How it works
The Sunflower has three main parts: the collector - a reflective dish to capture and focus sunlight to produce steam; the engine, a carefully designed engine to convert pressurised steam into mechanical movement; and the pump a reciprocal piston pump to draw water out of a well. The design is built around principles of appropriate technology - in other words it is low cost, simple to operate and easy to maintain and repair locally.
Nick, our Field Director, introduces the Sunflower Mark 2 in action in a test compound in Bolgatanga, Ghana in June 2013.
The solar collector concentrates sunlight onto the water-filled boiler, producing steam which is piped to the engine. A cam attached to the flywheel shaft opens an inlet valve. Steam enters the cylinder and the pressure pushes the diaphragm piston forward activating the water pump and rotating the flywheel. The inlet valve closes, the exhaust valve opens and as the pressure drops and the flywheel inertia pushes the piston to the top of the cylinder and the cycle repeats. More details on the design here
The new design is simpler with more standardised parts. The flow capacity has also been improved with a potential daily output of over 10,000 litres from 10m water depth.
The Ghana field testing is being conducted by iDE.
Become a distributor
We're on the lookout for distribution partners and dealers in East Africa, especially Kenya and Ethiopia. We can offer attractive trade prices to the right partners, so drop us a line!