Role of Energy efficient pumps in 21st Century


Water pumps are responsible for heating and cooling in buildings, treating and distributing water, and generating power, that are often overlooked in conversations around smart or sustainable cities.

The network of water supply pipelines is one of the critical infrastructure needs for any city. Taking water to every corner of the city is one of the important roles for any municipal authority. Unfortunately the cities are losing up to 60% of pumped water due to poorly managed water networks. A total of 80% of all wastewater returns to nature without being properly treated. This has further led to modern challenges in the form of huge capital requirements, providing adequate inter-state transmission system (ISTS), distribution infrastructure and developing suitable land resources. But if we begin to use the same water multiple times, with appropriate treatment processes and the implementation of intelligent water solutions, we can transform and evolve at a faster pace where resources can be managed efficiently.

Water and Energy are Corelated Recourses

Water and energy are fundamental components for all human needs and they are co-related. Just how producing energy consumes water, treating and distributing water also requires energy. Water is used in all phases of energy production and electricity generation for various purposes at different stages. Energy is required to extract, convey, and deliver water for diverse human uses, and then again to treat wastewater prior to their return to the environment. Several current trends are further increasing the urgency to address the water-energy nexus in an integrated and proactive way. First, climate change has already begun to affect precipitation and temperature patterns across the world. Second, world’s population is rapidly increasing and so is the urbanization which creates differentiated and heavy loads at different usage points. Third, introduction of new technologies in the energy and the water domains could shift water and energy demands. Finally, developments in policies addressing water rights and water impacts of energy production are introducing additional incentives and challenges for decision making.

Integral part of Pumps in Water-Energy nexus

Water pumps are responsible for heating and cooling in buildings,treating and distributing water, and generating power, that are often overlooked in conversations around smart or sustainable cities. Intelligent water solutions can help reduce losses. Governments, development agencies and the private sectors are exploring and implementing solutions to improve access to, and sustainability of water.While other renewable energy options are being adopted, the private sector is showing a keen interest in developing efficient solar pumping solutions.

About 10% of the world’s electricity is consumed by pumps for various applications. It is vital to save energy with intelligent and smart water solutions and bring down the consumption of electricity to 5%. The agricultural sector alone consumes approximately 80 percent of total supply.The decentralized solar water networks could be the answer to both water and energy issues in rural communities.

Pumps running on Renewable-energy

As the world envisions to move towards a greener economy, it is critical that we all start working towards sustainable plan that would jumpstart the future. To address the growing energy needs and to reduce carbon emission, the Indian government has reimagined the national energy supply and demand management with higher focus on solar. This was evident in the recent Union budget; several incentives and schemes were introduced for farmers. The government has set a goal to reduce its current dependency on fossil fuel by 40%, which highlights the commitments made in solar energy as a source for the long-term.

With a rejuvenated outlook on renewable energy from the government and private stakeholders in terms of investment and initiatives, the solar pump industry is projected to grow at a CAGR of over 27% during the period 2018-2024. Technological innovation and product democratization will determine the future of this industry. The Solar pump schemes via the flagship Government program PM KUSUM in the Agri sector and the Jal Jeevan mission for the piped water supply in rural communities, is bound to drive the demand for solar pumps over the next four years.

Considering India’s tropical nature, solar pumps can be employed to provide reliable water supply for irrigation, drinking water and ancillary activities in such remote locations. Dependence on grid based electricity consumption can be brought down with the intervention of solar pumps, inadvertently leading to a sustainable option for the farmers and rural communities across the country. This shift ensures in an increase in sustainability while improving cost and operational efficiency. Technology driven solar solutions ensure that farmers can operate these pumps without frequent downtime or maintenance requirements. With the right backup systems the farmer can use the energy for other purposes like lighting, cold storage etc., when the field doesn’t require water and hence the pumps need not run.

Digital transformation to drive smart pump industry

Innovative technologies have been making positive strides in the water industry – augmenting the existing water infrastructure as well as contributing in improving the water accessibility and recycling while simultaneously reducing consumption and wastage.

Increasing urbanization is contributing to significant amounts in terms of energy consumed — the global cooling demand alone has doubled in less than 20 years. This growth in energy consumption is a major driver of climate change. There are plenty of intelligent solutions available; with more energy efficient pump solutions, we can reduce CO2 emissions while optimizing energy consumption of the pumps used in the process of cooling in the buildings.

By deploying smart pumps, it becomes easier to understand the specific water requirement and thus save this critical resource water. In the agricultural sector, an IoT enabled pump can give farmers full control to operate the entire system from his mobile phone – set the quantity of water to be pumped and time of watering his field and also get a real-time report of the critical health parameters of the pump system.

For example, Grundfos’s digital range, iSOLUTIONS with intelligent and smart technology has acted as a change agent. The solution enables real-time monitoring, remote control, system optimization, fault prediction and preventive maintenance to achieve highest level of performance and savings both in cost and energy. These smart pumps automate, understand the specific water requirement, optimize the entire system and thus save this critical resource.The concept of cost of ownership is well exhibited and used by the iSOLUTIONS range of intelligent pumps. You save more money as you run the pump.

Creating a circular economy

In order to utilize water efficiently, there need to be shift from a linear ‘use and dispose’ approach to a circular ‘use, treat and reuse’ approach. Water can be reused several times before it reaches its destination. For example, water used in showers and kitchens can be reused to water plants or wash cars thereby reducing freshwater usage.

Adoption of intelligent water solutions is leading us to use water efficiently, with a greater focus to avoid overusing water and energy.

Article By—
Saravanan Panneer Selvam, General Manager, INDO Region, Grundfos