A research team in Western Africa has reportedly developed a special PV-powered water pumping system that can significantly cut the water pumping costs in desert regions. According to the research team, the pump can be used to prevent the desertification of oases in many desert regions.
The testing of the water pump system, which was performed under simulated settings, was carried out in the Tawaz oasis, which is known for its production of date palm trees. The system’s developers had specifically chosen to power the water pumps with the use a 142 KW thin-film PV power system in the simulated experiment. The water pumping system also uses a reinforced plastic water tank which is capable of holding up to four cubic meters of water.
With the help of the PV power system, the team found that the total costs of pumping water would only reach $0.2071/m3, which is approximately 300% less than the traditional pumping costs. It also discovered that the system’s water tank would be capable of irrigating up to one hectare of a farmland with 100 date palm trees. Its water content would not decrease even after three days of exposure to the sun. With its daily radiation volume averaging 5.67 kWh, the oasis is believed to be an ideal site for PV-power generation.
According to the research team’s findings, the PV-powered pump system can also boost the overall output of date palm trees and prevent the desertification of desert regions at a significantly lower cost than the traditional pumping systems. Its overall costs are expected to be a lot lower than those of the traditional diesel fuel-powered water pumps, which typically requires a lot more maintenance and fuel consumption.
Like the research team, a growing number of developers from around the world, such as the US startup SunCulture, have also begun to develop their own PV-powered irrigation systems. SunCultures’ PV power system in Kenya, for example, has been tested with remarkable results, and is said to be capable of increasing the country’s crop yield by 300%.
（Image credit：Flickr/Maria Pilar Etxebarria Public Domain Mark 1.0）