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The simplicity of an idea often speaks volumes about its capacity to get things done. A shining example of this is the wheel - so simple, so ingenious, so groundbreaking. The Open Pump project also uses simple means and a wheel to get things done - and for a good cause. The idea behind the project is to create an easy-to-understand guide on how to build a wind turbine to pump water, primarily in developing countries that often experience water shortages. Currently, over two billion people live in regions with high water stress, and this number is growing day by day. The Open Pump project consists of students from Bremen University of Applied Sciences, led by Professor Horst Crome, the Green Desert association in Seelze, Germany, and the Lebenshilfe workshop for disabled people also based in Seelze. First, the project used easy-to-source components and computer-aided design methods to build a striking wind turbine in a classic western style. Following a successful trial run over more than a year in Germany's Lower Saxony region, the next step is to compile a detailed, easy-to-follow guide on how to build the turbine, in both a print and online version.

This guide aims to make it possible to reproduce the turbine all over the world using basic construction knowledge and simple tools and machines. Care has also been paid to ensure the construction materials are widely available. When working with a wind speed of five meters a second, the system pumps around 3,600 liters of water an hour from a depth of ten meters. The turbine itself is twelve meters high and easy to maintain. This will ensure it remains fully functional for decades, according to its developers. "We feel it's important for us to make our knowledge available in such a way that it can be widely understood and so that people throughout the world can use this technology. Professionals documented the construction of the wind turbine step by step with cameras, as well as the necessary tools and steps. Although there are many thousands of such wind turbines for pumping water, there haven't been any freely available guides on how to build them before," explains Professor Crome, who first had the idea for the project several years ago.

Bremen University of Applied Sciences (28199 Bremen, Germany)
Website: www.hs-bremen.de