Thermofluidics' technology is applicable from industrial state-of-the-art to the poorest farms in the world - it is our objective to serve both.
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First Impact Pumps go live in Zambia
Our first Impact Pump prototypes in Africa beyond Kenya are installed and lifting water from an open well and a drilled borehole for irrigation on a farm near Ndola, northern Zambia. These are PS0 (Pre-Series 0) prototypes, powered by a Futurepump SF2 and Ennos Sunlight pump, respectively. These units were installed by local plumbers with minimal instruction and will be used to conduct a number of farm-based studies as part of a wider project looking at the introduction of sustainable horticultural practices into the region.
New test borehole completed and commissioned at our U.K. technical centre
We have completed and commissioned a new 37m deep 4” borehole test facility at our U.K. technical centre in mid-Devon. The new facility will enable intensive experimental testing and development of production Impact Pumps at a greater range of heads and flows than existing above-ground test-towers on the same site, which are limited to 10m. It will also host high-flow (stress) endurance tests when not in use for development, and enable experimental work to begin on new concepts, including our novel approach to ultra-low-cost groundwater level monitoring and hydro-power generation from aquifer recharge.
First batches of production parts arrive
We have taken delivery of the first batches of Series 0 Impact Pump production parts in preparation for assembly, quality assurance, packing and shipping. Meanwhile, we are setting up our UK based assembly line for the first 200 units to design, test and optimise assembly procedures, in line with our target shipping date.
First cast and machined production parts commissioned
We have agreed and commissioned toolmaking and pilot production for our first set of cast and machined production parts for our Impact Pump “Series 0” launch product. These will form part of the first Impact Pump product, this is due to be available in Kenya from late 2019 with rollout across East Africa during 2021.
Series 0 Impact Pump product engineering design complete
The end-to-end design of the Impact Pump “Series 0” launch product is complete and production quotations are being sourced. We are on schedule to launch our first product under the Impact Pumps brand in Kenya in late 2019. This coincides with our first million litres of water having been lifted in the field, directly improving the lives of rural communities through the provision of irrigation, drinking and sanitation services.
10,000hr accelerated tests complete
We have completed a number of accelerated ageing tests on a concept-design for our next generation of uDAHR prototype, that will be called the “Pre-Series 0” uDAHR. These included fatigue tests, corrosion tests, repeated dry-run tests and long-durations of operation in acidic silted wells with high chloride concentrations.
New >90% Impact Pump hydraulic efficiency record achieved in Bangladesh
A new efficiency record has been set by our Bangladeshi Team in collaboration with IDE. Badrul Alam, treadle pump pioneer and leader of IDE’s technical centre in Dhaka, and his team, recorded a best ever hydraulic efficiency of 92% from a Pre-Series 0 Impact Pump installed at 27m depth (24m to water) at Miton, near Dhaka. This was achieved using steel pipework. The pump was driven by an Ennos Sunlight pump, manufactured under license in India by Jain Irrigation. The team also recorded efficiencies close to 90% using PVC pipework in place of HDPE.
Mixed domestic and irrigation use of water raised at Seme, Kisumu province, Kenya, reported by community leaders
As our gamma-uDAHR field trials progress in Kenya and Bangladesh, unexpected usage patterns continue to emerge. Although very different in nature and requirements, the distinction between water pumping for irrigation and domestic use (drinking/cooking and sanitation) is not always cut and dry in the real world. We now know that our well in Seme, Kenya is providing around 160 people with water for domestic use during the peak of the dry season, whilst being used for irrigation at other times. The daily pumped volumes required are similar, but continuity of supply is now even more essential. So far, users are very happy with the service that the uDAHR offers, as according to community leaders, existing powered-options (helical sumbersibles and suction pumps lowered on platforms) would often already have failed in a sandy dug well of varying water depth such as this.
SF2-driven Impact Pump installed at GLAC primary school, Ahendu, Kenya, displacing bucket lifting and supplying pre-purified drinking water for more than 250 children and staff
Our Kenyan technical team managed by Futurepump Kenya have installed a Pre-Series 0 Impact Pump at GLAC primary school in Ahendu, Kisumu province, Kenya. This pump, driven by a Futurepump SF2, is providing an improved water supply for more than 250 children and staff from a water depth of 13m. Previously lifted by buckets, a key route for contamination of wells, the water is chlorinated prior to drinking.
Major East African distribution partner agrees to stock the Series 0 Impact Pump
Following an on-site demonstration to approximately 30 senior staff, and a successful 500 hour test result, we are pleased to announce that the Impact Pump has been selected for inclusion in the 2020 stock list of our main East African distribution partner. Our partner, who controls over 50% of the pump distribution market in East Africa, will take delivery of the first shipment of Impact Pumps via Mombasa in late 2019.
Wellcome Trust increases and extends Thermofluidics’ Translation Award to cover Impact Pump pilot launch and rollout across East Africa
We are delighted to be able to announce that the Wellcome Trust have agreed to a further funding package of £1.45M to cover toolmaking, pilot production and launch across 8 East African countries. The extended project will run until August 2021, bridging a critical funding gap between applied research and commercial-sustainability.
SF2-driven Impact Pump installed in 24m deep well in a community compound in Rabour, Kenya
Thermofluidics Engineers have installed our first deeper-well Pre-Series 0 Impact Pump at George Arombe’s family compound, Rabour, Kisumu province, Kenya. The pump is lifting water from a depth of 24m to serve a community of around 60 people. It is powered by a modified Futurepump SF2.
Treadle pump use reported over holiday period
A treadle pump was spontaneously coupled to one of our gamma-uDAHRs in Kenya over the winter holiday period. This coincided with a minor breakage in the Futurepump SF2 drive pump during a time when no staff were on hand to fix the problem. The farmer reported good performance from the treadle-uDAHR combination, though said he was “looking forward” to having his solar pump working again!
uDAHR is re-branded “Impact Pump” in preparation for product launch
Thermofluidics rebrands the uDAHR as “Impact Pump”, as it moves towards production readiness. The Impact Pump will be launched under the brand “Impact Pumps”.
12 months of Impact Pump field trials completed with no failures
Thermofluidics has successfully completed 12 months of field trials of the Impact Pump (gamma prototype) at 2 sites in Kenya and 2 sites in Bangladesh, powered by Futurepump SF2 drive pumps. No Impact Pump failures occurred during any of the trials.
Pre-Series 0, production-oriented uDAHR prototype, UK commissioning complete
UK-based commissioning tests of our new generation of “Pre-Series 0” uDAHR prototypes have been completed in our test well in Beckley, Oxfordshire. The prototype was operated at a typical full solar-pump load for approximately 2000 hours, representing between 1 and 2 years’ typical operation in the field. Although entirely made from machined parts at significant unit cost, the PS0 is one step removed from low-cost mass production processes such as casting, injection moulding, pressing, stamping and extrusion.
Pre-Series 0, production-oriented uDAHR prototype, designs complete and 10 units in production with a further 10 planned
We have completed a set of CAD models and drawings for our “Pre-Series 0” prototype. This improves on the gamma uDAHR, currently in operation in Kenya and Bangladesh, in a number of ways. The PS0 offers larger diameter pipework connections with implied greater hydraulic efficiencies (>80%, c.f. 70-75% previously) without increasing the pump diameter. It self-starts with all drive pumps (c.f. only drive pumps with a significant “unsteady” component to their flow), and auto-recovers from dry-running without the need for re-priming. Accelerated testing also indicates a much longer service interval than the gamma-uDAHR is possible. However, this is hard to prove as no gamma uDAHRs have yet required service!
Endurance testing of key components underway
An accelerated endurance test of key components is underway at the Thermofluidics lab. The aim is to achieve 10,000hrs fault-free running to underpin the robustness of the uDAHR and prove the low-maintenance, long lifespan characteristics that outperform traditional electrical submersible pumps. The test is currently approaching 5,000hrs without failure.
Improved crop yields at field sites
Farmers have reported that cultivated area and yield have both improved since the start of the trials. Examples of crops being grown include tomatoes, potatoes, millet, paw paw, napier grass, vegetables, bananas, passion fruits and lemons.
Remote monitoring at field sites
Remote monitoring and regular communication with the farmer field sites have shown that the pumps are operating well and with minimum intervention at both sites in Bangladesh and Kenya. The next step for the team will be to advance the technology readiness levels and address a wider range of flows and heads.