National Energy Globe Award Papua New Guinea (overall winner)

Submitted by: Weinmann Sondermaschinen und Steuerungsbau GmbH
Implemented country: Papua New Guinea
Title: Hydraulic Rams Help Villagers in Papua New Guinea with Water Supply

Peter Weinmann is a mechanical engineer  as well as a gifted tinkerer and inventor. In 1983 he started the Weinmann company with headquarters in the German city of Hersbruck. He began his entrepreneurial career by offering tailored and patented solutions. Today his company mostly designs testing machines for quality assurance processes. Peter Weinmann has eight specialists working for him. He also has a son and is a very socially-minded person. Whenever the opportunity arises, Peter helps people out with his machines and inventions. Many people have profited already, even some in Papua New Guinea, where Peter Weinmann took hydraulic rams, a very old technology for water hoisting, which Peter Weinmann has resurrected. Meanwhile, his young daughter Vera is following in his footsteps and building her own water rams.

A hydraulic ram is an ingeniously simple invention: It’s a hydraulic transformer that takes in water at one hydraulic head and high flow rate, and outputs water at a higher hydraulic head and lower flow rate. The device uses the water hammer effect to develop pressure that allows a portion of the input water that powers the pump to be lifted to a point higher than where the water originally started. Rams are useful in remote areas, since they require no outside source of power than the kinetic energy of water. Service water, surface irrigation, or wells – all these water sources are suitable for rams. Weinmann has designed and built different models of hydraulic rams. Referred to as the “Ram Maker”, he received widespread media attention in Germany. A parish priest, originally from Papua New Guinea and now living in Germany, heard about Weinmann and got in touch with him. When he told Weinmann how the women in New Guinea have to hoist water from the river to their homes, Weinmann decided to help.

For fundraising, CDs with music from Papua New Guinea were sold, but that did not raise enough money. So Weinmann decided to finance the project by himself. The priest from New Guinea was given a crash course in ram building technology and then all the parts as well as more donations such as sewing machines and bicycles were packed and shipped off to Papua New Guinea, where a hydraulic ram now supports a village of 50 people by pumping up to 700 l/min from 300 meters without any outside power, night and day. You just can’t beat that, ecologically speaking, but also as far as purchase and maintenance costs are concerned. Weinmann rams are in use in Peru, Togo, Mongolia, and the Philippines.  This is a great example of how ideas with a promising future are based on very old technology.

“You only find new things if you leave beaten pathways.“

Peter Weinmann

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