3 parts – 

1. A heat collection system

A heat collector system commonly known as a collector converts the solar radiation to heat. This heat is transferred to the fluid contained within the collector unit. In a typical solar water heater, cold water is supplied at the lower side of the collector and as it is heated the warm water rises and exists from the upper side.

2. A heat storage system

The hot water from the collector is stored in the hot water tank. The tank is well insulated to prevent heat loss. Different kinds of insulation is available in the market some of the common types are Rockwool, poly urethane foam etc.

3. An auxiliary heating system 

During cloudy days an auxiliary heating system can heat water through electricity or other energy source. Normally such system is used only when required.

solar-water-heater-diagram

Type of Solar Heater System:

Typically there are 2 types of solar water heaters-

  • Passive systems, and
  • Active system

Passive system

In passive system, there are no pumps or fans used in the operation. The collector is close to the area where heat is stored or required. Natural process such as conduction, convection and radiation are used to transfer heat to the load. Passive systems are simpler and in general cheaper than active systems because they do not require the use of pumps or fans. A typical example is a thermosyphoning closed coupled of a passive solar water heater system.

passive

Active system 

In active systems, the energy is used or stored in a location away from the surface being heated by the sun. Therefore, the pump or fans are used to transport the fluid heated by the collector to the storage unit and sometimes from the storage unit to the load. A common example is solar pool heating system.

JabaBasicSolarHotWaterSystem

Hydro Power in Nepal

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              ‘Hydro’ or water power refers to the energy of the movement of water being converted into electricity. The general process is power generation by use of water. Hydroelectricity is one of the most mature forms of renewable energy, providing 19% of the world’s electricity consumption from both large and small power plants. The most common type of hydropower uses dam or reservoir for water holding still there are run-off type of project too. Hydro electric power is based on the principle of using falling water to spin a shaft connected to an electric generator. The greater the fall of water, the more power it has to spin. The greater the quantity of water, the greater the number and size of the shafts that may spun and the greater the electricity output. The amount of power produced depends upon following factors:

  1. The Flow [quantity of water passing]

  2. The Head available [Vertical distance of water can be made fall]

Advantages of Hydropower

  1. Non- polluting, clean and environment friendly

  2. A renewable source of energy

  3. Cost of generation, operation and maintenance is lower than the other sources of energy

  4. Ability to start and stop quickly and immediate load acceptance/rejection makes it suitable to meet peak demand and for enhancing system reliability and stability

  5. Long operating life

  6. Cost of generation is free from inflationary effects after the initial installation

  7. Storage based hydro schemes provide benefits of flood control, irrigation, drinking water supply, navigation, recreation, tourism and aquaculture, and

  8. Opening of avenues for development of remote and backward areas

Hydro Power in Nepal

          Hydropower so far has been only source of power generation of our country. The growing need of power is increasing day by day while power generation is lagging far behind than demand margin. Nepal is blessed with immense potentialities of hydropower generation. Our country ranks second in water resources after Brazil and posses large potentialities for hydropower generation. Nepal is gifted with economically exploitable hydro-power potential to the level of 42000 MW of installed capacity out of total hydro potential of 83000 MW. Nepal’s immense hydropower potential needs to exploit in broadening the market that is developing in the domestic and regional areas.

         Despite the immense hydropower potential in Nepal, only 40 % of its population have access to electricity including 33 % from NEA grid and 7 % from other alternative source of energy( NPC 10th Plan).

Reasons For Development of Hydro Power in Nepal

Minimal contribution to global warming: Hydropower generation does not generate significant quantities of CO2. Some CO2 is generated during construction, but this is minor and comparable to what would be required to construct any power generation facility.

Clean:Hydropower generation does not generate air or water pollution, although there is a potential  for water quality impacts in and downstream of larger reservoirs.

Security:Hydropower development requires large capital outlays. But, once built, they are not dependent on imported fuels and the security issues associated with being a landlocked country.

Stability: Cost of development, construction and operation can be well documented and predicted. Once built, the fuel is free and power generation costs are not subject to fluctuations in fuel or transportation costs. Many hydro projects I am working on are over 50 years old, and several are over 100 years old. Under the right conditions, hydropower facilities can run at low operational costs for 50 years or more providing low-cost, clean electric power.

Technological transfer and self-sufficiency: Within Nepal there is growing institutional knowledge and capacity regarding this sector. Enough projects have proceeded in Nepal to enable Nepalese nationals to complete much of the engineering, environmental and social work elements and analysis. In addition, there is now a large cadre of Nepalese construction workers who have worked with international construction companies and have had critical safety and technical training. As a result, Nepal has a trained work-force ready to work on large construction projects.

Power exports:Nepal has the opportunity to export power, thereby contributing to balance of trade   and providing needed revenues for the general economic and social progress.

Potential: Nepal has vast hydropower generation potential that has only lightly been tapped. 

Poverty alleviation:Hydropower development, in association with linked development projects, can contribute to poverty alleviation and improved living conditions and health for communities in the project area as well as nationwide.

Harnessing Solar Energy for Sustainability

o-SOLAR-POWER-facebook                  The diaspora of solar market is slowly shifting from archetype system to innovative one. Till few years ago solar technology was limited to affluent class, renewable energy enthusiast and people obtaining it as subsidy. But solar trend has changed completely in recent years. The trading business of solar as commodity is shifting towards energy service provider. People were taking advantage of solar system at home individually at high cost intact with limited knowledge and improper operating trends. The situation at rural was even worse as people were fed up with irregular solar functionality lack of access of operation. They even questioned on practicability of solar technology.

                      Roughly 20% of world’s population does not have access to electrical grid. It is costly in Nepal to provide access of electrical grid to people as if geographical diversity and environmental concern. Building grid will disturb pristine beauty of our hills, Himalayas and Terai where Tourism is major source of income for people. The grid won’t be sufficient though another daunting task will be electrifying grids which is near impossible for some certain future. The rural population still relies on expensive, low quality hazardous polluting light source such as candles, battery-powered flash lights, kerosene lamps. The use of solar system has significantly grown over years yet kerosene lamps still serve as the main source of light for many people.

               There are various barriers such as asymmetric information. The general lack of product awareness is preventing people who need and want solar system from obtaining it. The cost or access for financing solar technology among consumers can hinder market penetration. The lack of information about what is available on the market. Not knowing how to determine which products best suits an individual needs. Early wear out of system by improper handling and general distrust among people by same in rural areas.

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             Governmental institutions, line agencies and aids, donors must realize that a subsidGovernmental institutions, line agencies and aids, donors must realize that a subsidy driven market cannot achieve sustainability. We must need to encourage demand driven markets rather than donor driven ones. Banks and Micro-finance should be involved for capital investment. When people start making money from generating solar energy then sustainability takes care of itself. The technical and general operational guidance should be given to consumers for handling and increasing durability of products.

            The paradigm shift on solar business from selling solar as commodity to energy service provider can increase sustainability.The concept of micro grids, nano-grids, productive end use are trending into solar business. They are easy to handle both in financial and technical view-point wise. So solar technology should not be limited to certain user it should be diversified according to best suits. The decreasing cost, able to address current energy needs, roof tied grid system, flexible financing, reliable source encourages harnessing power from solar technology for sustainable growth.