Solar-Powered Pumps for Improved Irrigation in Honduras, Nepal, and Zambia

iDE’s Clean Irrigation Solution (CIS) can compete with fossil fuel pumps both in terms of cost and agricultural productivity. CIS’s universal piston pump can run on a variety of power sources—solar steam power, photovoltaic power, and grid-connected alternating current (AC) where available. The system accesses groundwater from deeper depths than conventional pumps, and maintains a slow, steady discharge rate. iDE will work with local businesses to sell and service the CIS.
 

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About This Innovation

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Bob Nanes of iDE on Winning a 2013 Powering Agriculture Award

Innovation Stats

Do you have any funders?: 
USAID (U.S. Agency for International Development)
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What phase of development is your innovation currently in?: 
Where did you create your innovation?: 
In what Region do you expect your Innovation to be utilized?: 
Africa
Asia and Pacific
Latin America / Caribbean
Where have you implemented your innovation?: 

How does your innovation work?

PROBLEM/OPPORTUNITY

Globally, more than 800 million farmers manually lift and haul water to irrigate their farmland. These farmers can drastically decrease their labor and expand their irrigable area by employing motorized pumps. Currently, the most accessible and affordable pump solutions are four to seven horsepower pumps powered by increasingly expensive fossil fuels. Consequently, many farmers are either unable to provide sufficient irrigation to their crops, and/or must allocate a sufficient portion of their income to environmentally-hazardous fossil fuels.

CLEAN ENERGY SOLUTION

iDE’s Clean Irrigation Solution (CIS) can compete with fossil fuel pumps both in terms of cost and enhancing agricultural productivity. CIS’s universal piston pump can run on a variety of power sources—solar steam power, photovoltaic power, and grid-connected alternating current (AC) where available. The system accesses groundwater from deeper depths than conventional pumps, and maintains a slow, steady discharge rate. iDE will work with local businesses to sell and service the CIS.

ORGANIZATION

iDE has over 30 years’ experience in developing appropriate agricultural products and engaging the private sector to supply these products to smallholder farmers, improving long-standing agricultural practices. This project is implemented in partnership with PRACTICA Foundation—a Dutch organization that has a focus on the commercial application of technology in the field of water and energy, and Futurepump Ltd.—a UK manufacturer of efficient irrigation pumps.

Provide a status update for your Innovation.

iDE and its partners have established a manufacturing facility in India. Pumps for field testing have been installed in Nepal, Zambia, and Honduras. The feedback from these field tests informed future design iterations to the pump. The field testing sites have become demonstration sites, and iDE is laying the groundwork for sustainable sales and distribution of the pump in these three countries.

What is your strategy for expanding use of your innovation?

iDE’s goal is to compete with fossil fuel-powered pumps currently on the market, and ultimately shift famers’ preference toward clean energy pumping solutions. This consumer shift would have a remarkable environmental and socio-economic effect on agrarian communities. Using the CIS instead of a fossil fuel engine can reduce annual carbon emissions by as much as 250 kilograms per 1,000 irrigated square meters.

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