More Energy News – January 23, 2015

Now, here is an interesting development on the energy generation front. Certainly interesting if not downright exciting. The first hybrid solar-wind generating station is getting closer to reality in San Luis, Arizona.

The technology is interesting, the promise of abundant, clean and economical energy is exciting. The pragmatic side is that there is real progress being made with the purchase of 650 acres and a development agreement being reached with the city government. The plant is targeted to go online in 2018 and will be capable of generating as much electricity as the Hoover Dam or the largest of the nuclear generating stations at a small fraction of the cost.

Imagine a hollow cylinder 2200 feet tall (the second tallest structure in the world) by 1200 feet wide. Hot, dry solar heated air is misted with water at the top of the cylinder and the heavy, moist, cooled air falls through the cylinder at speeds of up to 50 mph – 24 hrs per day, 365 days per year. This downdraft is diverted through about 60 wind tunnels with turbine generators arranged around the base of the cylinder. It operates with no carbon footprint or fuel consumption but, uses some water (although less than agricultural use of the same land) and produces a wind at the base. Clean, efficient and cost effective.

Compared to wind or solar generation of the same capacity, it costs a quarter as much to install, has twice the useful life, uses less than 3% as much land, requires no inverter system and requires no government subsidy to build. Now, how exciting would that be?

For more information: just Google – hybrid solar-wind energy in Arizona