Ram pumps are fossil fuel-free water pumps that provide an environmentally friendly alternative of pumping water uphill. They are simple and cheap to build and anyone can do it!
Ram pumps have an efficiency rate of about 70%. They work with a simple set-up of two PVC valves. 30% of the water gets pushed out at one valve, forcing the other 70% of the water back down. Due to the new incoming water this increases the water pressure inside the tube, pushing the water up and out the delivery pipe. Ram pumps have surpirising power. Just from the kinetic energy of moving water with some mechanical parts, these pumps can push water up a vertical distance of 10 meters!
The diagram below is a simple representation of how they work (courtesy of Wikipedia):
Basic components of a hydraulic ram:
1. Inlet — drive pipe
2. Free flow at waste valve
3. Outlet — delivery pipe
4. Waste valve
5. Delivery check valve
6. Pressure vessel
Here’s a shot of the ram pump from downstream.
And finally water from the stream way up to the trees in our food forest 🙂