Madrid, February 9, 2009
Large-scale parabolic trough technology will be employed in both projects, located in Arizona and New York employ. The Arizona and New York projects will prevent the emission of 75 and 130 tons of CO2into the atmosphere each year.
Inhabitat – Sept 08
A new breed of solar tower may soon be sprouting up in Namibia, providing the nation with a carbon-free source of electricity and food during the day and night. At one and a half kilometers tall and 280 meters wide, these massive solar updraft towers could potentially produce 400MW of energy each – enough to power Windhoek, the nation’s capital. Proposed by intellectual property company Hahn & Hahn, the towers generate energy by forcing heated air through a shaft lined with wind turbines. Additionally, the base of each tower will function as a 37 square km greenhouse where crops can be grown.
Solar updraft towers are an oft-overlooked source of alternative energy, although they do require a great expanse of space and copious amounts of sunlight. Theo von Backström from the Department of Mechanical Engineering at South Africa’s Stellenbosch University states: “One of the main reasons why commercial solar chimney power plants have not been built that they have to be very large to be economically viable”. Fortunately Namibia’s ariddesert region provides plenty of space for such a generator, and the country sees around 300 days of sunshine per year. Solar updraft towers generate energy by using sunlight to heat the air within a vast transparent greenhousesituated at the base of the chimney. As the hot air rises, it is funneled into the reinforced concrete chimney, driving a series of wind turbines which in turn generate energy. The structure’s greenhouse base provides the perfect environment for growing crops, which actually allow the plant to produce energy after the sun has set. The water used for crops is heated during the day and transfers this energy to the tower at night. Once the towers are constructed they require very little maintenance, and Namibia has agreed to finance half of the costs of the $780,000 pre-feasibility report. We’d love to see the towers incorporate a Seawater Greenhouse and produce their own water as well!
Tip via Ryan Herbert
AUSTRALIA’S TALLEST SOLAR THERMAL PLANTVia BLBDBLG, CNET 2008
|Tower||3000 feet high, 400 feet Diameter|
|Concrete||750,000 cubic yards|
|Collector||3.5 miles diameter (30 million square yards) glass/polycarbonate/plastic film|
|Turbines||32 units x 6.25 MegaWatt|
|Land||20.25 square miles (4.5 x 4.5)|
|Jobs||2700+(Construction), 15 (ongoing)|
|THESE ARE EXCERPTS FROM THE WEBSITE LITERATURE – SOLARMISSION
For more than 100 years it has always been cheap and simple to dig up and burn coal to produce electricity. However, enormous shifts in community values across the world and growing concern about the environment, global warming and pollution over the last 20 years has led to a demand for methods to generate renewable, clean green energy. Increased global concerns about our over reliance on coal based ‘black’ energy and its negative impact on our environment is driving political changes. There are now legislated markets for clean, green renewable energy. This development has opened the way for investment in new approaches to green energy generation. New materials and construction methods have been developed to the point where solar tower technology can now be applied in an economically viable way.
Such a project is not without problems, however, “such as how to keep some 4000 hectares of greenhouse [at the foot of the tower, where the air is heated] clean enough to trap solar radiation in the first place. Legions of squeegee-wielding window cleaners will clearly not be the answer. And there are worries that the plastic sheets used to build the collector might deteriorate under the glare of the Australian sun, as they did in Manzanares.”
California’s first solar thermal plant in 20 years recently launched in Bakersfield, helping to usher the golden state into a new era of renewable energy. Designed by Ausra, the Kimberlina solar thermal plant will utilize 1,000-foot long mirrors to convert the sun’s rays into energy. The new plant is the first of it’s kind in North America and was constructed in just seven months.
Ausra’s Bakersfield plant is expected to generate 5MW of electricity (enough to power 3,500 homes), and it is an exciting a proof of concept for a much larger 177MW facility set to open in 2010 in San Luis Obispo that will power more than 120,000 homes.
Ausra’s solar-thermal plants employ a technology called Compact Linear Fresnel Reflectors. The process use mirrors to focus the sun’s heat upon tubes of water, creating steam that is used to drive power turbines to generate electricity. Unlike wind and photovoltaic systems, solar thermal plants are capable of storing heat for times when power is needed, and the steam produced can also used for other applications.
At the plant’s unveiling Governor Schwarzenegger stated: “This next generation solar power plant is further evidence that reliable, renewable and pollution-free technology is here to stay . . . Not only will this large-scale solar facility generate power to help us meet our renewable energy goals, it will also generate new jobs as California continues to pioneer the clean-tech industry.”
- Ausra Unveils California’s First Solar Thermal Plant in 20 Years
- World’s Largest Solar Power Plant Coming To CA Mojave Desert
- WORLD’S LARGEST SOLAR ARRAY Planned For California!
- PG&E Announces 800MW of Solar Energy for California
- Solar Energy Cogeneration Solution from SolarWall
- A Unique Solar Powered Community in Canada
Inhabitat May 21, 2007
Rising out of the Andalusian countryside like a gigantic obelisk, a 40 story concrete tower surrounded by fields of photovoltaic panels is is the first stage of Europe’s first commercial solar power station , which recently went into operation in a sunny region outside Seville, Spain. The eye-popping spectacle bears more than a passing resemblance to Sauron’s Mordor Lighthouse in Lord of the Rings – only shiny, happy and sunny, rather than dark and fiery. Dumb analogies aside, there’s no way that our meager words do justice to the sheer awesomeness of the project, so you’ll just have to check out the photos and video below.
The first stage of the solar power station, known as PS10, is a 300ft tall tower surrounded by 624 solar panels which will produce enough energy to power 60,000 homes. There is also a secondary component, known as Sevilla PV, which is a photovoltaic power plant composed of 154 panels, which will generate enough electricity for about 1800 homes.
Here is how the tower works: the solar panels, a 120m2 mixture of mirrors and photovoltaics, track the sun throughout the year, reflect the energy of the sun to solar receptor at the top of the tower. Water passes through pipes at the top, and is heated enough to turn it into steam by the solar receptor, which in turn passes through a series of turbines to produce electricity.
It is a sight to be seen. The area around the tower becomes so bright, that it actually illuminates the water vapor and dust that is in the air. It becomes necessary to wear sunglasses while you are there. Indeed, the image with the sunlight being thrown into the air? it’s not photoshoped.
This tower, while not a new technology (see CESA-1), is part of a series of projects whose final aim is to provide enough green energy for 180,000 homes, or most of the population of Seville. The final project, able to produce over 300MW, will include a series of towers, two more of which are being built, and standard photovoltaic power plants, as well as a mixture of newer parabolic solar collectors which will be installed at a later stage. The entire power plant will be operational by 2013. And here’s the most impressive part. The entire development, once it’s operational, will generate zero greenhouse gas emissions.+ Plataforma solar de Abengoa (spanish)