R/€ = 13.04
R/$ = 12.07
Au 1204.60 $/oz
Pt 1170.50 $/oz
Jul 24, 2008
Namibia backing 400 MW solar tower-agri conceptBack
© Reuse this A new proposal involving the construction of a R1-billion solar tower that will be able to generate 400 MW of electricity is being backed by the Namibian government, which is prepared to foot the bill for half of the prefeasibility study costs, says intellectual property company Hahn & Hahn MD Alan Dunlop.
The proposal states that the solar tower, aptly named the Greentower, will be 1,5 km high and 280 m in diameter. Dunlop says that the tower can be likened to a chimney that would cause an updraft to the drive turbines, generating 400 MW of electrical power.
Air within the solar tower is heated in a large circular green-houselike structure, and the resulting convection causes the air to rise and escape through the tower. The moving air drives turbines, which then produce electricity.
Solar tower technology has been slow to develop over the last 30 years. Between 1979 and 1989, a German engineer, Professor Jorg Schlaich, designed a solar tower 200 m high, which was built in Spain and financed by a grant from the German government. The tower ran trouble-free for eight years, producing 50 kW of electricity, and the collapsed.
Dunlop states that interest in the technology faded in the 1990s, until it was announced that a 1 km-high solar tower, capable of producing 200 MW would be constructed, and would be functional, in Australia by 2010.
Turbines can be installed in a ring around the base of the tower, with a horizontal axis, as planned for the Australian project, or, as in the prototype in Spain, a single vertical axis turbine can be installed inside the chimney.
He adds that the Australian tower, as well as its Namibian counterpart, will be built out of reinforced concrete, using technology developed for building high-rise buildings.
“Several thermodynamics, civil struc-ure, wind loading and power generation experts have developed an executive summary for a R6-million prefeasibility study, and a R200-million bankable feasibility study for the Namibian project,” he says.
The Namibian government has declared its support for the Greentower, and offered a guarantee of 50% of the prefeasibility funding upon private equity commitment.
In addition, it is proposed that the base of the tower will incorporate a 37-km2 greenhouse, in which cash crops can be grown.
The greenhouse will be used to develop soil humus to transform barren land to fertile soil that retains moisture and nutrients to enable rapid plant propagation.
Dunlop says that studies have shown that plant-linked humidity does not reduce the uplift in the tower by which the turbines are driven, and even represents a store of latent energy that can be drawn on after sunset.
Water for the plants in the greenhouse can be supplied by desalinating sea water or purifying groundwater, using known technology and a supply of energy, which is only a small fraction of the energy generated.
He adds that the Namibian project is eligible for carbon credits under the Kyoto Protocol and offers opportunities for countries such as Germany to further develop solar tower technology.
Edited by: Laura Tyrer© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
Other Electricity News
Recent Research Reports
Steel 2015: A review of South Africa's steel sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Steel 2015 report provides an overview of the key developments in the global steel industry and particularly of South Africa’s steel sector over the past year, including details of production and consumption, as well as the country's primary carbon...
Projects in Progress 2015 - First Edition (PDF Report)
In fact, this edition of Creamer Media’s Projects in Progress 2015 supplement tracks developments taking place under the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme, which has had four bidding rounds. It appears to remain a shining light on the...
Electricity 2015: A review of South Africa's electricity sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Electricity 2015 report provides an overview of State-owned power utility Eskom and independent power producers, as well as electricity planning, transmission, distribution and the theft thereof, besides other issues.
Construction 2015: A review of South Africa’s construction sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Construction 2015 Report examines South Africa’s construction industry over the past 12 months. The report provides insight into the business environment; the key participants in the sector; local construction demand; geographic diversification;...
Liquid Fuels 2014 - A review of South Africa's Liquid Fuels sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Liquid Fuels 2014 Report examines these issues, focusing on the business environment, oil and gas exploration, the country’s feedstock supplies, the development of South Africa’s biofuels industry, fuel pricing, competition in the sector, the...
Water 2014: A review of South Africa's water sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Water 2014 report considers the aforementioned issues, not only in the South African context, but also in the African and global context, and examines the issues of water and sanitation, water quality and the demand for water, among others.
This Week's Magazine
Today’s organisations execute projects within increasingly complex environments – particularly in the engineering sector. The ability to successfully execute these projects is what drives the realisation of successful projects and, ultimately, the achievement of...
South Africa’s distribution grid is a twentieth-century relic, which must be changed to serve the country’s modern electricity needs, says South African National Energy Development Institute (Sanedi) Smart Grid Programme manager Dr Minnesh Bipath. “What we are...
There is a disparity in government funding provided to integrated transport networks – bus rapid transit (BRT) networks ¬¬– and that given to conventional bus services, says Putco executive director Thys Heyns. “We have neglected and strangled conventional bus...
The Johannesburg Social Housing Company (Joshco) is building 502 rental housing units, valued at R200-million, in Dobsonville, Soweto, which are scheduled for completion in June 2016.
Automotive component manufacturer and distributor Metair is centralising its research and development (R&D) work in Turkey, in an attempt to bolster the company’s ability to produce affordable start/stop batteries. The new R&D centre is part of an expansion plan in...