Firstly, thank you for taking an interest in our products and our journey to market - I'll try to keep posting blog/social media updates as often as possible. Peter Ryan, Founder.
Rainsurfer Ltd. was founded in 2018 by Peter Ryan, a Scotsman who has lived in Dublin for over 20 years. Previously, Peter started his working career with Royal Mail as an electrical engineer and despite his career evolving into different areas, has always maintained an interest in engineering and innovative technology.
In 2016, Peter started to experiment with water pumps after his son had completed a school project on saving water. The first problem he saw seemed to be that many buildings (his son's school included) saved water in rain barrels but only used a small amount of it, mostly to water plants. Why couldn't the water be used to flush toilets, wash hands, etc.?
Of course, there was a "simple" solution. Get an electric pump. However, when looking at it more closely other problems arose, and the many reasons why so few people connect a pump became apparent. Here are a few of the issues;
- No electrical supply at the water storage barrel location
- Installation of an electrical supply is expensive (and dangerous if DIY)
- Water is heavy and needs a relatively large pump (which makes solar very expensive)
- A water pump needs to be controlled (switched on/off) which can involve extensive internal wiring and/or switchgear.
Of all the solutions tested, one seemed to fit the purpose; the spiral pump. Here is a picture of an initial, partially constructed, proof of concept prototype.
This was taken in February 2016.
Over the next few years, and in conjunction with Enterprise Ireland and TUDublin, a mains/solar operated prototype was constructed, tested and a Patent applied for. The HiRiser® unit, as it was named, uses 36 Watts of power drawn from a 22Ahr battery and powered from a single 50 Watt solar panel or 240V mains electricity.
Following 2 x Innovation Vouchers from Enterprise Ireland and participation in the New Frontiers Hothouse Programme, it was decided in 2020 to manufacture and launch the HiRiser® solar pump.
As we are all aware, unfortunately, Covid 19 struck and all plans to launch the product into the hospitality sector were put on hold. However, it was always envisaged to design a spiral pump which was simple, durable and could be of use where electricity was not an option. Initially, this was to be targeted at poorer countries where water scarcity was a problem, but it was soon obvious that there could be uses nearer to home.
Luckily, the manufacturers of the HiRiser® (a big thanks to Donite Plastics!) were able to re-engineer, re-tool and adapt existing components to produce the HiRiser® Hand Pump.
An prototype picture from 2020
The Way Ahead
Launch Date - Following a great response from our marketing campaign, we have set a launch date of 21st June for the HiRiser® Hand Pump. Hopefully, Covid delays will not impact this again!
Field Testing - Both our Hand Pump and Mains/Solar pumps are being field tested in Ireland. Both are set up to operate on a plot of land similar to a large allotment with a polytunnel. The units will be used to distribute rainwater and operate in conjunction with a drip irrigation system and soaker hoses. We are due to receive a report on the Hand Pump (June 2021) which we will share with you.
Foreign Fields - One of our testers in Ireland is involved with overseas aid/engineering projects and we are hopeful that we will soon be sending several of our prototypes for testing in Nepal. It is our ambition to set up a charity which distributes low cost water pumps to poor or water scarce regions of the world.
Aeration - One of the unique characteristics of a spiral pump's operation is the fact that it pumps both air and water at the same time. This gives the pump the unique ability to circulate and aerate a liquid. Why not use it to add extra oxygen to that garden pond during summer? Or make compost tea for fertiliser? What about directly injecting water and oxygen into a compost heap? We will be exploring all of these possibilities using a scientific approach.
Other Applications - a few of the projects we are already working on are; water towers, evaporative cooling and activated sludge (yes!). If you have a professional interest or have any innovative ideas of applications where you think spiral pump technology would be of use please let us know!
As you can see, we are pursuing many areas of interest - I hope you will stay with us for the journey.