For humanity to be able to meet its needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own, we must create a sustainable and customised service economy. For all the people of the world to be able to share in this goal, including both marginal operators in economically developed countries and most farmers in currently less economically developed countries, we need to increase resource productivity by a factor of 10. This paper describes a conceptual design process in which the designer is looking to achieve this factor 10 improvement at a system design level. Order of magnitude upgrading, on the performance of existing products, calls for an innovative approach to the design process. We outline a methodology, “Trend-Morph-PDS”, and show in a case study how it has been applied to the development of a ground-water pumping system. This type of system is in demand in geographically remote areas, where low well yield rates are typical, and rather complicated wind or solar pumps are commonly used for these “low-yield-well pumps”. The large number of products on the market demonstrates a wide and often conflicting range of trends in terms of design/development: long life/short life; high efficiency/low efficiency; problematic maintenance; absence of product range rationalisation. There is, however, a general trend towards replacement of mechanical with electrical-electronic systems. We argue that it would be possible to replace the currently dominant types of electrically driven submersible pump with a well designed mechanical system that has approximately twice the efficiency of its competitors and five times the design life. We recognise the commercial importance of the initial system cost, and we see no reason why our system should cost more than those of our existing competitors. Our case study indicates that factor 10 improvement in resource productivity is achievable in this application.

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