Growing Use

The growth in the pump market in India has been primarily on account of agricultural and industrial growth. Pumps play a dominant role in sectors such as agriculture, power generation, water and wastewater management, oil and gas, mining, petrochemicals and construction. Sector-wise, the power sector is the largest user of pumping systems in the country. Solar-powered pumps have also emerged as a promising solution for the agricultural sector, which requires a lot of water.

The pump industry has efficiently indigenised almost every type of pump used across infrastructure sectors. These pumps vary on the basis of size, operational sophistication, construction features and suitability for the

type of construction material used. Further, several industry players are investing in upgrading their factories and channel networks as the big-ticket programmes launched by the central government are expected to drive the demand for pumps. However, the overall demand for pumping systems from the infrastructure sector will depend on project uptake and the pace of implementation.

Indian Infrastructure takes a look at the requirements of pumps across various infrastructure sectors…

Power

Pumps and pumping systems are used in power plants for primary applications such as fuel oil handling, as well as for auxiliary systems such as lubrication and cooling. On an average, a 300 MW combined cycle power plant has more than 100 pumps.

The pumping systems used in power plants include horizontal booster pumps, GSG radially split barrel casing pumps, high pressure temperature single-stage barrel casing boiler feed pumps, boiler feedwater pumps, and concrete volute pumps. Besides these, both positive displacement pumps and centrifugal pumps are used in power generation applications, although the latter are generally preferred. Centrifugal pumps 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. Meanwhile, positive displacement pumps, the rotary variants, are less common. However, these pumps 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

Various types of pumps are utilised for the transfer of fuel in the oil and gas industry. They can be classified into the following types, on the basis of their design and construction: centrifugal pumps, progressive cavity pumps, reciprocating plunger pumps, gear pumps, diaphragm pumps, and metering pumps. Of these, centrifugal pumps are the most commonly used in the oil and gas industry.

Pumps are mostly used for crude oil transfer (truck loading or transfer to pipelines), secondary recovery (well water flooding via seawater or freshwater injection, chemical injection, etc.), glycol dehydration, disposal of water produced, blowout 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. The entire extraction, transportation and refining cycle substantiates the need for pumping equipment of the highest quality and reliability. As pumps in the oil and gas industry are required to operate under extreme environmental conditions (including both high temperatures and pressures, and extremely low pressures and cryogenic temperatures), they must be composed of materials that are capable of withstanding extreme operating conditions. Additionally, they must be non-reactive with any chemicals they could be exposed to.

Water and waste management

Rising demand for better water management, with the latest technologies, cost-effective methods, and sustainable operations, has, in turn, increased the demand for pumping solutions in this sector. Further, the increasing uptake of desalination projects has led to an increase in the demand for water pumps.

The types of pumps available for handling raw sewage have also changed considerably over the years. The various pumps used in the sector include vertical volute pumps; vertical turbine pumps; multistage pumps; end suction pumps; jet monobloc pumps; borewell, submersible motor and non-clog pumps; and horizontal non-clog end suction pumps.

Solar pumps

There are three main solar water pumping configurations used in India, all based on solar photovoltaic technology. These are the brushless direct current (DC) pumps, DC positive displacement pumps, and alternating current centrifugal pumps.

Solar pumps have emerged as a viable, non-polluting source of power for agricultural consumers. Of the total 29.93 million agricultural irrigation pumps, 0.13 million (0.4 per cent) are solar powered. The central government has been actively encouraging the uptake of solar pumps among farmers through schemes such as the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthaan Mahabhiyan (PM-KUSUM). State governments have also launched schemes such as the Atal Solar Krishi Pump Yojana (Maharashtra), the Saur Sinchayee Yojana (Himachal Pradesh), the Surya Raitha scheme (Karnataka) and the Saur Pump Yojana (Bihar) for promoting the installation of solar pumps in the irrigation sector.

It has been estimated that by 2023-24, 3.06 million solar pumps will be installed across the country. Under the PM-KUSUM scheme alone, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has envisaged the installation of 1.75 million stand-alone solar pumps (as part of Component B of the scheme) and 1 million grid-connected solar pumps (as part of Component C of the scheme), that is, a total of 2.75 million solar pumps over the next five years. This translates into a growth rate of around 73 per cent from 2019-20 till 2023-24.

Chemicals industry

Transporting chemicals and chemical products with aggressive, acidic, or otherwise challenging properties places special demands on the use of chemical pumps. Depending on the substance being transported and the type of application, a variety of pumps can be employed for the chemical industry. There can be secondary circuits and applications that avoid direct contact with the chemical medium, as well as applications for direct conveyance of chemicals. Specially developed and resistant plastic centrifugal pumps and displacement pumps are available for the latter purpose. In general, the various types of pumps used in the chemical industry include radial pumps, side channel pumps, progressive cavity pumps, rotary lobe pumps, multi-screw pumps, dosing pumps, gear pumps, piston diaphragm pumps, and piston pumps.

Chemical pumps are used in the unloading and preparation of raw materials, in processing and transformation processes right up to storage, and in many other areas such as wastewater treatment. The choice of pump depends chiefly on the chemical properties of the pumped medium and the operational safety aspects.

Mining

Mining companies require reliable pumps for a plethora of tasks, ranging from the transportation of sludge via drainage, to the dosing of chemicals and subsequent neutralisation. The various types of pumps deployed in this industry include piston/plunger pumps, radial pumps, piston diaphragm pumps, progressive cavity pumps, rotary lobe pumps, multi-screw pumps, dosing pumps, and hose pumps.

The way forward

Energy efficiency is one of the key considerations for the industrial sector when it comes to pumps, as a quarter of the energy consumed by industrial motors is used by pumps. In order to ensure efficiency, it is imperative to leverage internet of things (IoT) technology and automation in the pump market. Smart pumps can control and regulate the flow or pressure of the fluid, can adjust to process changes and also have a fault-tolerant design, which can induce several manufacturers to adopt these pumps as they reduce the total cost of ownership without compromising on performance parameters.

Going forward, the Indian pump industry is going to reap the benefits of higher agricultural growth, enhanced infrastructure development, promotion of water-intensive industries, increased demand for energy efficient pumps, increased export of centrifugal pumps, etc. The industry is gradually enhancing its ability to manufacture pumps that match international standards. Although IoT-intelligent pumps are still nascent in the country, the industry is likely to move towards digitalization in pumps.

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