Hydropumps – The Next Big Thing?
Nearly all of the articles I read about sustainability are toting ‘The Next Big Thing’. They talk about developments in this technology, challenges in that research and results in others. The sustainability revolution has gained massive traction over the last 4 years, however it has also demonstrated to me how much innovation we still need to create.
As an Eco-Tourism destination it is necessary for Londolozi to be at the forefront of sustainable tourism in Southern Africa and sustainable energy usage on site, in the natural environment. Currently our most significant projects are the Vegetable Gardens and the Zero Emissions Land Rover. The veggie gardens have been planted in the Londolozi village and communities surrounding the Sabi Sands Game Reserve. The Zero Emissions Land Rover is a long running project aimed at developing the first electric Land Rover to allow guests an emissions free and silent safari experience whilst at Londolozi.
Not too long ago, we gained yet another sustainability project. Waiting until the end of winter, when the water level on the causeway was at its lowest, Robert Sithole and the habitat crew installed a hydropump powered by the natural flow of the Sand River.
Owing to a new dam which was built in Marthly to provide alternative locations for hippo populations to flourish, the hydropump had its first test: Pumping water 2.5 kilometers uphill to fill up the new dam. After a few test runs and small tweaks, the blades spun in the current, water was sucked into the pipes and a short while after began to gush out the other end into Mahlahla dam.
As the pump is powered by 100% natural hydroenergy it also provides another alternative solution to electricity out here in the wilderness. The next step for Robert and the habitat team is to see how the the hydroblades work as an alternative energy source for houses and eventually the entire lodge. Some of the larger questions are significant and require long-term thinking to solve…How much energy does this hydroblade solution produces? Will it be enough power to run a house, a camp, a village or just the lodges? Will we need to combine this energy source with solar power to get enough energy? What is the potential for charging the Zero Emissions vehicle from this natural energy source?
I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on what challenges towards sustainability you are noticing in your own country. There has been a big focus on tidal turbine energy in the UK recently, whilst Solar Energy continues to gain momentum in the USA and the development of electric cars continues its trend in China. What have you noticed in your home and country?
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