One of the major projects and work of the Appropriate Technology department this summer has been a much needed renovation of the famous Sunseed ram pump!
The ram pump is one of the best example of appropriate technology in Sunseed. It provides water to the village of Los Molinos from the ancient irrigation canals, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year without any electricity or wires. The only energy it requires is the water pressure created by gravity.
The ram pump has been in the village since the mid 1980’s, but it has not had a proper overhaul for years. This summer there were some problems with breakdowns and irregular performance.
Our AT team rose to the challenge!
Engineering interns Becky and Sarah at the pump
The pump needing some TLC
One of the leaks in the very over-grown drive pipe
A rusted up air vessel with the bad kind of holes…
A cracked pulse valve plate. Turns out we don’t need one if the pulse valve rubber is thick enough…
Above in picture is the old no-return valve on the feed tube provifing the village with water. The valve itself is the gray bit in the middle. and on each side of it is a small adaptor piece that connects it to the tube connectors. Turns out the inner diameter of the adaptor piece was only 10mm in diameter, and thus were a big restriction on the flow, as the inner diameter of the pipe is 16mm. Below in the picture is the beefed-up replacement. The water flow to the villagers almost dubbeled!
Emil, our AT Coordinator, coning the end of the feed pipe to reduce water turbulence in the connection.
We made some changes as we fabricated a new air vessel, in particular we upgraded the feed pipe connection. Here you see the new sturdy 25mm brass fitting, replacing a flimsy 20mm plastic thing.The AT team are now preparing to put in a new upgraded drive pipe.
We recognized that stone-lining the trench for the drive pipe will stop most vegetation as well as erosion and to keep the trench clear for easier maintenance. It’s a big job, but we decided it was worth it, if only for the presentable estetics it adds.
Many volunteers had a chance to help in this project, and learn some useful stone walling techinques. Here are our volunteers Gillian (above), Natalie and Leonardo (below) working on the stone lining and supporting walls.
A big thank you to everyone involved in the ram pump renovation of 2014!
Sunseed was recently at the reggae festival Rototom in Benicassim to communicate the project and spread the word.
We were there for a week publicising Sunseed and interacting with people interested in coming to Los Molinos.
We used the Sunseed Yurt for the first time this year and brought with us again our Sunseed models and games.
A big thank you to everyone who helped !Here are some images of our stall.
Sunseed has a low impact fridge!
This summer two French interns, Benjamin and Sylvain, joined us in the AT department. Their project was to design and experiment with a low impact fridge for Sunseed.
The fridge design that they worked with was called “refrigerateur gigogne” and it aims to conserve food longer and fresher without using electricity. Felix Trombe was the first to experiment with this model in 1962 in France. He demonstrated that it is possible to produce a cold space for food and drink that is simple and electricity free.
As it doesn´t use electricity, this fridge is perfectly suitable for an off grid area such as Sunseed. Only a few examples of constructions are available on the Internet and they do not include the storage of food, only the cooling process. Therefore the building of this fridge at Sunseed is very experimental.
The temperature is cold enough to keep the food fresh inside the fridge and it is important that the temperature doesn´t rise during the day. Therefore, the way of using the fridge is essentialy this:
– Put the fridge outside during the night in a place without trees, buildings or anything that can shade or reflect the heat radiation from the fridge.
-Early in the morning (preferably before the rising of the sun)put the lid on the top and move it into a fresh place to keep the cold produced during the night.
Well done to Benjamin and Sylvain with their internship, and the maintenance team of Diego and Mirko.