TRANSFORMING AN ANCIENT PRINCIPLE INTO A TECHNOLOGY THAT CAN BE MASS-PRODUCED AND HELP PEOPLE AROUND THE WORLD. SOUNDS LIKE A TESLA TECHNOLOGY (IT’S NOT). ALTHOUGH USED FOR PUMPING WATER I AM SURE IT COULD BE ADOPTED TO ELECTRICITY PRODUCTION
The working principle is known from the ancient Egyptian times, but has not been applied on an industrial scale before. aQysta has developed hydro-powered irrigation system, a sustainable solution that does not use any external source of energy like fossil fuels or electricity with a vision to enhance food security in the world.
aQysta has developed its first product, named as ‘Barsha’(meaning rain) pumps which works on spiral pumping mechanism. The kinetic energy of river is used to rotate a water-wheel powered spiral, which will pump water by alternate compression and decompression of air. (Moving water has harvest-able kinetic energy)
DEFT UNIVERSITY STARTUP
aQysta is a start-up company founded by three engineers from the Delft University of Technology, Netherlands. The three founders come from different parts of the world but share the same aspiration to create an impact in people’s lives through appropriately implemented technologies. To aQysta, sustainability is not just about being concerned with CO2, it is about bettering lives for people in a reliable way while providing a proper perspective for the future, not just for the developed world, but for everyone.
aQysta operates from the Delft incubator, the largest high-tech incubator in Europe, located just outside the Delft University of Technology campus, which grants us access to the resources available at the University, such as advanced testing facilities, workshops and top-experts in the field of water management, engineering, and entrepreneurship.
download (77)The Barsha Pump is the more sustainable and economical alternative to other irrigation solutions such as diesel- and solar-powered pumping. While the initial investment of diesel powered pumps is low, it induces operating and maintenance costs in the form of constant repairs and re-fueling. Solar pumps, on the other hand, require a large initial investment and access to trained personnel if repairs are needed. The simple design of aQysta’s Barsha pump induces virtually no operating or maintenance costs and is ‘cheap’ in comparison to its alternatives.
The Barsha Pump’s only requirement of being close to a flowing water source makes it ideal for irrigation of small- and mid-sized farms often located close to rivers and canals.
The total global market potential is hard to calculate but is estimated using three perspectives: The area of land belonging to small farms that are irrigated from flowing surface water, hydropower potential for the pump that can be used for lift irrigation, and the number of small scale farms that can potentially be irrigated by the Barsha Pump. Using these perspectives aQysta calculated the global market for the pump being several billion euros and is expected to grow even further due to increasing -fuel prices, population, -commercial farming & mechanization and the effects of climate change demanding more sustainable solutions.
The aQysta team visited Nepal and Ecuador to get a better understanding of the context in which the Barsha Pump is being deployed. During these visits aQysta spoke to farmers as well as top-level private- governmental- and non-governmental stakeholders and organizations. Where they collected numerous letters of intent confirming the existence of the market.
The decision was made to limit the number of pilot projects to a maximum of ten due to a combination of time and resource constraints and the fact aQysta is still in the ‘testing’ phase of their product. Pilot projects are selected based on the level of experience to be gained, therefore the aim is to incorporate as much variety in the pilots as possible. The first 10 projects are scheduled for the summer of 2014. Another 40 orders are to be realized by the end of 2014 which are to be manufactured using a standardized production process.
The first customers are selected based on their potential for scale-up. Only strategically selected organizations which have experience in the distribution and marketing of agricultural technologies are considered. This allows activities to be focused on the delivery of the pump to the partner while at the same time creating end-user demand. After obtaining foothold in the foreign market aQysta aims to expand its activities by providing professional pumping solutions that use a standardized design enabling quick and easy repairs and replacements. This is also one of the key values that were identified during interviews; customers value professionalism much higher than non-commercial ‘make-shift’ products.
CURRENT & FUTURE ACTIVITIES
aQysta has developed several working prototypes that are used for demonstration, testing and pitching activities. First small scale prototypes were developed to serve as a proof-of-concept, from which eventually a full scale prototype was constructed to be used in TU Delfts testing facility and helped calculate the optimal design. The size of the pump is carefully selected considering cost, efficiency, transport and capacity calculations. The pumps size is limited so that it remains manageable for ‘regular’ logistic operations. At this moment a second half-scale prototype serves to validate the mathematical model and to demonstrate to stakeholders what the final product will look like.
The future is looking bright for aQysta as it has received numerous letters of intent and orders for pilot projects. After successfully completing the first ten pilot projects, aQysta expects to have gained enough experience to make informed decisions regarding the direction of its future activities. However, with the high capital investment required to set-up the standardized production process aQysta is still looking for investors.