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Solar / Wind Energy Tower, San Luis

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YoutubeChannel:Jackedi07
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Big, Tall, Sustainable: Solar Wind Downdraft Tower Planned for Arizona




Annapolis-based Solar Wind Energy Tower Inc. has received approval for a US$1.5 billion project that would result in the tallest structure in North America. The proposal calls for a 686-meter (2,250-foot) :cheers: tower in San Luis, Arizona that would use ambient desert heat to create a draft to generate electricity.

The site, 32 kilometers (20 miles) southwest of Yuma, was chosen after several years of analyzing multiple sites in the Southwest with software developed by the company that can accurately calculate and predict energy production. The program used local weather data to determine the tower dimensions and financial performance, resulting in the San Luis location being chosen for the project.

The city of San Luis has approved the project, agreeing to extend the necessary rights of way and provide water. The tower works by misting water at the top of the tower, causing the air to cool and gain density. The draft created by the air sinking through the tower would be forced through a ring of turbines at the tower’s base, generating electricity. The structure, which resembles a nuclear plant cooling tower, would be capable of generating energy at an average rate of 435 megawatt-hours over the course of a year. July and August, as the hottest and driest months, could see a peak rate of 1,200 megawatt-hours.

http://www.ctbuh.org/News/GlobalTallNews/tabid/4810/Article/1548/language/en-US/view.aspx#!
 

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Urban Hermit
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Does anyone know if downdraft towers are more or less efficient than updraft towers (the ones that are surrounded by a huge greenhouse and the hot air is going up the tower, moving the turbines in much the same way as this tower)? The latter were proposed in numerous locations and none were ever built. I don't know if 1.5 billion for 435MW is really cost-efficient, either...
 

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whitest boy in the delta
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i love these, finally another proposal like that :cheers:

on our flipboard we also had this article, which made me think to reopen the old thread, but the news you have are far more accurate and a new thread is better since it seems to be a different project, just the same concept.
 

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Urban Hermit
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No, not the same concept. The previous proposals were updraft towers, which work differently. Hence my question above.
 

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whitest boy in the delta
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oh right, they had solar panes at the bottom instead of these turbines
 

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Urban Hermit
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Actually solar updraft towers have turbines, too. I am referring to the proposals made by a company called Enviromission or something, in Arizona, Australia, and Namibia I think. They have a huge greenhouse in which air is heated, which is then blown up a huge tower into the cold air in the upper atmosphere, and turbines generate energy from the massive winds that creates.

There's another type of solar tower which is far older and exists already, mainly in spain, where there's a water boiler thing on top of a tower, that is heated by an array of mirrors, but I don't think the old thread had any of those.
 

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whitest boy in the delta
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Well, currently the most powerful wind turbines, 8MW Vestas V164 cost around $10 million a piece. You'd need 54 of them to get 435 MW output and that would be around $543 million, a third of the cost of that monster. Obviously a single powerplant like this would be way more reliable than bunch of wind turbines but still the pricetag doesn't look too convincing for those in power who could put money on it.

But regardless, such megatall monster would be something truly breathe taking if build :cheers:
 

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Keeping in mind wind turbines are way cheaper, They won't ;)

If that wasn't clear enough I was comparing building 54 stand alone wind turbines to building this monster.
 

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whitest boy in the delta
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^^
the height is still significant enough i think. after all it is a free standing structure over 600m.
 

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Get Silly!
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What a hideous monstrosity! It looks like a nuclear reactor tower, only ten times as large. It is extremely unlikely that they would build this anyway, though.
 

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Well, currently the most powerful wind turbines, 8MW Vestas V164 cost around $10 million a piece. You'd need 54 of them to get 435 MW output and that would be around $543 million, a third of the cost of that monster. Obviously a single powerplant like this would be way more reliable than bunch of wind turbines but still the pricetag doesn't look too convincing for those in power who could put money on it.

But regardless, such megatall monster would be something truly breathe taking if build :cheers:
Actually, you would need 3 times as many of those Vesta V164. Wind turbines average out over time to, at best, 1/3rd of their rated maximum output, and that is in the most ideal windiest locations. Much of the time the wind isn't blowing anywhere near fast enough for that 8MW output. So overall, if they can actually build this tower at that price, it would be competitive with the cost of a comparable wind farm.
 

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Provided that they both work equally well, I don't see what advantage this has over the solar updraft tower. This thing consumes water, which has to be pumped almost 700 metres up - which requires a pretty huge amount of energy (it's basically a high-pressure hydroelectric plant in reverse). Besides, a lot of the infrastructure would be at the top, meaning that regular maintenance would involve a trip up the tower. In comparison, a solar updraft tower has all its machinery at ground level, the tower basically being a huge chimney. You'd only need to travel up there to replace bulbs in the aircraft warning lights, all the fancy parts will be reachable by semitrailer if need be. As a bonus, the greenhouse at the bottom could be used to farm stuff.
 

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Just some Vesta V164 power output to wind speed numbers for you. 8MW @ 46.8kph; 5.5MW @ 36kph; 2MW @ 26kph

Some offshore locations this Vesta turbine is intended for may beat the 1/3rd of maximum rated power output, but generally the most ideal land locations for wind turbines range between 1/4th to 1/3rd.
 
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