Arizona should be getting some of these sci-fi eco monsters in 2015.
Solar updraft towers combine three technologies to produce power: the greenhouse effect, the chimney effect and wind turbine. Sunshine heats the canopy at the base of the tall chimney causing air to flow upwards towards the turbines at the base which then convert that flow into electricity. The solar tower requires low maintenance, no feed stock (uranium, coal etc.) and emits no pollution.
EnviroMission CEO Roger Davey explains the solar tower technology, the Arizona project and why he couldn’t get it built at home in Australia.
The advantages of this kind of power source are clear:
Because it works on temperature differential, not absolute temperature, it works in any weather; Because the heat of the day warms the ground up so much, it continues working at night; Because you want large tracts of hot, dry land for best results, you can build it on more or less useless land in the desert; It requires virtually no maintenance – apart from a bit of turbine servicing now and then, the tower “just works” once it’s going, and lasts as long as its structure stays standing; It uses no ‘feed stock’ – no coal, no uranium, nothing but air and sunlight; It emits absolutely no pollution – the only emission is warm air at the top of the tower. In fact, because you’re creating a greenhouse underneath, it actually turns out to be remarkably good for growing vegetation under there.
- EnviroMission, the Australian company building a solar updraft tower in Arizona.
- Renders and diagram by Schlaich Bergermann und Partner who own solar-updraft-tower.com (which has terrible navigation, but a useful sitemap).
- Solar updraft tower on Wikipedia