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College students win TEDA award for solar-powered pump set

Staff Reporter
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‘The unit is cheaper compared to conventional pumping units'

Good work: Students and faculty of Kathir College of Engineering, near Coimbatore, with E.S. Kathir (fifth left), Correspondent, and Lavanya Kathir (sixth left), Secretary, after winning the Tamil Nadu Energy Development Agency certificate for best project. — Photo: Special Arrangement
Good work: Students and faculty of Kathir College of Engineering, near Coimbatore, with E.S. Kathir (fifth left), Correspondent, and Lavanya Kathir (sixth left), Secretary, after winning the Tamil Nadu Energy Development Agency certificate for best project. — Photo: Special Arrangement

Kathir College of Engineering students R. Ganesh Murthy, D. Manoj Kumar, E. Pradeep, P. Karupusamy, H. Guru Prasad, M. Hemalatha, G. Monika and N. Sabarinath recently won a Tamil Nadu Energy Development Agency (TEDA) award.

A solar-powered pump with communication facility for pumping water for agriculture fetched them the award at the function organised on Rajiv Gandhi Renewable Energy Day.

The low-cost unit runs on solar power, drawn from photovoltaic cells arranged in an array. The students' project report says the array powers a direct-current motor, which is attached to a pumping unit.

“The use of a submersible pump is best suited for the arrangement, as it eliminates the suction pipe and foot valve, resulting in greater efficiency of the pumping unit,” the report says.

The unit is cheaper compared to conventional pumping units and works even in the absence of electricity. It is also cheaper compared to diesel pumps in the long run.

The other advantage of the solar-powered pump, the report says, is that when the weather is hot and sunny, more water is pumped, as the photovoltaic cells draw more energy.

The pumped water is stored in tank for use during cloudy days. And, here again, the students made an innovation.

They have fit the tank with a GSM network module, which alerts through SMS the person concerned on water level. The module, based on the set up, also automatically switches on and off the motor.

The report says the advantages of the solar-powered pump with communication facility include no fuel, maintenance cost, cultivation of additional crop, minimal use of water and labour.

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