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I'm throwing this out there for discussion, spawned by a recent blog, but something on my mind since first being interested in AP.  NO PUMPS. Can it happen, and how?

Why? Well, 'cause if we didn't need pumps or electricity we probably wouldn't use them, and AP might truly join the ranks as a sustainable food production method, and applicable to feeding the poor, saving the world, yada yada...and at the heart of it all, I'm cheap and lazy. I find personal victory in reaching the end goal faster, smarter, easier, cheaper than "how it normally done".

The only thing that comes to mind is a wicking bed of some sort. And I need to consult my book of wild ideas before I open my mouth.

Now I won't be a stickler about including some pumps using waste energy, or some low-tech mechanics, or human power, but try to avoid solar PV and windmill electricity (not that they are not excellent, but they are being done and discussed elsewhere).

link to blog:

Pics, sketches, links, etc are always nice. Happy brainstorming.


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The question, if you recall, Eric Warwick, was how to exchange water without a pump (which I understood to mean not use electricity).

BTW, how do you know that Archimedes screw is inefficient compared to a traditional, modern, electric pump?  Have you done side-by-side comparisons?  Also, how do you define "efficiency"?  If you mean that a standard pump is more electric energy efficient, for example, you lose that argument.  The point is please back up your argument.


If the idea here was to kick around some ideas to exchange water without a standard electric pump, I offered something in addition to all the sarcasm in this thread.  I offered a possibility. 

Regarding the statement "Anyway, it's not that much electricity, so you really don't need to worry all that much," I never read the OPs OP to state he was "worried" about electricity, nor did he offer parameters on electricity use where the worry would kick in or otherwise be mitigated.  To assume the question was based in worry or in quantity of electricity consumption is a miss on your part, in my opinion.  Worry and electric efficiency would be different questions, wouldn't they?


Again, back to the question, how to exchange water without a traditional pump.

I just want to say one thing: I never think anyone of low intelligence when they suggest things that don't make sense in physics. I simply blame the educational system. Anyway, I put up a reasonable answer to this problem earlier in the thread (page three, I believe) and I stand by those claims. Anyway, efficiency is defined in this case as biomass or food production/work. The screw does a dastardly job compared to a water pump and is a engineering nightmare. I can see how it could work, but why in the FSM's name would you want to build that? I get it, some ideas sound pretty awesome and solve a lot of problems. However, most of those solutions end up creating a myriad of more problems. There is no such thing as a free lunch. A water pump is specifically designed for--let's see--pumping water. I don't say it that way to be mean, it's just to provide emphasis--emphasis on the fact that modern engineering does a fairly good job with modern problems. Look, I don't doubt you can build a system without a traditional pump. In fact it sounds cool. In fact, I really want to see it. Anyway, if your purpose is to create a carbon dioxide neutral system, then just use renewable energy. Seriously, it's not as difficult as engineering what you're talking about. Anyway, I'm procrastinating on work, so I should probably get back to that--at some point.  

Mr. Warwick, If you have something to say, say it. 

"I just want to say one thing: I never think anyone of low intelligence when they suggest things that don't make sense in physics."

If you want to suggest that I have "low intelligence" and the education system is to blame, again, please support your argument ad hominem attack.

You state something was suggested that "don't make sense in physics".  Please stand by your claim and elaborate.  I don't suppose you were referencing the braying ass and his swing a few posts back.  Perhaps you mean that gravity won't allow water to fall? Or perhaps falling water wouldn't spin a biowheel?  Or perhaps you really mean Archimedes screw doesn't work?  I'll bet on the latter.

The thing is, Archimedes screw was once human (slave) powered and of an extremely large scale, thus for obvious reasons it was abandoned.  With all the advancement in technology, it's not much of a wonder that it's probably not been given serious consideration in recent times for that reason.  (I'm sure you'll agree with me here.)  However, as the technology age is still rather new (in terms of civilization) the draw backs to some of the advances are still being exposed. (Power failure, solar flares, remote living, dangers associated with electricity, expense.)  Curiously, it seems that the solutions frequently come in the form of returning to "old ways" or simplicity, yet with a new spin--no pun intended.


The eager and curious mind has also been influenced by technological advances.  Some point to the negatives--a boy from Azerbaijan remarks that Americans are too distracted with their technology to focus, think, and problem solve.  I wonder that he isn't on to something.

Regarding this statement of yours "The screw does a dastardly job compared to a water pump and is a engineering nightmare," you do realize such a screw (or my preference a tube) is really quite simple, don't you?  In fact, that's the beauty of it.  In my opinion, it is a simpler design and concept than a standard pump.


So, back to the screw or rather the physics problem you alluded to.  What is it?


That was not Ad Hominem. What I'm suggesting is that if you think this could work on a large scale economically, then you are sorely lacking in your physics or engineering knowledge--which is an assumption based on the fact it will not work. Better? (Oh by the way, I am claiming the null, so you have to support your hypothesis.) I don't want this to get ugly  uglier. However, reading comprehension is apparently not your strong-suit. That's fine. Just please make an effort to double check what you read. In fact, I encourage you to read more, because knowledge is power. Start with a few economics and engineering books. Oh by the way, Archimedes' Screws work, but no one claims they work well compared to anything else.

"Curiously, it seems that the solutions frequently come in the form of returning to "old ways" or simplicity, yet with a new spin--no pun intended." Good one. Also, occasionally that happens. I repeat, I'd love to see this work. Oh, and just because you thought of a "solution" does not make it good. There, I've fed the trolls enough today. 

I should probably go to sleep...(

 1. Ad hominem, is an attack on (or to) the man, rather than to the argument.  You suggested I am "low intelligence".  A disparaging remark about the person, true or untrue, is an ad hominem attack.


2.  You said: "What I'm suggesting is that if you think this could work on a large scale economically, then you are sorely lacking in your physics or engineering knowledge--which is an assumption based on the fact it will not work."

You made three (really 4, but I'll address 3) assumptions in that statement. 

(1) You assumed that I propose this would work on a large scale, economically.  First, I never said that. Second, why even argue that?  Isn't it kinda silly to argue that it will or won't work on (a) a large scale, and (b) economically without even having a working model?  I mean really, a few posts back you said such a screw is an engineering nightmare.  (It has not escaped me that you have failed to address that.)

(2) You have no idea what physics or engineering knowledge I have, so why even go there?  Again, kinda silly.  If your position is that the suggestion I made, at the invitation of the OP to "brainstorm", won't work, then demonstrate how and why.  Perhaps, to deconstruct and disprove any validity to my suggestion, some engineering and physics knowledge would be of use to you at this point. Beware, sometimes in the attempt to disprove a theory, the theory is proved. YIKES!

(3) You said "...which is an assumption based on the fact it will not work."  You are asserting facts yet fail to demonstrate the fact. (In other words, saying--or rather typing--it is a fact does not make it a fact.)


3. I'll skip over the rest of the fluff and ad hominems and move on to 4.


4. You contradict yourself and tagged with another silly statement. "Oh by the way, Archimedes' Screws work, but no one claims they work well compared to anything else."  Didn't you just claim it wouldn't work?  Yeah, see  2. (2).


5.  I will address the reading comprehension after all:  you see, the OP requested ideas on how to exchange water without a traditional pump.  He specifically suggested brainstorming.  <--Reading comprehension = my suggestion to use an Archimedes tube (screw) in combination with a simple turbine, and so on (you can re-read my original post). 


The distinction here is I offered something compared to replies shooting down the simple request for possibilities, only bettered by your shooting down a possibility...and then, what? 

What did you say? 

You want to see it work?!

Okay, then.  Now we're back on course.  This could be a fun adventure.  Mebbe sumwon will get rich!



Here, kids.

Now, next time I log on to this site, I expect to see that Vlad had created for me a b ee uuu tiful tank system, aesthetically pleasing in every aspect, materials, shape, placement, color palette, physic(al) intrigue, with balance and harmony where the tranquility is promoted through the sound of the water displacement and fall...*imagines the beautiful sound of the water, and the beautiful sight of COPPER! in an aquatic environment causing no harm, and the raw food munchies...*

Hay I got this device to sell you that will someday provide electricity to your house as well as letting you sell it to the power company, (we just have a few little glitches to iron out and of course the "powers that be" don't want anyone actually knowing about it so we can't give you any details about how the magic box works) but if you buy in now you can be one of the few who get to buy one when they become available.

Now if you happened to have a natural stream near by to provide the falling water to do the work for your aquaponics system, you may be able to use the Archimedes screw to lift the water within your system.  However, you can't expect water falling say 24 inches to lift the same amount of water up 25 inches via only mechanical means.  As noted, there are always losses (friction) and you are actually needing the falling water to do more work than is stored in it's potential.  Even if some one else could engineer and build something close to this for you, it likely wouldn't meet your requirement that it not require some one to go out and bucket water and re-start it every few hours (or have a hidden electric pump on a switch or timer that kicks on to get it going again on a regular basis) since it is always going to be winding down since there will always be loss and friction so it is never going to have enough flow to lift as much water as is falling so eventually it will wind down.  The more "perfect" or "lossless" the system is the longer it might run but well if the perfect work generating perpetual motion device were possible, don't you think everyone would be using it by now?

TCLynx -


Here's another non electric, non fuel pump that "doesn't work". (Ariete Pump) and a diagram.

To the OP -

Despite all the naysayers in this thread, I believe there are several ways you can accomplish the goals you outlined in your OP.  In fact, you can get a couple of added benefits.

I've thrown out some ideas.  Really, it's in the imagination and research.  And, thanks to the internet and the generosity of folks who post on places like this forum and youtube, you're just a few finger dances away from more possibilities honed to your liking.

It is clear to me that it is much easier to devise a system such as you suggest, than to encourage others to think outside the box and disrupt the status quo.


Good luck!

Yeah, ram pumps work. I saw one working back in the early 70's where a friend used one to pump water from a spring in the side of a ravine to his cabin at the top. He was out in the boonies and wanted full self- sufficiency.

The trick is there was a fair amount of water flowing from that spring to push a small amount of water up the hill. The energy has to come from somewhere. In my friend's case it was water flowing out that spring.

The bottom of My 275 gallon IBC cistern is 3 ft in the air, making the top almost 6 ft. That provides alot of potential power. I might even get a few gallons of water to return to that cistern with a passive pump like you described. But then Te system would stop, at least until enough water was put into that cistern... Rain? Closed system just cannot be sustained without some outside energy source.

If I had enough wind, I'd put a windmill powered pump to move the water into that cistern. Mainly from the point of asthetics. But it would still be an outside energy source.

I'd love it if we can get such things to work, however I feel it is a bit optimistic to expect that some one else is going to do the engineering for you to get the perpetual motion machine designed AND make it look pleasing to YOUR sensibilities based on YOUR insistence and some web links that it can be done and then expect that THEY will get it designed, prototyped, and manufactured into a turkey box of Goodies and then give YOU credit for it.

So far I haven't seen a sterling engine that can do much more than turn something in a vacuum bulb let alone work against water, air and friction while doing work, and a sterling engine has an outside source of power in the form of some sort of heat differential.

Please if you think you can use some sort of mechanical pump like an Archimedes screw to keep a bucket full driven only by the flow of water falling from the bucket, I'd love to see it.  I'll even discount the point that some one is going to have to get it started by lifting the water up to the bucket in the first place.

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