The design and construction process for this project will occur in two phases: The first is the wind turbine itself and the second is the water pump. In an effort to stay true to the low-or-no-cost goal of this device, our team arrived at the conclusion that a rope pump would be the cheapest solution that, at the same time, maximizes pump efficiency. This design has existed for more than 1000 years, dating back to the original Chinese version, known as a chain pump.
Here’s how it works: a rope with pistons mounted at specific intervals is wound around two wheels. The pistons are made from rubber, foam, or plastic pieces that fit snugly in the pump pipe. As the pulley wheel spins (which will be driven by the turbine), the rope is pulled through the pump pipe, effectively lifting the water. At the top, the lifted water exits the horizontal outlet pipe into a basin. A valve at the bottom of the basin can then be opened and feed over a secondary turbine/wheel that generates electricity. The water then returns to the bottom basin where it can once again be pulled up by the rope pump. Above, I’ve attached an image of the rope pump concept and I hope to update this post with our newly designed model soon.