Research

4-4. Wind Solar Tower

A solar chimney or solar tower consists of a translucent solar thermal collector, high rise cylindrical tower, and a wind turbine installed inside the bottom of the tower. The translucent solar collector heats up the air between the collector and the ground causing a greenhouse effect. It then induces a thermal updraft inside the cylindrical tower placed at the center of the solar collector. The thermal updraft turns the wind turbine located at the base of the tower in order to produce electricity. This type of system is quite robust in a way that it requires minimum maintenance after the installation due to its structural simplicity. It can be operated in many places where the energy sources are limited but large land area and sunshine. We have discovered some fluid dynamical methods to augment the power output of the system by increase the speed of air flow inside of the tower. We named this new improved devise “Wind Solar Tower (WST)”.
We have discovered that a modification to the tower shape can increase updraft air flow within. A number of our numerical study and scaled model experiments have shown the increase of air flow speed by using diffuser shape tower instead of simple cylinder. Addition to that, pressure dropping mechanism has been aso discovered at the exit of the tower and shown remarkable air flow augmentation effect. In December 2014, field experiment setup was constructed at RIAM with 10m tower.
Mechanism of the Wind Solar Tower
Wind Solar Tower
Image of Manzanares prototype solar chimney
Wind Solar Tower
Field experiment installed outside of RIAM (10m tower)
Wind Solar Tower
Tower shape comparison
Wind Solar Tower
A comparison of air flow speed inside of two types of tower
Wind Solar Tower
Mechanism of pressure drop by winds aloft near the exit. Investigations to augment this effect have been ongoing.
Wind Solar Tower
An example of data set of 10m WST at RIAM. The plot shows that the air flow inside the tower seems to be influenced by two different mechanisms, thermal updraft and pressure drop by the winds aloft.
Wind Solar Tower
<< back to Research page
│ Home │ Research │ Resources │ People │ Publications │ Access │ Links │