Wind Pumps

Limitations

Technical Information

Manufacturers

Case studies

Wind has been harnessed to lift water for more than 2000 years, first in China and the Middle East, and spreading to Europe. The energy in moving air, wind, can be converted to either mechanical or electrical energy. Recently, use of wind energy to generate power has been given more attention than ever before.

With wind pumps, moving air turns a "rotor" , and the rotational motion of the blades is transferred to harmonic motion of the shaft, which is used to pump water or drive other mechanical devices such as grain mills. Depending on the terrain, some types of modern wind pumps generate electrical energy to drive pumps. Water from wells as deep as 200m can be pumped to the surface by wind pumps.


KIJITO Wind Pump

In off-grid areas where there is sufficient wind (3-5 m/s) and ground water supply, wind pumps often offer a cost-effective method for domestic and community water supply, small-scale irrigation and livestock watering.

Wind pump technology has reached a mature state. It requires a sophisticated workshop to produce a high quality wind pump; however, it may be possible to import key parts (transmission and drive) and fabricate other components locally (rotors, etc.).

Wind pump technology played a key role in the development of the US West, Holland and in the Caribbean. In Africa, settlers historically made use of wind pumps in Namibia and South Africa (hundreds of thousands of wind pumps were used in South Africa, many are still working) and to a lesser extent Zimbabwe and Kenya.

In the IGAD region, there are at least 3 manufacturers with a production of less than 100 units per year. Donors and missionaries have been the main purchasers of both imported and locally manufactured wind pumps.

Poor reputation of the technology has prevented widespread use of wind pumps in the IGAD region and Africa in particular. There have been quite a few shortsighted projects which (1) introduced inappropriate technology or (2) did not set up long term maintenance and repair infrastructure.


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