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Posted: 1/4/2003 11:21:14 AM EDT
Tallest tower in the world planned for the Outback
By Paul Peachey
04 January 2003

A power company plans to build a 1,000m-high (3,280ft) solar tower in the outback of Australia that would dwarf the world's tallest structures. The tower, as wide as a football pitch and set in the centre of a glass dish 4 miles across, would cost A$1bn (£350m) to build as part of a global drive to use more renewable energy.

If completed as planned in 2006, the tower in New South Wales would be more than twice the height of the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, which stand at 452m. Currently, the tallest free-standing structure is the Canadian National Tower in Toronto, at 553m.

The project is backed by the government. The company behind it, EnviroMission, hopes the 200MW solar tower will provide enough power to supply 200,000 homes a year.

The sun heats air under the glass and as the hot air rises an updraft is created in the tower that allows air to be sucked through 32 turbines, which generate power. Roger Davey, chief executive officer of EnviroMission, said: "Initially people told me 'you're a dreamer'. But now we have got to the point where it's not if it can be built, but when."
View Quote

OK, let me think about this.
1 billion dollar price tag, and it powers only 200,000 homes a year?

Am I missing something here? Did I read this wrong cause this looks like a big waste of money other then the fact it's a step in the right direction.

Link Posted: 1/4/2003 11:46:40 AM EDT
The Wright Flyer only flew about 100 feet on its first flight.  Now we go to other planets. Granted, solar energy development is past the "Wright Flyer" stage, but I think the analogy still is relevant.  

Plus the initial cost of the tower would be offset by the fact that the fuel (sunlight) is pretty cheap.  Not to mention that the outback has a lot of it too.

If there is another 1970's oil embargo in the cards, those folks just might be the last ones laughing.
Link Posted: 1/4/2003 1:07:08 PM EDT
NASA is also in this project, though from a distance.

NASA is interested in the building of super tall structures now as part of figuring out wether its fesable to construct a space elevator to lift cargos into orbit.
Link Posted: 1/4/2003 1:19:12 PM EDT
They'll be laughing until they start getting cloudy days.

They could build a nuclear plant for the same cost that would supply 5 times the number of homes with a far smaller environmental footprint.
Link Posted: 1/4/2003 1:35:53 PM EDT
It thought it was sheep farts.[img]http://www.stopstart.fsnet.co.uk/smilie/sheep.gif[/img][img]http://www.stopstart.fsnet.co.uk/smilie/fart.gif[/img]
Link Posted: 1/4/2003 1:44:47 PM EDT

OK, let me think about this.
1 billion dollar price tag, and it powers only 200,000 homes a year?
View Quote

That's only $5,000 per home.  Over how many years?  It wouldn't take many to be cost effective.  Maintenance should be low.
Link Posted: 1/4/2003 1:51:03 PM EDT
Step in the right direction. Solar, wind, water, we should be working to harness this stuff more than we do.

Let's say it costs you $1,000/yr. for heating oil and $1,000/yr. for electric bills. You will have those bills for as long as you own a home. What if you spent $10-20k on solar/wind/water systems (depending on where you live) instead of relying on the grid and heating oil?

If you spent 20k it would pay for itself in 10 years. How long do you expect to live in a house? 50 years? That equals about 40 years of no or extremely low cost energy for your house.

If my wife and I build our next home, we will look into it.

Edited to add: The electricity/heating oil costs are today's prices, too. Who knows what the prices will be in 10, 20, or 40 years. What's the wind cost now? What will it cost in 40 years? Zippo.
Link Posted: 1/4/2003 2:11:29 PM EDT
I thought they had finally found a way to extract power from Liberals. We could sure use something like that over here.

Seriously, it's an interesting idea, but I wonder what maintenance will cost? What's the design life of this thing? And what will they do on cloudy days, and at night? If they want to use batteries to store the energy, that's a huge expense, and the batteries probably wouldn't last more then a year or two.
Link Posted: 1/4/2003 5:08:28 PM EDT
It thought it was sheep farts.[url]http://www.stopstart.fsnet.co.uk/smilie/sheep.gif[/url][url]http://www.stopstart.fsnet.co.uk/smilie/fart.gif[/url]
View Quote

hehehe When I saw the thread title I thought "Koala poop?"
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