Solar Tower in Arizona to power 150000 homes for 80 years

first_imgWe live in a world where energy consumption continues to escalate while our natural resources diminish. In order to meet our current and future energy demands a switch needs to be made so as to rely more on renewable energy than non-renewable.The main forms of renewable energy we use today are solar, wind, and hydro power. Each has its place, and all keep improving, but only solar looks like it may eventually offer a decent solution to providing enough energy to power our homes.AdChoices广告Saying that though, solar panels are far from efficient, and still remain a daytime-only energy producer. However, there is another solar energy generator that is about to be built in the Arizona desert, and it will produce renewable energy at a far higher rate than any solar panel currently can.This new solar energy generator is called a Solar Tower. It has been created by EnviroMission and doesn’t actually convert the sun’s rays into an energy source like a solar panels do. Instead, the Solar Tower relies on hot air to produce power.As you can see from the images and videos included here, the solar tower is a massive structure that is more than twice the height of the Empire State Building. Underneath the tower, and fanning out in a circle is a massive greenhouse covered by glass panels. When the sun hits the glass it heats up the air underneath to as high as 90 degrees Celsius. The tower is so tall because it’s the temperature differential that sucks the hot air out of the greenhouse below. Every 100 meters you go up the temperature will drop one degree, so a very tall tower means the air will be sucked out with a lot of force because the differential is greater. As that happens the hot air is forced through 32 generators which produce power.There are several benefits to this method of clean energy generation. The 2,625ft tower is capable of producing 200 megawatts at peak production and is expected to power 150,000 homes. At the same time it is a completely clean system producing no waste other than hot air and can work in most weather conditions. This first tower is also being built on desert land that would otherwise remain unused. As for cost, the build has a price tag of $750 million, but it will pay that back in 11 years by selling the energy produced. The tower has a lifespan of around 80 years making it ultimately very profitable for investors.Because the system relies on hot air to function, when the sun goes down the tower does not stop producing energy. That only happens when the air in the greenhouse drops below a certain temperature and the differential isn’t big enough, so production could continue for a few hours after sunset. Efficiency wise, EnviroMission states it’s around 60%.One final benefit of the tower is its ability to support the growth of food. As you are effectively creating a giant greenhouse it’s quite possible to use the area below as you would any greenhouse, although we’re not sure what plants and vegetables grow in 90 degree heat.The first Solar Tower in Arizona is set to come online in 2015. It should be producing completely clean energy until at least 2095 at which point I’d hope we have a planet relying completely on renewable energy.Read more at Gizmag and EnviroMissionlast_img

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