P14418: B9 Power Generation for Better Water Maker
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Concept Development

Table of Contents

Step 1. Clarify The Problem

Generate energy from user-generated power.

Step 2. Results:

For all of the following ideas, the water treatment system remains exactly the same.
Gravity-fed system
A reservoir delivers water from a height above the system. The pump could be removed entirely, or the load upon it would simply be lessened.
Solar panel
A solar panel would be mounted on a scissor-like positioning apparatus that would allow the user to face it toward the sun. This apparatus would plug into the system with a car-adapter plug.
Regeared crank
The crank system would remain, but gearing options would be examined to improve usability, either by increasing or decreasing the gear ratio.
Bicycle-based pedal system
The crank system would remain, but it would be foot-powered. The crank would be re-engineered to sustain higher loads and a new placement system would be created to allow for comfortable use.
Solar panel-supplement to current system
A small solar panel would be added to the current system, to add some power and lessen the amount to be created by crank and user.
Spring and solenoid-powered system
A solenoid will be actuated by the user's weight to generate energy. Springs may be needed to return the solenoid and user to their original position.
Spinning Jug
A jug of water would be in the middle of a merry-go-round--like apparatus. It would be spun and the water inside would add its rotational inertia, decreasing the difficulty to turn the apparatus.
Decreased number of DC motors
Theoretically, the most efficient energy generation may occur with fewer motors than are used currently. The crank would be easier to turn if it used fewer motors.

Step 3. Explore Systematically

Gravity-fed Concept

Solar Panel Concept

Supplemental Solar Panel Concept

Morphological Analysis

After deciding that our team would move forward with a bicycle design, our customer encouraged us to examine the treadle pump commonly used in developing countries. Click here for some basic reseach on the treadle pump and mechanical treadle.

Simple Calculations for treadle power

Simple Calculations for treadle power

Schematic for Treadle

Schematic for Treadle

For additional pictures on the treadle design: Treadle Pictures

Step 4. Reflect on the Results and the Process

After examining all concepts, we saw that a bicycle-based system would be the best design for minimizing cost, complexity, and effort while maximizing the potential for success. For future projects, we should be sure to hear the customer's suggestions early on so they can be included in the process. As is was, we spent a week working with the treadle idea after we had spent time evaluating the other concepts. It would have been more efficient to have the treadle concept included with the other concepts.

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