August 03, 2006

Australian 50 MW solar tower

The tower will be a 260 foot-diameter, 1,600-foot tall structure, taller than the Sears Tower, surrounded by a two-mile-diameter glazed solar collector at ground level. About 8 feet tall at the perimeter, the solar collector will gradually slope up to a height of 50 to 60 feet at the tower's base. Acting as a giant greenhouse, the solar collector will heat the air to about 100 oF (38oC) hotter than the outside air entering at the periphery, using the radiation from the sun. Acting like a chimney, the air is sucked into the tower, where it passes through a multitude of wind turbine generators clustered around the structure. The tower will cost an estimated $250 million to build, with construction expected to start in 2007 pending receiving a $75 million grant from the Australian government.

Tower of Power
With innovations like a skyscraping solar energy system, Australian entrepreneurs have taken the lead in finding fossil-fuel alternatives--and grabbed a beachhead in a huge global market.

How Australia got hot for solar power
Down under, they're all over alternative energy - starting with a 1,600-foot tall "solar tower" that can power a small city.