Thermal Simplex Fluidic Pump

Thermal Simplex Fluidic Pump

  • A TSFP is a thermally-driven fluidic pump having no moving mechanical parts other than two opposing check valves.
  • TSFP’s can be driven by many types of low-grade thermal energy, such as: solar thermal, geothermal, waste heat, stack flue gas, engine echaust, biogas, biomass, or natural gas and other fossil fuels.
  • TSFP’s could be used in many applications, including municipal water treatment and distribution systems, municipal waste water collection and treatment systems, long distance fuel-oil and water transport, irrigation, and well pumping and water transport in developing countries and rural settings.

Background
Innovation
Benefits
Project Development
In Summary

Background
TSFP technology was designed for transporting water in developing countries, to alleviate the daily burden of those women and children who are burdened with carrying water from source to village. The UN estimates that 1 billion people lack adequate access to potable water world wide. The health and welfare impact of this situation is huge: sickness and death due to drinking dirty water, sickness and death due to inadequate hygiene caused by water shortage, malnutrition due to poor crops caused by water shortage, poverty due to sickness and poor crops, poverty due to lack of schooling for girls due to the time commitment of water carrying, etc. There is a campaign underway to extend access to clean water, and there are many possible means to do so. There are various causes for lack of access to water, some of them due to water scarcity, and in other cases because of political or economic reasons. TSFP can help by pumping water over long distances, using only solar energy, waste heat, geothermal energy, or by burning virtually any fuel. In keeping with the intended purpose, TSFP have been designed to be simple, reliable, virtually maintenance free, and require no operator input.

TSFP technology also has many important potential applications in industrialized nations. Its design scales up effectively for large flow volumes. Pumping is a very energy-intensive activity, and a very common one in modern society. Municipalities generally spend a huge portion of their energy expenditures in pumping, to collect water from sources, move it through treatment stages and transport and pressurize it in the distribution system. Much energy is expended pumping water up water towers. This water cannot be allowed to stagnate, and so often it is drained and refilled, adding to the energy expenditure. Even if municipalities only used TSFP to refill water towers when solar energy was available, they would show a significant annual energy savings. TSFP technology may also be applicable to municipal waste water collection and treatment systems, long distance fuel-oil and water transport, and irrigation.

Innovation
As of now, technical details of TSFP technology cannot be described without a non-disclosure agreement. If you would like more technical details regarding TSFP and would be willing to sign an NDA, please contact us. We look forward to posting technical details of TSFP innovations when we have filed a patent application.

Benefits
The TSFP has no moving parts, e.g. no motors, engines, pistons, bearings, or impellors. It can be powered by low grade thermal energy such as solar radiation (even under cloud cover). It requires no electricity or fuel of any kind. It never needs lubrication, adjustment, or operational maintenance of any kind. It is capable of pumping water up mountain sides and over distances of tens of kilometers (or more). It can pump water out of shallow wells up to ten meters deep or from ponds, lakes, and streams. Importantly, gravity water feed is not required and the pump will self prime (repeatedly). The system is immune to turbid water (mud, sand, etc.), and virtually immune to small debris such as twigs, leaves, stones, fish, etc. Filtration is not required, so there is no filter to clog, clean, or replace. The TSFP can be easily manufactured; it requires no high technology or advanced materials for construction. It will have a very high power density, power versus size, so the capital cost will be low for any flow rate requirement. The system has a zero operational cost, and a zero carbon footprint. If left unmolested, we expect a service life of five to ten years before needing replacement of two elastomer check valves (called duck-billed valves). These replacement parts can be stored within the system when originally delivered, safe from tamper before needed, and replaceable without tools. We expect a service life of ten to twenty years with only one valve insert replacement, and indefinite service life with multiple replacements.

A solar powered device that transports safe water to villages for drinking and basic sanitation would represent a global socioeconomic transformation for literally millions of women and female children.

Project Development
MRT has obtained a grant from the Alberta Innovates Industry Partnership Program to pay for the salary of a staff researcher dedicated to the TSFP project. Musibau Usman has worked with Wayne May on the TSFP project. He has derived and confirmed an algorithm for testing and ranking candidate working fluids for TSFP’s, and has examined over 5,000 candidate fluids with the algorithm. A handful of candidate fluids have been chosen to maximize TSFP performance under different operating conditions. Plans for a proof-of-concept prototype are being developed, and a working prototype will be constructed and tested.

MRT has conducted a patent search and found no other technologies similar to TSFP. MRT is in the process of preparing a patent application for filing with the US and PCT patent offices.

In Summary
TSFP could have a large global effect, effecting financial savings in industrialized countries, and spreading access to clean water in developing ones. TSFP is part of MRT’s Water for Women and Children program.