1. Welcome Hearth.com Guests and Visitors - Please enjoy our forums!
    Hearth.com GOLD Sponsors who help bring the site content to you:
    Hearthstone Soapstone and Cast-Iron stoves( Wood, Gas or Pellet Stoves and Inserts)
    Caluwe - Passion for Fire and Water ( Pellet and Wood Hydronic and Space Heating)

A Simple enough idea to this layman. Anyone else hear about this?

Post in 'The Green Room' started by Fsappo, Jul 28, 2011.

  1. Fsappo

    Fsappo New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2008
    Messages:
    3,551
    Loc:
    Central NY

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. soupy1957

    soupy1957 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2010
    Messages:
    1,361
    Loc:
    Connecticut
    Looks do-able..........who's absorbing the start up and maintenance costs?

    -Soupy1957
  3. Fsappo

    Fsappo New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2008
    Messages:
    3,551
    Loc:
    Central NY
    I didnt notice, but considering they have a 30 contract to sell the eletricity and an 11 year payback and a projected 80 year almost maintanence free life it would seem private investors would be easy.
  4. mbcijim

    mbcijim Member

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2008
    Messages:
    419
    Loc:
    Schuylkill County, Pa
    There's been a group fighting these type things because of some endangered species turtle that's been quite successful.
  5. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    46,561
    Loc:
    South Puget Sound, WA
    I've got to head out, but if you research a little you will see that there was a successful pilot program in Spain with this design. There was supposed to be a mega one constructed in Australia, but I have not seen progress there. On a side note, my son and I made a miniature one of these for a science project several years back.
  6. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2006
    Messages:
    14,738
    Loc:
    Northern IL
    Looks pretty darn interesting to me. Either I missed it or it wasn't included in the article, but I wonder what the total foot print per tower is. Could we take 100 acres and drop 10 of these suckers on it?? Dunno, just asking questions.
  7. Delta-T

    Delta-T Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2008
    Messages:
    3,097
    Loc:
    NH
    the one in Australia is in a holding patern for the time being, and they are talking "really big"...hundreds of acres, thousands of feet tall. Having trouble raising the $200 billion or so needed to build it.
  8. fishingpol

    fishingpol Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2010
    Messages:
    2,052
    Loc:
    Merrimack Valley, MA
    It looks like it belongs on another planet or a space docking station. Almost like something you would see on a Popular Mechanics cover. I'll wait for the homeowner rooftop model if I can get it under 20 feet tall.

    You want to talk about a renewable energy source, well, here it is.
  9. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    46,561
    Loc:
    South Puget Sound, WA
    IIRC it was on Popular Science's cover at one time.
  10. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    Wow 200 meg, hard to believe it will generate enough wind to drive a gen that big, little maintenance where have I heard that before.
  11. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    46,561
    Loc:
    South Puget Sound, WA
  12. fishingpol

    fishingpol Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2010
    Messages:
    2,052
    Loc:
    Merrimack Valley, MA
    Four more years until up and running and using conventional construction methods. I imagine the will have to build a concrete plant on-site for this project. There was mention of possibly growing plants under the collector. I'd be curious how they would obtain water for them. It is a fascinating project, just plain old clean energy. Keep an eye on the plastic company stocks when they ramp up production for the collector film. I want in...
  13. btuser

    btuser Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2009
    Messages:
    2,026
    Loc:
    The island of Rhum Boogie
    I like the collector idea on the bottom. 80 years is pretty cool, but there's a pretty good chance it won't be needed past that point. 11 years maybe but I can't see it being a viable energy source in the year 2095.
  14. woodgeek

    woodgeek Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2008
    Messages:
    2,562
    Loc:
    SE PA
    It's a nice 'cover of popular science' concept, but I have a lot of skepticism. In the end it is a large collector/storage system of low grade heat. That heat can be turned to useful work at rather low thermodynamic efficiency--and the 'engine' chosen uses a design element the size of the Burq Dubai....sounds cost effective! Its claim to fame is one moving part and a projected 80 year maintenance free lifetime. Yeeah.

    Why not roof over a chunk of desert (same gain geological heat storage as this idea). extract the heat with a circulating fluid (much more effective/predictable than dusty ambient air), and convert to work with a reverse refrigeration cycle (like the old OTEC schemes) that is more efficient than the mega-tower turbine?

    Oh yeah, cuz a higher temp collector storage system has:
    --lower costs by virtue of much higher thermo eff
    --a much smaller and thus lower loss storage tank
    --a conventional steam turbine
    --a turbine that makes money at other times using natgas

    IOW, a highly optimized system that looks like the CSP systems being rolled out over the last few years!

    Sadly, the cost of thermal storage in a CSP system roughly doubles the cost per kWh, and moves the power off peak (in AC climates) so is a no go economically. Moreover, the conventional wisdom is that solar conc thermal power is more exp than PV on a real-time kWh basis--several CSP projects that were funded have recently switched to a PV architecture during the planning stage.

    This thing is boondoggle--I would like it better if they had made the tower prettier, and added an observation deck.
  15. Fsappo

    Fsappo New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2008
    Messages:
    3,551
    Loc:
    Central NY
    Because we'll all be dead?
  16. Delta-T

    Delta-T Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2008
    Messages:
    3,097
    Loc:
    NH
    no, because by then we'll actually have dylithium crystals and "turbines" of all kinds will be relegated to museums and "in the olden days" stories. Like a hand pump well, cute, quaint, and all but gone.
  17. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 20, 2008
    Messages:
    6,400
    Loc:
    S.NH- Mass's smoking section
    In the sciences we refer to this as "Power Point Engineering"
  18. jimbom

    jimbom Combustion Analyzer

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2010
    Messages:
    1,022
    Loc:
    Missouri Ozarks
    :lol:

    That is great. This project looks designed to produce revenue from government grants. When government grants run out, the company may also.
  19. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    46,561
    Loc:
    South Puget Sound, WA
    The solar updraft technology can and does work as was proven by the pilot project in Manzanares, Spain. There is a new system that has come online in Mongolia in 2010. Large scale systems do not use a single turbine, they use multiple ones to achieve a higher output. Without pumps or special themal fluids and their storage, this is a much simpler system to operate and maintain. Thermal storage in sand has proven enough to drive the turbines at night.

    http://www.gov.cn/english/2010-12/28/content_1773883.htm
  20. woodgeek

    woodgeek Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2008
    Messages:
    2,562
    Loc:
    SE PA
    Fascinating. The mongolian plan covers 2.7 million square meters, with a stated power output of 27 megawatts, corresponding to an eff of <1.5% or so! The projected project cost is $200 Million, or >$7/watt, not very impressive for equipment and construction costs in a chinese rural area. The stated power for the prototype corresponds to 2000 hrs/year of full power production, or 25% duty cycle. This is the same as a flat plate with perfectly clear skies, so the effect of storage is apparently pretty small. In the US, the low eff would make the land use costs and enviro impacts unacceptable.

    The low eff is presumably because of thermodynamic limitations on the low quality heat, and the high degree of thermal leakage through the flat plate glazing.
    I also remain skeptical that turbines sitting in a high temperature dusty airstream will be maintenance free, compared to a PV array. And then there is the issue of keeping 2.7 km^2 of horizontal glass clean during the dust storms that frequent the Gobi desert!

Share This Page