Some see a way to mend a flat tyre. We see a better life for farmers in the developing world.

“David’s achievement is evidence that our students are more than capable of putting the theory they learn in the classroom into practice.”

Professor Tony Miles, Head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering.

David Hutton’s FlexiPump is just one of the brilliant ideas to be developed by a Bath student. It’s a simple, reliable and low-cost irrigation pump, specially designed for farmers in the developing world. davidhuttonflexipump

The FlexiPump works by using compressed air. When air is pumped into the underwater chamber, it displaces the water and forces it to the surface through a hose pipe. The air is then sucked out of the chamber, allowing it to refill with water. By linking the Pump into a drip irrigation or sprinkler system, irrigation is made much more efficient, creating higher crop yields and more income for farmers.

David designed the Pump to be made from a variety of locally available materials to keep costs low. It’s small and lightweight for easy transportation and, critically, can be installed and maintained by one person – operated with a simple bicycle pump.

It’s just one example of a simple solution, developed here at Bath, which will help to make people’s lives better. And it complements other important work afoot within our Centre for Development Studies where researchers are proposing new solutions to pressing policy and practice challenges that are facing people in the developing world.

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‘Ingeniously simple’ design transforming lives in Africa at Christmas