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I just stumbled across the concept of the [pulser pump] - a pump that uses water flow with a small head to pump part of the water to a higher head. Simiar to a ram pump, but without any moving parts.

This could be interesting as an alternative to small scale hydro, as an irrigation system and - since the pump also aerates the water - even for water treatment. At least, those are the claims that the inventor makes and I find them plausible.

On google scholar I found no articles about the pulser pump, but I may have missed something. I'd be interested in Articles that answer one or more of these questions:

  • How can such a pump be modelled mathematically, how efficient is it?
  • How effective is it at aerating water?
  • Does the pump still work with slurries?
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    That looks a bit... 1980's internet. The last build page has a "bead valve" in it (nxtwave.tripod.com/gaiatech/pulser/builder.htm) which is a moving part :) Sorry, I look for tells like that when inventions that haven't caught on are promoted. It does seem simple enough to build, so if you've got the water flow I'd be tempted to build a little one and compare it to the claimed performance of a commercial ram pump (since those have precise performance numbers available there's no need to buy one to check them, IMO anyway). – Móż Oct 2 '13 at 10:32
  • FWIW, I'm a member of www.ata.org.au and have seen quite a lot of "amazing inventions" that mysteriously haven't caught on... and turn out to underperform or otherwise suck. So I'm a bit skeptical. – Móż Oct 2 '13 at 10:34
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    Efficiency will be low when implemented as usually described. Air entrainment energy can be as high as the head energy of the water flowing down from the source reservoir. If air was carried down in eg sealed bottles this could approach 100%. When carried as bubbles in air you can expect a smaller % of total available energy is used toi carry air and probably much lower. The bubble pump driven by the air could carry water in bottles carried up by air in bottles :-) with losses caused by tube friction . You will be able to look up bubble pumps - efficiencies of about 50% theoretical and "low" – Russell McMahon Oct 29 '13 at 0:05
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    ... in usual practice. Excellent Bubble Pump analysis thesis here. Note that effiency as energy% is lacking in this and other thesis cited by THelper. Useful bubble pump paper, BP in an absorption fridge, BP analysis – Russell McMahon Oct 29 '13 at 0:29
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I found this page that contains a link to a MSc dissertation on the Pulser pump. The dissertation describes 2 experiments with Pulser pumps and shows that the efficiency is around 1% at best (page 56) and that the author found

...inflow, pumping height and the number of riser pipes to be critical variables. It was also discovered that there is potential for the Pulser Pump but that it suffered in practicality.

The dissertation does mention aerating and slurries but it doesn't say anything more than the following:

...it has been used to:

  • Aerate water (Removes Sulphur, Nitrogen and Phosphorous compounds) which provides a better environment for marine life.
  • Decompose animal slurry faster, also removing the threat of hydrogen sulphide gas build-up by pumping air into the waste.

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