AIDFI Ram Pump
Alternative Indigenous Development Foundation Inc. (AIDFI)
The AIDFI ram pump delivers water to higher elevation using flowing water without electricity.
Alternative Indigenous Development Foundation Inc (AIDFI) ram pumps are designed to provide access to clean water for remote rural communities. These pumps utilize gravity to collect water from stream sources into the pump’s reservoir and establish a pressure differential that drives the system. This system requires no electricity or fuel, and with the continued maintenance could provide water for over 20 years.
252 – 1,120 USD (13500-60000 Php)Converted on May 2020
Goal 6: Clean water and sanitation
Hillside communities living in treacherous terrains and fetching water up steep slopes for household and agriculture/livestock.
AIDFI manufactures the ram pumps in its own workshop to ensure the quality remains high, and does not use subcontractors. All materials are sourced locally, with exception of steel, which is imported from Japan. Interview with representative
Patented Interview with representative
Development agencies, NGOs, or governmental agencies purchase the Ram Pump and its installation from AID Foundation Inc., for their specific projects in communities. The pump is then maintained by community-level technicians, who are local individuals trained on the Hydraulic Ram Pump system and paid by their community members. Interview with representative
By March 2019, more than 1000 ram pumps had been installed bringing easy access to water to ~270,000 people.
Description of the pump type
Power required, measured in watts
Manufacturer-specified discharge rate, measured at a specific head
Maximum depth of water the pump can pull
Piston nominal diameter, measured in centimeters
Ram pumps use the power available in flowing water at an elevation of a few meters to lift a small percentage of that water through a much greater height, to where it is needed. These pumps utilize gravity to collect water from stream sources into the pump’s reservoir, creating a high pressure within the reservoir. The pressure opens a valve, creating pressure now against the air in the delivery pipe, which forces water out through the delivery piped system. AIDFI makes 10 different sizes of pumps with intake rates ranging from 10 to 2500 litres per minute. An average installation serves 50 households or 300 people.
The most novel feature of the AIDFI ram pump is the use of a door hinge for the waste valve, which creates a steel-to-steel seal. This avoids the use of a gasket, which would quickly wear out in this high-impact valve. A further feature is a submersible box around the outflow of the waste valve, which prevents air entering the pump at the end of each cycle. This is important as if air enters the ram body it reduces the efficiency of the pump. The design developed by AIDFI uses mild steel for the body of the ram pump itself, including the final section of the drive pipe and air reservoir. Some critical parts are made from stainless steel to ensure they last throughout the expected lifetime of over 20 years.
For small schemes, an individual pump is used, but for larger schemes, multiple pumps can be connected in parallel or in series (depending on the head and flow rate). The pumps can operate continuously and deliver water to a reservoir.
AIDFI have developed a video illustrating how the ram pump works.
According to AIDFI, poor maintenance will result in failure of the ram pump. Technical support is provided by local individuals, who have been trained in maintenance and routine replacements necessary for the pump. Payment for service is provided via a community-managed fund. The community using the ram pump may collect a small fee monthly from each household to pay the technicians for maintenance of the system.Interview with representative
Valves require regular replacement, every 3-6 months. Interview with representative
Expected lifetime of over 20 years. Interview with representative
AIDFI manufactures 5 different sizes of pumps with intake rates ranging from 10 to 2500 litres per minute, accommodating delivery heights of up to 200 metres. Pumps do not require any electricity or fuel to run.
Testing performed by the manufacturer determined that the product can pump up to elevations of 240 m.
No third-party organizations, only testing performed by the maunfacturer.
Users must take appropriate precautions when maintaining the hydraulic ram pump.
Water purification systems to improve drinking water quality.
Agbanlog, R.C., Chen, G., 2014, Mini Hydro-Electric Power Plant with Re-Circulated Water Power Source, Proceedings of the 2014 Industrial and Systems Engineering Research Conference
Tantingco, H., 2014, Alternative Approaches to Development: Social Entrepreneurship in the Philippines, thesis, Victoria University of Wellington.
Sapkota, B., Pandey, G., Kharel, U., Chaualgain, R.K., 2017, Design, Fabrication and Testing of Hydraulic Ram Pump with Water Reticulation System, Proceedings of IOE Graduate Conference, Vol.5
The product was evaluated for its performance in various operating conditions and the impact of adding a re-circulation system by the Institute of Engineering.
In 2011, AIDFI launched the Agos project, which features the ram pump as its core component.
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