A new type of wind power plant is in the works, and it is claimed to be able to produce clean energy from the sun and the wind with virtually no carbon footprint, fuel consumption, or waste production. And not only that, it purportedly uses heat from the sun to produce its own wind, which would make this new type of plant desirable in areas with low or inconsistent winds.
The Clean Wind Energy Downdraft Tower is a skyscraper-sized hollow cylinder that uses the natural downdraft tendencies of air by spraying water (as a fine mist) across the top opening of the tower to cool the hot dry incoming air. As the water evaporates and cools the air, it becomes denser and heavier than the outside air, and then falls through the tower at speeds up to (and above) 50 mph. Once the faster moving air reaches the bottom of the tower, it is channeled through wind turbines in the base of the tower, generating electricity.
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In addition, if the Tower is located in areas conducive to direct wind harvesting, the exterior of the Tower could be covered with "vertical wind vanes" to help capture prevailing winds to produce supplemental power.
According to an article about the towers on KMPH,
"One tower is equivalent is to at least one nuclear power plant. But here's the big difference of course. You don't have nuclear issues, you don't have the safety issues, you don't have spent nuclear rods, you don't have the storage issue. These towers apparently they last forever. All you're using is water, evaporation, wind gradients and presto! You do have the energy that's produced through turbines and generators. So what we're talking about is water and wind at free will." - George Elliott, scientist and consultant for the Wind Energy Tower
The company is in the running as a semi-finalist for the Future Energy Pitching Event at the upcoming ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit in Washington D.C., which could potentially jumpstart the implementation of their new clean energy technology.
Clean Wind Energy, Inc. (soon to Solar Wind Energy Tower, Inc.), also plans to build a pair of demo towers, up to 2,250 feet tall, near Yuma Arizona, potentially powering up to 1.6 million homes in California and Arizona.
"The first Tower in Arizona has a projected output capacity, on an hourly basis, of up to 1000 megawatt hours, gross. Using a 70% capacity factor the Tower’s potential hourly yield would be 700 megawatt hours from which, approximately 17% will be used to power its operations, yielding approximately 600 megawatt hours available for sale to the power grid." - Clean Wind Energy, Inc.
For more info about the company or their new type of wind harvesting tower, see Clean Energy Wind Tower.