Pumps and pumping systems are an integral part of activities undertaken in agriculture, onshore and offshore production of oil and natural gas, petroleum refining, mining, power generation, and public water supply and sanitation. The power sector is the largest user of pumping systems in the country. The Indian pump industry has efficiently indigenised almost every type of pump used across infrastructure sectors. These pumps vary based on size, construction features, operational sophistication and suitability for the type of construction material used.
Solar-powered irrigation systems have emerged as a promising solution for the issues of energy shortage and erratic power supply, especially in the agricultural sector, which requires a lot of water. With appropriate promotional strategies and incentives, solar water pumps can address the issue of inadequate power availability for groundwater irrigation.
Pumps and pumping systems are used in power plants for primary applications such as fuel oil handling and for auxiliary systems such as lubrication and cooling. On an average, a 300 MW combined cycle power plant will have more than 100 pumps. Some of the pumping systems are high pressure temperature (HPT) single-stage barrel casing boiler feed pumps, horizontal booster (HZB) pumps, GSG radially split barrel casing pumps, boiler feed water pumps and concrete volute pumps.
Pumps are in general classified as centrifugal pumps (or rotodynamic pumps) and positive displacement pumps. Both centrifugal and positive displacement pumps are used in power generation applications. Of the two, engineers are generally more familiar with centrifugal pumps, which use an impeller to move fluid through the application process. The velocity of the rotating impeller imparts energy to the liquid and causes a rise in pressure that is proportional to the fluid’s velocity.
Positive displacement pumps, and, in particular, rotary variants, are less common, but can prove to be more cost effective and offer more efficient fluid handling in many applications. Instead of creating pressure, positive displacement pumps simply move liquid. Pressure is generated due to resistance to the movement of the liquid downstream of the pump.
Oil and gas
Pumps are used throughout the petroleum and natural gas industry for different exploration and production processes as well as oil and gas transportation and refining applications. Typical pump applications include crude oil transfer (truck loading or transfer to pipeline), secondary recovery (well water flooding via seawater or freshwater injection, chemical injection, etc.), glycol dehydration, produced water disposal, blow-out prevention, hydraulic fracturing, well servicing, amine sweetening, water cooling, fire protection, lean oil circulation, refinery and gas plant process fluids, water disposal for refineries and gas plants, etc.
Water and waste management
Rising demand for better water management with the latest technologies, cost-effective methods and sustainable operations has increased the demand for pumping solutions in the sector. The types of pumps available for handling raw sewage have also changed considerably over the years. Moreover, increasing uptake of desalination projects has also led to an increase in the demand for water pumps. The types of pumps used in the sector include vertical turbine pumps; vertical volute pumps; multistage pumps; jet monobloc pumps; end suction pumps; borewell, submersible motor, non-clog pumps; and horizontal non-clog end suction pumps.
There are three main solar water pumping configurations used in India, all based on the solar photovoltaic (PV) technology. These are the brushless direct current (DC) pump, DC positive displacement pump, and alternating current (AC) centrifugal pump. Awareness programmes and subsidy schemes launched by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) and state governments have resulted in the installation of over 90,000 solar pumps across the country as on October 31, 2016.
The MNRE is expecting to achieve a target of 1 million solar pumps by 2020-21. To achieve this vision, each state needs to identify the potential solar pump targets on the basis of factors such as water resource availability, pump size, cropping patterns, affordability of farmers, availability of state funds, etc.
Economically too, solar pumps are becoming more viable with their prices coming down rapidly due to competition in the market. A number of established companies as well as start-ups are striving to capture the solar pump market, resulting in a price war. Moreover, the 30 per cent subsidy provided by the government is making the system even cheaper for consumers.
The pump market in India will witness the emergence of intelligent pump systems and micro disc pump technology in the next few years. Intelligent pump systems can control and regulate the flow or pressure of fluids, can adjust to process changes, and have a fault-tolerant design, which will induce several manufacturers to adopt these pumps as they reduce the total cost of ownership without compromising performance parameters. Also, the micro disc pump technology will help manufacturers develop small-size and energy efficient disc pumps that can be used in medical applications such as wound therapy and blood pressure measurement.