Hydropumps – The Next Big Thing?

by on September 13, 2010

in 2020 Vision

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.

Hydropump Setup

Hydropump Setup

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.

Hydropump Basic Device

Hydropump Basic Device

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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  • Penny Parker

    AWESOME! one more step towards saving our beautiful environment. Lets hold thumbs that this hydropump is a huge alternative energy source. Londolozi will be the true innovator :) :)

    • http://blog.londolozi.com Rich

      Thanks Penny, it is great to be able to at the forefront of sustainable development in the eco-tourism industry, however it is also an enormous challenge at the same time. We are constantly making mistakes and working through challenges as we try to develop new solutions to old problems. If you come across any interesting articles on hydropumps, please feel free to post them in the comments section.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=514048216 Nix Illes

    Heard about play-made-energy at the weekend for the first time. What a fantastic idea! http://www.playmadeenergy.com

    • http://blog.londolozi.com Rich

      This is such a fantastic idea Nix! I remember seeing a similar concept in a South African advert whereby they had taken a spinning carousel for kids and converted the energy used by children to power it into electricity. My mind is already spinning at what you could use in the bush as well as the surrounding communities to your advantage. I know that this type of idea would be brilliant for the rural schools who work with the Good Work Foundation. Thanks again and if you come across any other links, just post them on the wall.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=514048216 Nix Illes

    Hey Rich, Just found another source of info that might be of interest to the team http://www.onedifference.org/projects/water One Water have been using their profits to finance pumps for wells that are powered by play- again another fab idea that seems to work.

    • http://blog.londolozi.com Rich

      That is an amazing idea, thanks for the Link Nix, much appreciated.