In India, almost 10 million diesel-powered irrigation pumps have allowed small farmers to water their crops year round, to feed their families and wring a modest living from their small plots of land. But diesel, as most fossil fuels today, has become a liability. Its price rises every year, making it ever harder to pay for irrigation. In a financial squeeze, farmers are forced to abandon their land and move to city slums to look for other work. Meanwhile, diesel engine emissions accelerate global warming, and extreme climate events like super floods and mega droughts further threaten farmers’ fragile livelihoods.
Pumps powered by clean renewable energy, such as solar pumps, could solve both the economic and environmental dilemma: they don’t emit greenhouse gases, and their fuel is free.
But renewable-powered pumps have remained a marginal technology. There is currently no such pump available on the market that is tailored specifically to the needs of the Indian small farmer, with an unsubsidized price low enough to compete with the diesel pumps and be adopted widely. Besides being powered by clean energy, such a pump should meet the following requirements to be successful:
Designing such a pump is difficult. But it is not impossible.
We are calling designers, tinkerers, inventors, students of all fields -- anyone who is interested and feels they can contribute something useful -- from all over the world, to join forces in this challenge.
- Aditi MukherjiTheme Leader, Water and Air, International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD)
- Sven TeskeDirector Greenpeace Renewable Energy Campaign
- Wolfram PutzCo-founder GRAFT, Make it Right Foundation & Solarkiosk
- Krishnappa SubramanyaChairman, Solar Energy Task Force, Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce & Industry
- Tobias EngelmeierManaging Director 'Developing business models'
- Samit AichExecutive Director, Greenpeace India
- Stewart CraineManaging Director, Village Infrastructure Angels
- Ann RoganGlobal Development, Singularity University
- Robert YoderDirector of Water Technology Development, iDE (retired)
- Ryan WeberIrrigation Engineer, iDE
- Toby HammondFounder of Futurepump
- Chris NeidlArc Finance, India Program Manager
- Windy Dankoffphotovoltaic applications consultant
- Ajay LaluManaging Director, black lite Group