• Document: Design of Commercial Solar Updraft Tower Systems Utilization of Solar Induced Convective Flows for Power Generation
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Design of Commercial Solar Updraft Tower Systems— Jörg Schlaich Utilization of Solar Induced Rudolf Bergermann Wolfgang Schiel Convective Flows for Power Gerhard Weinrebe Generation e-mail: g.weinrebe@sbp.de A solar updraft tower power plant—sometimes also called ‘‘solar chimney’’ or just ‘‘solar Schlaich Bergermann Solar, tower’’—is a solar thermal power plant utilizing a combination of solar air collector and Hohenzollernstr 1, 70178 Stuttgart, Germany central updraft tube to generate a solar induced convective flow which drives pressure staged turbines to generate electricity. The paper presents theory, practical experience, and economy of solar updraft towers: First a simplified theory of the solar tower is described. Then results from designing, building and operating a small scale prototype in Spain are presented. Eventually technical issues and basic economic data for future commercial solar tower systems like the one being planned for Australia are discussed. 关DOI: 10.1115/1.1823493兴 Introduction get 共MRET兲, requires the sourcing of 9500 gigawatt hours of extra renewable electricity per year by 2010 through to 2020 共http:// Sensible technology for the wide use of renewable energy must www.mretreview.gov.au兲. be simple and reliable, accessible to the technologically less de- In the paper an overview is given over solar updraft tower veloped countries that are sunny and often have limited raw ma- theory, practical experience with a prototype, and economies of terials resources. It should not need cooling water and it should be large scale solar updraft tower power plants. based on environmentally sound production from renewable or recyclable materials. The solar tower meets these conditions. Economic appraisals Functional Principle based on experience and knowledge gathered so far have shown The solar tower’s principle is shown in Fig. 1: Air is heated by that large scale solar towers 共⭓100 MW兲 are capable of generat- solar radiation under a low circular transparent or translucent roof ing electricity at costs comparable to those of conventional power open at the periphery; the roof and the natural ground below it plants 关1兴. This is reason enough to further develop this form of form a solar air collector. In the middle of the roof is a vertical solar energy utilization, up to large, economically viable units. In tower with large air inlets at its base. The joint between the roof a future energy economy, solar towers could thus help assure the and the tower base is airtight. As hot air is lighter than cold air it economic and environmentally benign provision of electricity in rises up the tower. Suction from the tower then draws in more hot sunny regions. air from the collector, and cold air comes in from the outer pe- The solar updraft tower’s three essential elements—solar air rimeter. Continuous 24 hour operation can be achieved by placing collector, chimney/tower, and wind turbines—have been familiar tight water-filled tubes or bags under the roof. The water heats up for centuries. Their combination to generate electricity has already during day-time and releases its heat at night. These tubes are been described in 1931 关2兴. Haaf 关3,4兴 gives test results and a filled only once; no further water is needed. Thus solar radiation theoretical description of the solar tower prototype in Manzanares, causes a constant updraft in the tower. The energy contained in the Spain. Transferability of the results obtained in Manzanares is

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