The Solar Tower Power Plant is gaining attention

The Solar Tower Power Plant is gaining attention

Technology News |
By Wisse Hettinga

Cette publication existe aussi en Français

The usage of fossil fuels for energy has resulted in an increase in Greenhouse Gases (GHG) emissions on a daily basis, causing climate change and air pollution

To help reduce GHG emissions and alleviate the impact of climate change, the world is shifting towards alternative resources such as sustainable, renewable, and clean energy. Taking water scarcity into consideration, many of these clean energy resources require considerable amounts of water. Hence, adding more burden to the scarce water resources. Furthermore, due to the competitive price of solar (PV), it is being increasingly deployed and implemented.

But there are alternative solar systems to solar PV. In the past few years, the Solar Tower Power Plant (STPP) has gained increasing attention thanks to its economical production costs and straightforward design as suggested by Zhou et la.,  and Dhahri and Omri during the review of this concept. The preliminary results reported on the productivity of the STPP were in most cases based on Mathematical Modeling.

The first STPP prototype was successfully constructed in the year 1982, in Spain. The prototype consisted of a base-collector, a tower, and a mechanical turbine which is located at the tower’s base. The base and collector will warm the air inside by absorbing and passing solar radiation. Eventually, the heated air will reach and accumulate at the tower’s entrance. As a result, density differences create a pressure difference in the tower. Hence, the warm air flows up the tower, rotating the turbine blades and generating mechanical energy.

The STPP models are being studied and sought to be developed and enhanced, and there have been many proposals since the first Spanish model. Yet, different challenges lie ahead of STPP’s practical implementation, as its thermal efficiency is low, it requires a large land, and it can cost a lot. A distill water basin can be added to the base to produce electricity and water. The system required a comprehensive heat transfer and airflow modelling analysis to enhance the output power and the efficiency; published results showed that cylindrical chimney and optimized heat transfer and airflow modelling analysis is best was to enhance productivity and efficiency.

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