Jul 22 2012

Energy Towers

Published by under Student blog entries


Design for a Downdraft Tower

Clean Wind Energy is a new company that specializes in the design and construction of Downdraft Towers.  These towers are designed to be a source of renewable energy that provides its own power, as well as excess for the rest of the power grid while leaving little negative environmental impact.  To operate, water is sprayed as mist over the entire top of the cylindrical building.  The water evaporates and cools the warmer air at the top.  Since the air is now cooler and heavier than the outside air, it quickly falls at speeds from 5o to 100 miles an hour.  The descending air spins turbines at the base of the building which then generates electricity.  In addition, the exterior of the building is made with vertical wind vanes which catch external winds and convert them to electricity as well.  The company website claims that the tower has “virtually no carbon footprint, fuel consumption, or waste production”.  While no towers have been constructed yet, the company has plans to construct the first two near Yuma, Arizona in the near future.  They believe a single tower alone will have a potential hourly yield of between 1,110 and 1,500 power watt hours that will be available for sale to the power grid in addition to its own energy for operation.

Solar Updraft Tower Manzanares Spain

The first small-scale updraft tower in Manzanares, Spain ©2011 Widakora

A second kind of tower, called a solar updraft tower, is being designed by a company called EnviroMission.  This tower is very similar to a Downdraft Tower, but goes through the process in reverse.  The sun heats the air in a greenhouse-like area at the base of a tall, narrow tower like a chimney.  This hot air then rises up the chimney and turns turbines which generate electricity.  The first of these towers was built on a small scale in Manzanares, Spain in 1982.  It operated for eight years until its guy-wires rusted and broke during a storm, causing the tower to fall over.  It was not rebuilt.  A second tower was built in December 2010 in Jinshawan, China.  The tower produces 200 kilowatts of electric power.  Developers are constantly trying to make improvements on the tower to make it more efficient and productive.  Several other towers of this kind have been proposed for construction around the world.











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