May , 2017
Countering water scarcity through smart pumps
14:34 pm

B.E. Bureau

Grundfos Pumps has been a trend setter in water technology with an annual production of more than 16 million pump units. The group employs more than 18,500 people and has a presence in 56 countries. The group also offers solutions for agricultural irrigation, turf irrigation, fertigation and chemigation, water supply, water treatment among others.

BE’s Ayantika Halder spoke to Ranganath N.K.,  Managing Director, Grundfos India, about their recent innovations and expansion plans.

Q. What have been the new innovations and technologies brought by Grundfos?

A. We have introduced products that were not there in India before. Before we came, nobody bothered about the life cycle costs of the pumps. The initial investment or cost of these pumps is 5% to 10%.  About 80%-85 % is basically the cost of the electricity it consumes and the rest is maintenance. Generally, in India, only the initial cost is focused upon.  We brought in the concept of the life cycle cost.

The next innovations were the multi-stage vertical inline pump, domestic multi-stage horizontal pump, and 3-inch diameter borehole pump that did not exist before we came into the market.  We also brought hydro pneumatic booster.  It is a booster for pressurizing very large buildings like hotels, hospitals and large offices where even if you open many taps, the pressure remains constant.  Generally, it is operated by PLC (programmable logic controller).

Grundfos has further strengthened its offerings with Grundfos iSOLUTIONS, a holistic approach to creating the most intelligent solution for its customers based on their unique demands. The company also has solar pump offerings for rural and agricultural applications.

Moreover, it has an impressive range of technologically advanced pump solutions for smart cities. With an increase in demand and limited resources, intelligent and innovative range of pump solutions such as Demand Driven Distribution (DDD), S Pump and Grundfos Remote Management (GRM) provide the right solution by ensuring minimum utilization of energy and water, while delivering optimal
results. Our main products include circulator pumps for heating and air-conditioning, as well as other centrifugal pumps for the industry, water supply, sewage and dosing.

Q. What are the main challenges faced by the sector in India? What are the interventions that can boost the sector?

A. If you split the segment, there is water utility segment that deals with irrigation, an industry segment, and a building segment, which includes commercial and residential buildings. The major hindrance is that at one point of time, pumps were referred to as a small scale sector. That was the initial challenge we faced.  What today is hindering the growth is the fact that the majority market for borehole pumps is in agriculture and agriculture today gets free power or subsidized power. So there is no focus from the agriculturists to put in energy efficient pumps and that market is equipped with low technology, low cost and inefficient pumps. If you look at the utility sector, which is basically government driven, large waste water plants, large drinking water plants, focuses on the initial cost. It still hasn’t found the right way of utilizing the life cycle cost.

There is no real R&D being made in India except for one or two companies. India is still in a copy and paste kind of a situation. Another issue is that there is a dearth of energy efficient affordable pumps where minimum standards are not met. It is very important for companies to focus on how it can co-create value with its stakeholders by being a responsible partner for a cleaner and greener planet.

We are helping Indian industries and corporates save both energy and water not only through highly energy efficient products but also through energy and water audits. These audits are a complete system analysis of the energy and water consumption. Post the analysis, the energy audit team recommends the best solutions to right size the systems.

Q. What is Grundfos doing to deal with  issues like water scarcity?

A. We cannot sort out water scarcity on our own. Unfortunately, in India, we actually start working after the scarcity starts. On the pump side, we have developed internet intelligence pumps, which will tell you how much water you are using.

Q.  What are the upcoming projects you are focusing on?

A. Grundfos India has launched forums on water and energy conservation through Facebook called ‘Ek Boondh Pani’ and ‘i Save Energy’. The objective of these forums is to create awareness and to provide a platform to the members to share their suggestions, ideas, and facts on conserving water and energy.

Recently, we have worked on solar-driven water ATM. Instead of giving money, these ATMs give water through smart or credit card. Grundfos India is also working with students to spread awareness on sustainability (energy and water conservation). The company encourages school visits to its facility to showcase the ‘Green Building’ concept. Grundfos India has been successful in reaching out to 503,000 students.

Q.  What is the future of the pump industry in India?

A. The future is not bleak. There may be ups and downs.  There will always be a demand for the pumps. Every generation of our pump will be 2% to 3% more efficient than the previous generation.

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