Science for the benefit of people. All people. Worldwide.
In mountainous countries all around the world, people usually farm next to local rivers and canals because it’s too expensive to pump water to land at higher altitudes. But on a quest to develop technologies that help people benefit economically, Delft start-up aQysta has designed a water-pump that needs no fuel, enabling small-scale farmers to grow crops 20-30 metres above river level.
“There is a big market for pumping water to higher altitudes without using energy”, says Pratap Thapa, co-founder of aQysta. From Nepal, where his family has a small farm, Pratap studied engineering in India, and then entrepreneurship in Delft. But in the back of his mind he kept wondering “whether we could use the energy of the river to power the pump”.
With this goal Lennart, Pratap and Fred developed a prototype for the ‘Barsha pump’ whilst still students at Delft University of Technology. The principle is simple: as the Barsha pump floats in the river, the current rotates the coiled hose within the wheel of the pump, causing water and air to build up inside. Eventually this pressure pushes the water up to a height of 20 metres and over a distance of several hundred metres – and only powered by the flow of the river. “Our next goal is to make the Barsha pump light enough to be carried by two people, but big enough to pump water up to 30 metres above river level.”
Now based at start-up incubator Yes!Delft, aQysta is currently running field trials in Turkey, Spain, Ecuador, Indonesia and Nepal, where small-scale commercial farmers are motivated to invest in such innovative technology.
Co-founders: Pratab Thapa and Fred Henny
Irrigation, pollution, prosperity, empowerment, self-reliance, nutrition
Fluid mechanics, mechanical engineering, finite element method, material science
Practical Action (Nepal), Securing Water for Food Programme (USAID, U.S.A.), Partners for Water (RVO, Netherlands), Hivos (Netherlands) and field tests in Ecuador, Indonsia and Nepal