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EWB-Lebanon Develops the Turbocycler: Human-Powered Water Pump

posted Oct 2, 2010, 1:53 PM by Nader H   [ updated Mar 9, 2013, 11:25 AM ]

Engineers Without Borders Lebanon developed a unique multi-purpose bicycle kit that is used for cycling, water pumping, and electricity generation.

The “turbocycler I” was developed as a demonstration kit to illustrate electricity-independent power generation in its mechanical and electrical forms.

This model is designed to assist farmers and other users in rural and nonelectrified areas in their agricultural and non-agricultural uses. In addition to being a mean of transportation, the human-powered water pump is used for water pumping purposes.

It is able to pump water to an elevation of 2.5 meters (8 feet) at 12 liters per minute (3 gallons per minute) by pedaling at normal running speed. Water is pumped through a 3/8 inch pipe to the desired elevation and then flows through a water wheel chained to an electricity generator that lights an LED lamp with no use of grid electricity.

 “This prototype is more than just lighting a lamp, it is a concept that we wish to efficiently apply and deliver to the disadvantaged communities all over the country” says the founder of EWB-Lebanon. He continues “the primary purpose is to demonstrate the possibility of implementing off-grid pumping systems through affordable and healthy transportation means.”

In deed the turbocycler I illustrates the efficient use of a normal mountain bike bicycle for transportation as well as water pumping purposes; all sustainable, carbon free, and environmentally friendly.

The model is built using an old mountain bike plugged into a frame with a 0.5 hp centrifugal pump attached to the flywheel of the back tire through a metallic chain. 

A member of the project team says “it feels wonderful to setup this tool and see it pumping water. It feels even more wonderful when you see kids and adults learning about this concept and looking forward to applying it in their lands”

The prototype is placed at the Science Village Expo in Dbayeh Lebanon. A scientific exposition and scientific resort open all year round for students and families to learn about science, technology, and engineering. The village receives around 3000 visit per month mainly between the ages of 6 and 16.

EWB members admit that their project is more than just an engineering project, it is an ideological activity. EWB-Lebanon founder says: “It is becoming an easy task to provide technical and technological support to disadvantaged communities, but the real challenge is to offer affordable and easy-to-use methods.”  He adds “It feels great to be grid-independent and still able to perform needed jobs”

For more info about the construction process of the model, you can contact Eng. Nader Hajj Shehadeh.
View an illustrative poster describing the operation of Turbocycler I    

The Turbocycler Demo