Friday, December 11, 2009

Renewable Energy using Hot Air!

Renewable Energy using Hot Air!
[not involving politicians]

The U.S. needs more energy as well as a need for more jobs. Combining these areas with an alternate, renewable energy producer may be of interest to someone.

To improve the U.S.’s energy position, and provide jobs in the “green” sector, I would like to bring to your attention to the concept of the Solar Updraft Tower, .
Isidoro Cabanyes first proposed the concept of a solar chimney in 1903 in the magazine “Electrical Energy.”
In 1982 an experimental tower was built in Manzanares, Spain, about 150 km/95 miles south of Madrid.  While intended to only operate for approximately 3 years, it did in fact produce up to 50kW until 1989.
Unlike a lot of experimental technology, this one has produced power and as predicted.  The research data is available for study and advancement.  A summary of the results of the experimental tower is in “The Solar Chimney: Electricity from the Sun” by Jorg Schlaig. This paper suggests some quite interesting variations on how to develop and use the concept.

My suggestion is that the U.S. explore making use of this off-the-shelf technology to produce power for the U.S.’s energy users.  I’m not unaware that the initial tower[s] will be part experimental, as well as part of the energy grid of the US. 
As with all such projects, the capital costs for such projects will most likely be high, though the upkeep and maintenance of the Solar Updraft Towers will be quite low.  A 5MW tower would cost in the neighborhood of 60 Million dollars , less than the cost of a comparable coal-fired plant, and far more "green." It would produce power at the cost of about 5¢ per kWh.

My suggestion to increase the incentive to build such a project, would be to allow a company to write off the capital expenses in, say 5 years, using accelerated depreciation.  This assumes the Solar Updraft Tower would be built to last & produce power for at least 40 years.  
Where to put the towers?  I would suggest the desert areas of the US southwest.  The project would consist of a series of towers.  Each succeeding tower would initiate construction about 3 years after ground is broken for the
previous tower.  Each new tower would build on and incorporate new technologies and materials as well as adapting to any challenges appearing during construction and operation of the previous towers.  Using knowledge gained,
each succeeding tower would be larger than the previous: 5 MW, 30 MW, 100 MW and 200 MW.  Larger towers are possible as well. 

In 25 years since the Spanish tower was built and operated, not only have wind turbines improved, but so have the materials needed to build a Solar Updraft Tower.  They will continue to improve over the coming years.

So why isn’t anything being done?
Thank you for hearing me out.

Yours sincerely, 
Mr. jan howard finder
164 Williamsburg Court
Albany, NY 12203-5506, USA
jan "dot" finder  "at"  gmail "dot" com

1 comment:

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