Abstract

The practical energy minimization algorithm (EMA) is introduced here to determine if a water distribution system (WDS) can be less energy dependent. The EMA is a simple algorithm that can be used by practitioners in the planning and management of WDS. The EMA employs the Jatropha Curcas (JC) tree as a source of oil for fueling water pumps. The EMA is demonstrated on a WDS in Senegal, West Africa, and calculates the level of JC production required to be self-sufficient in fueling the water system to meet drinking, sanitation, and JC irrigation requirements. It was found that the EMA successfully showed that the demonstration WDS can be energy self-sufficient to provide recommended amounts of drinking water for the people and enough irrigation for the JC trees, but only if greywater was used to supplement the irrigation and if a mechanical press was used in lieu of a hand press to extract the oil from the JC leaves. An adequate amount of oil was thus produced to power the required mechanical press as well. Payback periods of significantly less than the life of the required equipment indicate the viability of JC oil as fuel and the feasibility of having an energy independent WDS.

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