For the past few years people have been trying to solve the global water problem (especially in Africa), and what better way than being echo friendly.

So my question is, can you use the tidal energy of the ocean to pump water via a ramp pump (works with a bunch of non-return valves and the fall of gravity). In other words replacing the gravitational energy with tidal energy, or an underwater ramp pump system.

Thus one would be able to pump water to an extensive height, without using fossil fuel energy.

  • $\begingroup$ Do you perhaps mean a ram pump? Perhaps see fao.org/docrep/010/ah810e/AH810E12.htm for some comparison of the most effective power generators, as it would seem that's really what you're needing, whether it's converted directly to mechanical energy or into electrical energy to operate some electrically-driven system. $\endgroup$ – JeopardyTempest Aug 10 '17 at 10:31
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ In the end it's an energy balance consideration... can you extract enough energy from the currents to raise sufficient water to a height to get it where you want it. That's something I know not enough on the details on, and despite the oceanography foundation here, wonder if most others will know enough about the varying aspects of this question to give a great answer. Hope I'm wrong. So many good questions have such a diverse set of considerations that they don't do great anywhere on SE. Hope you get a good answer. $\endgroup$ – JeopardyTempest Aug 10 '17 at 10:32
  • $\begingroup$ It's really unclear to me what you're suggesting here. You need to explain what a "ramp pump" is and what exactly you propose to do with it. I gather that the idea is to use tidal energy to transport freshwater to where it's needed, but presumably you need at least (1) a tidal shoreline (2) a freshwater source and (3) a water-poor area, in some kind of proximity. That seems to make it unusable for most of the world: there isn't much tidal power in e.g. South Sudan. Either way it seems more to do with engineering than oceanography. Maybe a better fit for engineering.se? $\endgroup$ – Pont Aug 10 '17 at 17:09
  • $\begingroup$ @Pont: Perhaps it's really a question for politics, because there are two separate questions here. The engineering problem - can tidal ram pumps move water around, and do so cost-effectively? - could be answered, but the larger question of whether doing so would solve global water problems, or just move them around, really isn't an engineering question. $\endgroup$ – jamesqf Aug 10 '17 at 19:27
  • $\begingroup$ @Pont Yes, the question should address the source of the water you'd want to pump. If it's not seawater -- which isn't suitable for irrigation or consumption -- and you don't want to rely on external power sources, then you'd probably be better off using water mills to pump fresh river water to higher altitudes. $\endgroup$ – jeffronicus Aug 10 '17 at 20:27