An Australian plan to construct the world's first large-scale solar thermal power station is taking shape at Buronga in the Wentworth Shire of New South Wales.
The first 200MW power station in the 'Solar Mission' project will produce enough electricity to power 200,000 households while reducing greenhouse CO2 emissions by as much as 750,000 tonnes.The thermal power station generates electricity when turbines are driven by heat rising from the transparent "collector" surrounding the tower.
The sun's rays provide heat to the massive collector during the day, while at night, heat-storing material positioned underneath releases its energy so that the process continues non-stop.
A prototype plant built in Spain operated for seven years between 1982 and 1989 and Australia - having high solar radiation levels, suitable sites and geological stability - is the ideal location for a large-scale, operational facility.Visit www.enviromission.com.au for further reading and video demonstration of the technology.
About the Author
Mike grew up thinking he would become a mathematician, accidentally started motorcycle racing, got a job writing road tests for a motorcycle magazine while at university, and became a writer. As a travelling photojournalist during his early career, his work was published in a dozen languages across 20+ countries. He went on to edit or manage over 50 print publications, with target audiences ranging from pensioners to plumbers, many different sports, many car and motorcycle magazines, with many more in the fields of communication - narrow subject magazines on topics such as advertising, marketing, visual communications, design, presentation and direct marketing. Then came the internet and Mike managed internet projects for Australia's largest multimedia company, Telstra.com.au (Australia's largest Telco), Seek.com.au (Australia's largest employment site), top100.com.au, hitwise.com, and a dozen other internet start-ups before founding Gizmag in 2002. Now he writes and thinks.
All articles by Mike Hanlon
Enviromission Solar Project in Australia will be the biggest Solar Tower Project in the world in the near future.
The world\'s largest solar power tower just began operating outside Seville, Spain - and it marks a historic moment in the saga of renewable energy. The solar tower produced even more power than expected over the course of its trial testing. It\'s been confirmed that the groundbreaking solar tower generates 20 megawatts of electricity: and it\'s now powering 10,000 homes with renewable energy.
The tower, built and operated by Abengoa Solar, is one of the more innovative examples of solar technology. Though there were similar solar towers there ,this project is large of its kind.
The design is based on three well-known and robust thermal principles:
1. The use of the sun's radiation to heat a large body of air (greenhouse effect lets light in, direct and diffuse, but does not let heat out);
2. Hot air rises (as through a chimney); and
3. Movement of air as energy source to drive large turbines to generate electricity (basic engine).
The reinforced concrete chimney will cover approximately one square kilometer at its base and will be surrounded by a \"greenhouse\" of glass, polycarbonate and polymer. The tower is hollow in the middle like a chimney. The sun's radiation will be collected and trapped under the transparent canopy, creating a massive force of air heated to around 35Â°C greater than the ambient temperature.
This large body of hot air moves at 15 metres per second towards the cold air at the top of the tower which is located in centre of the canopy. The heated air mass moves as a powerful updraft, forcing air through 32 large turbines to generate electricity. A solar thermal power station using Solar Tower technology will create the conditions to cause hot wind to flow continuously through its turbines to generate electricity.
Dr.A.Jagadeesh Nellore (AP), India
How is Enviromission generating so much power from such a small canopy area?
The original design as at 2006 was for a seven kilometre diameter canopy. The current proposal is given as three kilometers diameter. This is a reduction of 80%!
Also the stack height is 760 metres, as against one kilometre in the original design.
As the energy output is a function of the canopy area and stack height, something seems fishy... There has to be another source of energy.
Put a normal coal/gas/oil fired power plant near it and use the waste heat from that to preheat the air going under the canopy, increasing efficiency. Also use the CO2 produced by the power plant to feed algae biodiesel farms. Imagine all the energy that could come out of THAT system!
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