Zim engineer invents water-powered engine

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HARARE – Engineer Jeremia Sundire, who invented a hydro engine powered by water, has been recognised by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (Wipo) and the African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation (Aripo).

A holder of a Bachelor of Science degree in Agro-engineering from the University of Zimbabwe, the 45-year-old Sundire invented the water-powered engine which can generate electricity for domestic use using between 40 and 60 litres of water.

He invented the engine some time in 2009.

With the country currently experiencing energy problems, the new invention could prove to be a cheap solution after Wipo this year granted Sundire the sole right to make use of or sell his invention.

The patent protection means that the invention cannot be commercially made, used, distributed or sold without the owner’s consent.

In an interview with the Daily News yesterday, Sundire said the recognition was a dream come true, saying he has always believed he could come up with something out of the ordinary.

The soft spoken engineer said he was inspired by the late American inventor Steve Jobs’ famous statement that “innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.”

“I am just realising my dream of being a leader in scientific innovation,” he said.

“I want to be the country’s torch bearer and I hope Zimbabweans will appreciate the new machine that could ease the current electricity problems we are experiencing as a country because it is cheaper and affordable.”

The system comprises a set of two water storage tanks sitting on top of the other.

Between the tanks is a space where a shaft, a small turbine and a crankshaft are located.

The crankshaft attached to a hydro-turbine powered shaft drives the pipes which deliver water from the lower tank to the one at the top.

The turbine is set in motion by water from a hydrant pipe that gashes water from the lower tank against it and the water collects in the upper tank before it is delivered back through the pumping system.

The continued circulation of water makes the system a hydro-engine.

Sundire explained that the machine was environmentally-friendly as it does not emit gases unlike other engines that use fuel.

He however said the biggest challenge was capital to start meaningful projects that could earn him a living saying he turned down $20 000 loan offer from government in 2011 which was far below his expectation.

“The machine does not pollute the environment so in a way it is a fight against the depletion of the ozone layer,” he said. “I think the government recognises that it is a great invention because the ministry of Science and Technology selected it in November 2011 as one the successful innovations to be funded under the ICF but I did not agree with what they had on the table.

“I was even invited to attend the 2011 ICF Awards ceremony.”

The world recognition of Sundire’s work came hard on the heels of a similar recognition of the same on the African continent through the Aripo in September 2010.

Aripo gave him a Certificate of Registration of Utility Model number AP/U00003 in line with the organisation’s Rule 20(3) of the Aripo regulations.

Patents are granted by a national or regional patent office on behalf of other countries as in the case of Aripo and the European Patent Office for inventions that are of practical use and have some new characteristic which is not known in the body of existing knowledge in its technical field.

It must also show an inventive step which could not be deduced by a person with average knowledge of the technical field and must be accepted as “patentable” under law.

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