Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Solar Chimney Power Plant

The idea of producing electricity from sunlight isn't new.  Typically most people think about photo-voltaic cells when thinking about solar power, but I like this idea much better: a solar updraft chimney power plant.  Less rare elements, simple, proven technology just applied in a new configuration.

The concept is that you create a greenhouse area under glass that contains air that is heated by the sun.  Heated air likes to rise, so with a sloped roof and a tall chimney, the air is directed into central turbines that the flowing air turn to create electricity.  Very few moving parts.  Very low operating costs.  No fuel costs.

The biggest problems with this type of a power plant are the initial costs to build it, needing a large area of land to house it and finding the right location.  None of these are insurmountable issues if there are people who look to the future.

Here is a clean form of electricity production that doesn't created harmful emissions, it doesn't involve hazardous chemicals or rare elements in its manufacture and it had a lifespan of many decades.  These would ideally be placed in areas that are underdeveloped to take advantage of the abundant sunshine.  They could become tourist destinations as well.

Some critics have voiced the objection that these plants are unreliable - only producing electricity during daylight hours, but this is not true.  Because the plant works off the difference in temperature of the air underneath the greenhouse and the outside air, a thermal layer of encapsulated water on the floor of the greenhouse would provide 24 hour energy production.

Why aren't we building these today?????

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