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   Undertoad  Saturday Jan 4 01:29 PM

1/4/2003: New world's highest structure?



They want to build this thing in the Aussie desert, and if they do, it will be twice as high as the highest buildings in the world. They want to make it 1000 meters.

It's a solar tower. The round area at the base is massive and operates as a greenhouse-type thing: all it does is heat the air under the canopy of plastic panes. The air there will become hot - if it's 35 degrees C outside, it'll be 70 degrees C under the canopy.

The hot air will then seek to float up the tower, because it's cool at the top. The wind created by that air will be so strong that it will spin turbines at the base of the tower and generate 200MW of electricity. And because there's so much air movement, it'll generate that power 24 hours a day, unlike other solar methods.

Is it a good idea? I dunno. I have questions. What happens when all that desert heat is released a half mile into the sky? And isn't everything under the canopy basically dead? And isn't everything around the canopy basically endangered, since there will be a constant sucking wind moving towards the canopy?

This thing will generate roughly 1/50th of all the clean power Aus must generate under its Kyoto plans. Is that enough to justify all the upset it causes?

They want it to generate tourism, too. We shall see...



slang  Saturday Jan 4 01:47 PM

Very interesting concept and photo.

I'd be interested in some more details. It doesnt seem it would be cost effective. Not including the cost of the actual tower , the canopy would appear to cover (?) 2.25 sq miles. Thats a lot of canopy thats high temp resistent, scatchproof clear, etc,etc.

On the other hand, I wouldnt be directly funding this experiment with tax money (or are we giving them some grant or something?). More power to them.

The engineers and designers know the design criteria and I obviously dont. It would seem more practical to use the canopy for some type of photoelectric cells though.




Undertoad  Saturday Jan 4 02:05 PM

I was wrong on the amount of power it will generate towards the national Kyoto goals.

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmp...ower_col&ncid=

The story says " It will generate about 650 gigawatt hours (GWh) a year toward Australia's mandated renewable energy target, which requires electricity retailers to supply 9,500 GWh of renewable energy a year by 2010."

So not 1/50th of the power, more like 1/15th of the power they want to go towards Kyoto.

If one gets the land for free perhaps it is cost-effective.



Nothing But Net  Saturday Jan 4 02:07 PM

Whatever.

But it would make an killer place to fly a sailplane or hang-glider.



slang  Saturday Jan 4 02:14 PM

Quote:
Originally posted by Undertoad
If one gets the land for free perhaps it is cost-effective.
The revised production numbers along with the cheap/free desert land make it sound more reasonable.

I wonder if the canopy could provide some type of plantlife an environment to thrive in without altering the optimum conditions for the tower. That would be impressive.

They could grow poppys or hemp to suppliment the power biz

(slang leaves the forum, stops talking out of his ass)


Griff  Saturday Jan 4 03:05 PM

A sci-fi novel I read a while back (maybe Vernor Vinge?) had a similar device except it was much taller and was driven by temperature differential between the ground and the atmosphere so it didn't need that dead zone around it... as long as we're wearing asshats here.



Beletseri  Saturday Jan 4 08:40 PM

Kyoto

Some one told me that Aus didn't sign the Kyoto agreement. Anyone know for sure?



kermitdp  Saturday Jan 4 09:17 PM

hot air rises

Now wouldn't it be interesting if this aus solar wind tunnel could launch, say a shuttle?



jaguar  Sunday Jan 5 04:50 AM

There are country towns that are *giving away* blocks of land to try and get people to live there, this far out the land is cheaper than a can of bean an acre.



dave  Monday Jan 6 06:33 AM

Man. When did Australia switch to the Can Of Beans (COB) currency?



Griff  Monday Jan 6 08:13 AM

beans neither magical nor fruit

Sounds like a legit means of exchange mmmmmm...beans. Mrs made Mexican lasagne Sat very active intestinal response.



elSicomoro  Monday Jan 6 09:06 PM

*rofl* TMPI



Bitman  Tuesday Jan 7 12:46 AM

I'd love to go 'chuting in that thing. And if the air speed is too high, just use it to launch 'chuters into the sky. Fwoomp! Angle it over a little, and it'd become a quick way to get into the city. You'd have to take the bus back, but that's okay, cuz you wouldn't wanna be launching your groceries cross country.

I'm curious if it has any real effect on the weather -- It'll concentrate the heat in one spot, but will it increase the amount of heat the planet absorbs?



dasviper  Tuesday Jan 7 10:19 AM

Quote:
Originally posted by Bitman
I'd love to go 'chuting in that thing. And if the air speed is too high, just use it to launch 'chuters into the sky. Fwoomp! Angle it over a little, and it'd become a quick way to get into the city. You'd have to take the bus back, but that's okay, cuz you wouldn't wanna be launching your groceries cross country.

I'm curious if it has any real effect on the weather -- It'll concentrate the heat in one spot, but will it increase the amount of heat the planet absorbs?
Dude, don't you remember Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory? Think of the turbines!!!


Unknown_Poltroon  Tuesday Jan 7 01:30 PM

Shouldnt it have a net cooling effect?

Youre taking the solar radaiton, converting it to heat, and then converting heat to kenetic energy, which you are than drawing away as electricity. It should cool the local area, and heat wherever the power is going to. I wonder if they can trap some of the moisture(if any) coming in on the wind and retain it. THis could be interesting. And if building 15-20 of them would provide the whole continents power, i say go for it.

COuld the same thing be done over the ocean, possibly to a smaller scale? THis could be a way to dissapate hot water before it can turn into hurricanes, as a thought.



russotto  Tuesday Jan 7 01:37 PM

Re: Shouldnt it have a net cooling effect?

It won't cool the local area, it will heat it; you're missing the point that it will increase the amount of solar radiation absorbed and converted to heat.



And  Tuesday Jan 7 04:16 PM

It sounds like a fantastic idea to me. It seems that there could be more than a couple uses for such a structure, other than just power generation and condensation collection of water. Of course, an obvious appilcation would be to top the thing with as many microwave towers as possible... bleh. But even after the airflow hits the turbine fans, there would still be a strong wind.

As to photovoltaic cells, it might seem like a good idea, but they are rather expensive per square foot. In order for them to work, they'd probably have to be

Of course, you'd have to give it a perimeter fencing to keep animals and base jumpers away from it...



Akhasha  Saturday Jan 11 07:03 PM

To the tower!

Australia did sign the Kyoto agreement, but the government was shamefully a leader of the dissent that succeeded in weakening the agreement.
While the tower does create a 'dead zone' underneath it, there was not much there in the first place - this is desert we are talking about and its one thing Australia has a lot of.
It would not be more cost effective to use the area for photoelectric cells, which are expensive and polluting to make, capture 20% of the energy (if you're lucky) and degrade significantly in a decade. The glass or UV hardened transparent plastic that acts as the primary collectors of heat will degrade much more slowly than that.
The beauty of the design is its simplicity. It combines greenhouse and chimney effects with the atmospheric temperature gradient, and the only moving parts are the turbines (also probably shutters to divert the airflow when the turbines need maintenance).
Sure the atmospheric impact in that region will be a topic of research, but I bet its a lot friendlier than mining for coal, oil or uranium, transporting the fuel to a generator and then reacting the stuff to make steam.
Even a 50m black tower with a greenhouse at the bottom might produce significant power for a farm house.



Bitman  Monday Jan 13 07:04 PM

So how's this compare to a solar-powered steam turbine? The last time I heard about tower power, it consisted of an array of mirrors on the ground pointing to a boiler on the top of the tower. Wouldn't that be more efficient?



chrisinhouston  Wednesday Jan 15 09:08 AM

http://www.westernpower.com.au/html/...#albanygallery

Has some nice pics of an Australian wind farm being constructed. They are also working on a program to produce energy from large tidal shifts in the ocean.



Akhasha  Wednesday Jan 15 04:24 PM

Those wind generator pictures are impressive, though quite a number of potential sites (and some actual ones) have locals protesting the construction, mainly because they say it ruins their view and devalues their land. I'd still rather that than a shiny new coal fired generator.
Then there is wave power, and an Australian innovation is to combine a parabolic collector to focus wavefronts from various directions into a point, above which a tapering funnel is situated that leads to a 2 way air turbine.
http://www.energetech.com.au/



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