Sunflower steam pump

The sunflower steam pump has been developed to provide small holder farmers with an affordable and sustainable way to bring water to their fields. The parabolic collector captures the sunlight and concentrates it on the boiler in the focal point. The water in the boiler comes to the boil and the steam drives a steam engine which in turn drives a water pump. The pump comes in a suction version (up to 7m) and a deepset version up to 20m.

The capacity, on a clear day is maximum 16m3/day when lifting from 4m and 4m3/day when lifting from 20m. Assuming a crop water equirement of 5l/, this capacity is enough for a 3000 and 800 sqm field respectively.

The pump is expected to cost 200-300 euro when produced in sufficient volume.


In the long term the goal is to provide small holder farmers in developing countries with access to this technology so that they can increase their income and at the same time to increase food production.

In the short term, we aim to introduce this pump in Kenya, Ethiopia, Nepal, Zambia and Honduras where they will be fieldtested. The fieldtest experience wil be fed back into the design to improve the product.


  • Refine the design
  • Supervise the fabrication in India
  • Conduct field trials in Kenya, Nepal and Honduras


  • From Liberty foundation three grants with a total value of  101.000 euro have supported the design phase of the Sunflower pump and the elaboration of a business plan to introduce the technology on the Ethiopian market.
  • From the IDE Powering Ag project, 100.000 euro for 2014 and 50.000 euro for 2015.
  • From Futurepump UK, possibly 12.000 euro for 2015, but not yet certain.


A solar pump has been developed and tested that is affordable, economically viable and suits the needs off smallholder farmers in developing countries.

  • Sunflower Ethiopia