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MASSIVE Solar Tower in Arizona Will Be World's 2nd Tallest Structure

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posted on Jul, 27 2011 @ 03:59 PM
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An Australian company named EnviroMission is using an extremely basic principle of physics - the fact that warm air rises - to spearhead one of the biggest engineering projects the world has ever seen.

The 2600ft tall, football field sized, "Solar Chimney" would generate 200MW of clean, renewable energy (enough to power 150,000 homes) with an expected structural lifetime of 80 years.



The way the whole thing works is really simple: use a ginormous canopy (2 mile diameter!) to trap hot air warmed by the intense Arizona Sun. That air would then be (naturally) forced to escape up through the half-mile long tower in the center. As it rushes through the structure, it would drive turbines that generate electricity.



It's sort of the exact opposite of a hydro plant that uses water and gravity to drive turbines - whereas this uses air and buoyancy instead.


As for the cost - a cool $750 million. But it's expected the plant would pay for itself in only 11 years, as the design is so simple it has barely any operating costs.


The beauty is that there are very few moving parts, so it doesn't cost much to operate, and because the area under the canopy heats up so much and there's still going to be a significant temperature differential between the bottom and the top of the tower, it can continue to produce power at night.


Source


Here's a promotional video, involving a smaller version of this technology that has already been built in Spain:




Also to get an idea of just how tall this thing is, here's the tallest structure in the world, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, which is less than 100 ft higher than what the projected height of the Arizona Solar Tower would be:



Crazy!



edit on 27-7-2011 by mc_squared because: fixed some dimensions




posted on Jul, 27 2011 @ 04:06 PM
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Okay now THERE is change and future technology I can whole heartedly get behind! These guys aren't spending millions to build some 10% scale prototype just to say they did it. They're going right out the gate to build a functional, working power plant that will make a pretty large difference in the grid supply to Arizona. 150,000 homes is nothing to sneeze at.

If this works, I say we do something intelligent with our money if we must keep printing it out of thin air and throwing it around like it's fancy toilet paper. IF this works as advertised, thank them profusely for their courage and boldness in building it, then either invite them to build several dozen more in a short timeline or the U.S. Government can PRODUCE something for a change instead of mooching the citizens to death and build some of these to hand over to local authorities upon completion.

What is really the difference between 100's of millions in block grants for everything imaginable that goes to waste every year and just outright building these plants and giving them, deed and all, to the locals? It's probably less money than they cut checks for anyway, and it'll actually HELP people.



posted on Jul, 27 2011 @ 04:23 PM
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reply to post by Wrabbit2000
 


Yeah for sure, $750 million of capital might be a pretty hefty sum to start, but with only an 11-year return on investment that makes it almost a no-brainer. All that follows is ~70 years of CHEAP, clean energy afterward


It's interesting too in that promotional video they point out that the land underneath the canopy becomes very green because of the warm air and condensation at night.

It makes me wonder if they could use these things - effectively giant greenhouses in the desert - to maybe also grow something like switchgrass, which is a potentially viable biofuel, just to add that much more bang for the buck.



posted on Jul, 27 2011 @ 04:29 PM
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$750 million ... I'll beleive that when I see it



posted on Jul, 27 2011 @ 04:33 PM
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reply to post by mc_squared
 


Well regardless of how expensive it will be to build this, I am very glad there are those out there who are still coming up with original and innovative ideas that will help our race move forward.

This idea is very similar to the idea I had about mass solar dishes and solar farms in Arizona, New Mexico, and Nevada. All of which have thousands of acres of unused nearly uninhabitable land which would be perfect for such experiments.



posted on Jul, 27 2011 @ 04:34 PM
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Lets hope there isn't the odd dust storm in those 80 years eh......

Or it might need a bit of cleaning...

edit on 27/7/11 by EnigmaAgent because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 27 2011 @ 04:38 PM
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Originally posted by mc_squared
An Australian company named EnviroMission is using an extremely basic principle of physics - the fact that warm air rises - to spearhead one of the biggest engineering projects the world has ever seen.



Ah yes, the exact same company that was going to build one here in Australia, near Mildura, and nothing has emerged after about 10 years of nothingness.

They came up with pretty pictures for that one too.

I've no doubt the technology works, I'm just doubting that company has any money.



posted on Jul, 27 2011 @ 04:41 PM
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An all round brilliant idea! The view from the top will be amazing!

Perhaps a lot of future skyscrapers will be designed around a central chimney and will use the concept to become more eco-efficient.
edit on 27/7/2011 by Fazza! because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 27 2011 @ 04:41 PM
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Originally posted by SirMike
$750 million ... I'll beleive that when I see it


All it is is a giant plastic canopy, a very tall cylinder and some turbines. I don't think $750 mill is all that unreasonable. It's not like we're talking about the LHC here or something.

There's also this little factor too:


the project will cost $750 million to construct, an effort that will create about 1,500 construction jobs.


Source



posted on Jul, 27 2011 @ 04:53 PM
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amazing prospect - and a worthwhile use for such a sum of money...

No use over here in the UK - we have nowhere hot enough - but good to see them making use of the environment around them to obtain fuel. We have a lot of wind/wave farms in the UK using the same principal of having a lot of wind and seas with strong currents...



posted on Jul, 27 2011 @ 04:57 PM
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Originally posted by alfa1
I've no doubt the technology works, I'm just doubting that company has any money.


That's precisely why I post this sort of stuff on ATS though.

People need to realize the fatcats who have the $750 million to invest in things like clean energy generally DON'T WANT TO - because all they're doing really is investing in the freedom of the little slaves who make them so rich in the first place.

We live in a plutocracy, where it's much more beneficial for "them" to keep us all hooked on oil, to keep us wasting energy, to keep us consuming and buying useless crap we don't need.

Conspiracy theorists LOVE to complain about this, but they don't seem to have the slightest concept of what needs to be done to fix it. Because if someone even mentions something like clean energy legislation, or getting the public to invest in their own freedom - it's automatically "ooooh it's a scam so teh gubbermint can take mah (non-existant) freedoms away!!"

It's a ridiculous cycle. And until more people can actually look past all the fear-induced rhetoric designed to keep them dumbed down and obedient, it's gonna stay that way unfortunately...



posted on Jul, 27 2011 @ 05:27 PM
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An update: this project is moving forward. Expected to break ground in late 2012, be operational by 2015.

Local news video here.



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