Site Agreed for Australian Solar Tower, Plans for Solar Tower in China
The firm behind the plan to build a power-generating solar tower (also described as a solar chimney) - touted as the world's tallest structure - in Outback New South Wales is to sign an agreement to buy the site.
Melbourne-based Enviromission will buy a 10,000ha slice of Tapio station at Buronga, 25km northeast of Mildura, to build the 1km tower.
Enviromission chairman Roger Davey confirm the purchase price was in excess of a million dollars (USD). The agreement will be signed in Mildura, about 350 miles northwest of Melbourne, before an audience of community leaders.
"It confirms our commitment to the site and the Sunraysia region for the first solar tower."
The mammoth project, worth hundreds of millions of dollars, will be built by the end of 2009.
The reinforced concrete tower will cover approximately one square kilometres at its base and will be surrounded by a "greenhouse" of glass, polycarbonate and polymer. Air at 30C at the edge of the glasshouse is heated up to 70C at the centre, where the tower draws it through 32 turbines to the cooler air above.
The power station will produce up to 200 megawatts of electricity and can generate 24 hours a day.
EnviroMission and SBP estimate the cost of their first 200-megawatt solar thermal tower at $670m, and say the cost of subsequent towers would fall. An engineering infrastructure, materials manufacturing plants and trained workforce would be in place and the design and construction would have been refined.
The initial cost is comparable with the $600m cost of building a new 200MW brown-coal power station and a drying plant for the coal, which is nearly 70% water by weight. A 200MW black-coal power station in Queensland would cost $440m. These prices ignore the unknown environmental and health costs of greenhouse gas, sulphur and particulate emissions from coal-fired power stations.
Each solar tower would abate between 920,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions annually from fossil fuels. Solar towers would help lessen Victoria's heavy dependence on brown coal-sourced electricity.
Enviromission floated on the Australian Stock Exchange in 2001. Its major investor is the owner of the solar tower technology, US company SolarMission Technologies.
Enviromission has the exclusive Australian rights to the technology, first developed on a much smaller scale in Spain in the early 1980s, using a German design.
There are also plans to invest a further US$8 million for development of a solar tower in China.
Enviromission will be a part owner of a global intellectual property company that will benefit from solar towers built around the world, Davey said.
The pre-feasibility study was completed successfully in February last year.
actual photographs (as far as I can tell) of the demonstration project in Manzares, Spain:
Solar Tower Spain
Inside the Spanish Solar Tower
Solar Tower Turbine in operation
February 2005 Wired Article on Australian Solar Tower
Solar Chimney in California?
Solar Mission Website