It’s a fact that around 20% of global final energy consumption comes from renewable sources with more than 10% of all energy from traditional biomass, being used for heating.

At national level, at least 30 countries already have renewable energy contributing more than 20% of energy supply. Furthermore, national renewable energy markets are projected to continue to grow strongly in the coming decade and beyond.

Now, plans are afoot for a giant Solar Wind Downdraft Tower to be built in the Arizona Desert. Experts reckon that, once built, the 685m tower will have a power output equivalent of wind turbines spread over 10,000 acres or as big as the Hoover Dam!

Planning permission to build the giant tower has already been granted with the Maryland-based Solar Wind Energy having gained approval from the City Council of San Luis to build the tower on 600 acres of land within the city.

It also announced the start of negotiations to license its technology to companies in Africa which would give them the rights to build the downdraft towers in Namibia and Botswana.

Construction of the first solar wing downdraft tower will start later this year and be complete by 2018.

The business plan is to efficiently extract the maximum energy generated by the captured wind, with the least loss of power while compensating for the normal differentials in atmospheric conditions.

How will the tower work?

The towers, which could be grouped together like wind farms, will work by creating wind that travels down the inside of the tower at speeds of up to 70mph. The downdraft will hit a base that’s shaped like an upside-down funnel at the bottom. This diverts the wind through 25 tunnels with turbines in them.

The downdraft is created by delivering a fine mist of water via a lattice injection system at the top of the tower that evaporates and cools hot air. This makes the air inside the tower denser and heavier than the warmer air outside, causing it to fall at an increasing rate.

The water is recaptured at the bottom of the tower and is pumped back to the top for use in the injection system.

Six Facts about the Solar Wind Downdraft Tower

  1. At 2,250 feet, it would be taller than New York’s Freedom Tower (1,776 feet)
  2. The Tower will be 1,000 feet higher than the Empire State Building.
  3. The Tower will be double the height of the Eiffel Tower.
  4. The Tower would have 120 huge turbines at its base.
  5. It will have enough pumping capacity to keep more than 2.5 billion gallons of water circulating.
  6. The first Tower is expected take two-and-a-half years to build, with concrete being poured at a rate of 9ft every other day.

For more information visit the solar wind energy tower website.

Do you think renewable energy projects like this are the solution to some of our energy problems? Why not share your views in the comments box?

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