Contributing Monkie G Living Staff Monkies
Published on March 28, 2010
The Solar Tower plant that was once constructed and successfully operated in Manzaneres, Spain, is now the prototype for Australian company Enviromission Limited’s Solar Tower plant. The 50 kilowatt tower in Spain, originally designed by Jorg Schlaich of Schlaich Bergermann Partners, ran from 1982 to 1989. Now Enviromission hopes to have their 200 megawatt scaled-up version running in Australia by 2008. So far, the location is thought to be Buronga in the Wentworth Shire of New South Wales.
Once built, it will be one of the world’s tallest structures. At 1,000 meters, its height alone makes the concept seem a bit surreal. But in reality, the plant has been proven to work and is based on some very simple and tangible principles: the greenhouse, the turbine and the chimney. The higher and wider the chimney, the greater the efficiency.
Able to run 24 hours a day, the hot air beneath the collector runs up through the center of the tower, up into the chimney and through the turbines that generate the electricity. The energy then feeds into a grid station that will produce enough energy to supply 200,000 homes. The selling price will be based on the average peak pool electricity price paid to generators plus an additional renewable energy credit incentive paid by retailers.
Since electricity generation is the largest source of Australia’s carbon dioxide emissions, Enviromission’s Solar Tower works perfectly with the community’s desire to increasingly derive its energy from renewable, non-emission causing sources. If the Solar Tower is given a chance to do its job, it’s said that 830,000 tons of greenhouses gases could be out of the air yearly.
Since the plant operated successfully on a smaller scale in Spain, the Australian version could be a great influence on other countries.