Smaller More Efficient Solar Energy Tower Now Able to Provide Base Load
ABC News Australia reports that planned modifications to a proposed green energy solar tower (also known as a solar chimney) in north-western Victoria might mean the tower will no longer be the world's tallest man-made structure.
The tower - to be built north of Mildura - was to have been one kilometre high, producing enough green energy to power up to 200,000 households.
Enviromission chief executive Roger Davey says two new technologies may mean the tower could be made smaller, but perform better in terms of energy production and economics.
"If it was smaller it's still going to be very, very large - it will still be one of the largest structures, it will still be a renewable energy icon, it will be one of the most high yielding renewable energy projects if we get these two technologies right," he said.
UPDATE (taken from the Enviromission website):
Initially proposed at 200MW, the original Solar Tower concept required iconic design dimensions to achieve the necessary output for commercial development. Continuous improvement of the concept during project feasibility has involved the investigation of methods to increase power station efficiency and capacity in parallel to reducing design dimensions for greater commercial feasibility.
Enhancements identified with the potential to improve the efficiency of the collector zone of a Solar Tower, if successfully adapted to the concept, will result in design changes that will facilitate the delivery of smaller scale, commercial power plants; typically ranging in size from an installed capacity of 25MW upwards.
The two stand alone, proven enhancements, proposed for adaptation to the concept will introduce the ability to dramatically improve the performance of the roof area of the collector zone and introduce a method of storing heat (previously unavailable to the concept) creating greater base load generation.
Successful adaptation of the enhancements will enable an array of power plants to be built with vastly higher output at a much lower capital cost.
“The business case is significantly strengthened where capacity and revenue is increased from a substantially reduced capital cost base” said executive chairman Roger Davey.
“These inroads now mean a Solar Tower can be designed with installed capacities ranging from 25MW to 200MW adding unprecedented flexibility for the commercial development of Solar Towers in more diverse locations.
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