Arizona Solar Updraft Tower By 2015

A solar updraft tower is planned for the Arizona desert by EnviroMission, an Australian firm. The completed tower will be 2625 feet tall, and will output about 200 megawatts.


(Planned solar updraft tower)

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.

At 2625 feet, the tower will be two and a half times the size of the Empire State building and is close to the height of the world’s tallest building Burj Khalifa. EnviroMission believes the tower will generate a peak of 200 megawatts, which is enough to power around 150,000 US homes. The tower is projected to run at an efficiency of 60% with no maintenance until it hits 80 years old.

The project cost will be $750 million, but the company projects that the purchase price will be repaid in 11 years. The Southern California Public Power Authority has already signed a 30-year agreement with the Australian company to purchase power.

This idea was popularized in the 1964 short story Shortstack by Leigh and Walt Richmond.

The plastic tube for his chimney would be fed through this sealer as a double tube, one inside the other, and sealed likewise every foot around its circumference into continuous long, slender air tubes as the chimney itself rose from the ground, supported by hot air forced into the air tubes thus created between its two walls.

As it reached its full height, the air pressure would be increased until the air-stiffened tubes were self-supporting, with the minor aid of a few guy-lines stretched down to tie points in a thousand-foot circle around the chimney's base.

Beneath the sealing unit was a large squirrel cage fan; and connected to the fan were four of the surplus generators which civil defense had so trustingly stored with him.

It was late in the afternoon as the plastic chimney begin to rise, and it had already reached the 500 foot mark...
(Read more about the Richmonds' solar updraft tower)

Via DigitalTrends; thanks to Winchell Chung of Project Rho for pointing this out.

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