Thermofluidics Ltd. has developed an innovative, inexpensive pump technology that uses heat to pump liquids, gases or semi-solids. This technology has no moving parts and is so simple that it can be utilized in the developing as well as the developed world.
The pumps work by taking advantage of either solar heat or waste heat. The company CEO estimates that by using these renewable sources, this product will deliver pumping services in a way that is 3 to 4 times cheaper than PhotoVoltaics, and for applications using industrial or domestic waste heat, pumping will be 7 to 10 times cheaper.
Thermofluidcs Ltd. plans for this technology to be used for drinking water purification, sanitation, solar thermal heating and irrigation. The pumps will therefore benefit smallholder crop productivity (the company estimates that the technology and could benefit up to 550 million malnourished smallholders in the developing world), displace internal combustion engines, and improve sanitation and therefore human health.
The company is currently working with various NGOs and global market leaders to deploy their technology in regions that could greatly benefit from it. For example, in South East Asia, treadle pumping is often done by women and girls. The Thermofluidics pump would save them that effort, giving them more time for education and other development opportunities.
Thermofluidics’ core innovation is its method of transforming low temperature heat into pumping capacity. Not only is the organization’s pumping technology more efficient and less expensive than many competing technologies commonly used in developing parts of the world, but also uses less energy and generates less waste. Thus, the product will better meet people’s needs in two ways: addressing multiple issues related to health and sanitation through pumping, and reducing waste and pollution. Thermofluidics could greatly improve the quality of life in many impoverished countries by providing state-of-the-art technology to the parts of the world that need it most.