It may not be the first time in history that someone has attempted to create a completely closed system requiring no maintenance that can generate power for hundreds of thousands, but a new project designed to be built for $750 million would power these homes with little to no maintenance and using no resources other than the power of the sun. The incredible new motor could bridge the gap between science fiction and reality and could revolutionize how we perceive power in the west. But it will come at a price.
A cost by the nuclear tourist shows the difference in cost between nuclear power and coal power as being approximately $29.10 for coal power per megawatt hour and $30.00 per megawatt hour for nuclear power. By comparison the new solar updraft tower would cost $750 million and run continuously during the daytime hours for several decades cutting this cost down to a fraction of its original price if it works. Through computer models the company, Enviromission Limited has analyzed the number of megawatts expected to be generated each day by the device and found them to be just over 200 – meaning it would pay for itself quite quickly when compared to other more conventional means of power generation.
Furthermore, the device is expected to be more or less a closed system not requiring any external fuel other than the light of the sun to run it. During the night the power supply would be supplemented through the use of vast battery banks which would hold the power to keep it flowing uninterrupted to those who benefit from it. After a few decades it would eventually require rebuilding but only after providing a vast quantity of power to those around it. And while the drawbacks of global warming are sending scientists the world over into a panic, the device would actually benefit from the increase in surface temperature during the day making it run more smoothly and efficiently.
And Arizona has an extensive tax credit program, meaning the construction of this device could have great benefits to the builders of the project in time. And while we may be looking at the future of power generation, it would inevitably be an incredible feat of engineering as well. A size comparison between the device and some of the tallest buildings in the world suggest the plant itself would have to exceed many of the wildest dreams of some engineers and may outlast many of these buildings as well assuming it is built to last, and continually provide power in the mean time. But the benefits would be staggering. We could be looking the future of power generation as a science in the face with this upcoming herculean feat of engineering.
The basic principle is certainly nothing new. As hot air accumulates it rises. This rising air is pulled through turbines which turn slowly with the force of the air current above. But the updraft column itself will carry the air up and out creating a significant draft. The project is expected to change how we look at power generation and could have a significant impact for years to come.