As Motherboard Germany quite rightly points out, wind and solar energy only provide us with power as nature allows. This limitation, however could soon be overcome by solar-wind hybrid towers, which are currently being developed by  Solar Wind Energy, based in Maryland. The company has now received the necessary startup capital for the construction of a 2,250-foot-high tower in Arizona, which would be the tallest free-standing structure in the US.

The idea for solar-wind-towers isn’t a new one. It goes back to a patent from 1975 by Dr. Phillip Carlson, then at Lockheed Aircraft Corp. The concept is simple: A mist of water droplets is sprayed over the opening of the tower. The fog evaporates and absorbs the heat of the surrounding air. The cooled air then falls to the bottom, because it is denser than warm air, and that wind gets up to 50 miles an hour. At the base of the tower the horizontal downdraft is diverted through the wind turbines, which then generate electricity.

The advantage of this method is that the downdraft can be produced around the clock, as long as the air is warm and dry enough. For this reason, first tower will be built near San Luis in New Mexico, planned for 2018.

The overall cost of the plant is estimated at around USD 1.6 billion, and is planned for 2018. The company received USD 1.6 million in this latest funding round, and hopes the company’s rising stock value and the project’s impressive “simplicity of the principle” will continue to interest investors.

In a promotional video, Solar Wind Energy promises CO2-free power production around the clock, throughout the whole year. It will generate an average of 435 megawatts (put in perspective: comes close to that of the smallest nuclear power plant in the US, which averages 502 megawatts.)

Source: Intelligent Building Today

Author: Leighann Morris