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Thermal Solar Plant To Be Erected In Australia

chrisd posted more than 12 years ago | from the hope-there's-a-plan-for-an-elevator dept.

Science 371

connect4 writes: "An article from the bulletin explaining a plan to erect a 1km high solar convection wind turbine in outback Victoria - the worlds tallest construction. Projected output per tower: 200MW. Cost to build: A$670m. Footprint of tower: 20sq km ."

cancel ×

371 comments

Great article at... (-1)

Retarded_One (518093) | more than 12 years ago | (#2681263)

Yahoo! [yahoo.com] about the use of Open Source in power plants! I could't believe how prevelant linux is!

Shouldn't Yahoo fix this bug? (0, Offtopic)

Derci (101537) | more than 12 years ago | (#2681286)

I mean.. like.. duh!

Re:Shouldn't Yahoo fix this bug? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2681315)

how else are yahoo! going to be able to collect click-through information for their banner ads??

two evils -> good!

Social Engineering (0, Offtopic)

Merkins (224523) | more than 12 years ago | (#2681362)

This is gonna get me flamed to a well done crisp, but.....

We (I.T. type people and Slashdot readers/posters) are very quick to point the finger at our stupid users when they click on attachments proclaiming their love ;)

However, the second someone posts a link about open source, everyone jumps on it without a quick check to see what it really is.

Interesting.......

Re:Great article at... (0, Flamebait)

EnamelMachineSoca (460270) | more than 12 years ago | (#2681287)

yes, retarded indeed...

Re:Great article at... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2681301)

Nice ...

I'm glad I followed that link at work.

Re:Great article at... (0, Offtopic)

TheMidget (512188) | more than 12 years ago | (#2681312)

I'm glad I followed that link at work.

Always let the mouse hover on any link in Slashdot before you click on it. This will display the link's true destination in the browser's status bar, and any goatsex reference will be obvious (unless the prankster space-padded the link as well...).

Note: I said browser, not Internet Exploder. Not sure whether IE is able to give such advance warning.

Re:Great article at... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2681352)

"Not sure whether IE is able to give such advance warning."

Yes, it is.

INTERNET EXPLORER... (-1)

Linux_Fag (538327) | more than 12 years ago | (#2681357)

Has a way to setup link viewing, as detailed on this Yahoo! article. [yahoo.com] Use this information to get rid of those goatse.cx freaks!

huh uhuh huhh huhh huh (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2681271)

you said "erected"

Ew. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2681273)

Erected in a Slashdot headline? What are you guys thinking?

The least you can do is not make it easy for a troll to respond with something perverted... :p

I can see them now:

"Oh, but it's not as big as *this* erected thing [link to goatse]."

Eugh. :p

Re:Ew. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2681415)

Oh, but it's not as big as *this* [goatse.cx] erected thing.

(Will that do?)

Re:Ew. (-1)

Sarcasm_Orgasm (535390) | more than 12 years ago | (#2681437)

Erection's are always comming from the lips of /. writers, is the word built way to low brow for the extremely above avgerage intelligence of the /. community? Or is it just another homosexual overtone?

I predict erections will soon smoother slashdot articles, here are some examples that will most likely be found in the comming months:

Slashback: "Australia's Monsterous Erection Destroyed by a Recently Erected RobOsama"

Interviews: Wil Wheaton "On Erections"

Games: Virtual Erection with the New Sims: "Erect an Erector Set"

Books: "The Erection of Linus Torvalds"

Ask Slashdot: "I'm trying to find information on erecting a portable Mp3-Ogg/Divx player, any idea's?."
--
You may now return to your slashdot reading, karma whoring, & pr0n habbit's. Thank you for browsing at -1. This sig. erected by hand to overcome the 120 Charactor Limit.

New Slashdot poll (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2681275)

- Which is the lamest?
- Russ Nelson's glasses.

- Suckomu Shimomura's lame .rhosts
- Richard GNU Stallman's ego
- Rob Malda's spellchecker
- Micheal Sims censoship.
- Cowboy Neal?

Sincerely, Mike Bouma

Quazi (1, Funny)

DelyApple (322505) | more than 12 years ago | (#2681276)

It's not like there's a lack of space to put these things. I mean, if you turned Quazi into one large solar panel, Australia would finally be able to gold-plate its mighty koalas! Gold Koalas for all!



God, I gotta stop with this Foster's.

Re:Quazi (1)

Quazion (237706) | more than 12 years ago | (#2681320)

I dont want to be a large solar panel!
not even when i am Quazioff...

Quazion.

Re:Quazi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2681586)

(See following story.) What happens when a kangaroo, fleeing lions, crashes through the glass?

Now that's impressive... (0, Troll)

EnamelMachineSoca (460270) | more than 12 years ago | (#2681279)

...I always get excited (no corellation with the above *erect* comments) when people actually DO stuff with solar power. I can't wait to see this structure if they go ahead with it.

What would Robin say? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2681282)

Holy giant phallic symbol Batman!

Good idea... (1)

digitalunity (19107) | more than 12 years ago | (#2681283)

but 200MW isn't very much electricity. We should be able to scale this thing up with minimal cost and get more power out of it. For that much money, they could pay the aussie citizens to run on treadmills to produce more power :)

Re:Good idea... (2, Insightful)

zmooc (33175) | more than 12 years ago | (#2681319)

It's not much more expensive than an ordinary coal-plant when you take the effects of the waste of such plants, the cost of the coals and the costs to keep such a thing running in consideration. You'd also not want to scale it up but rather build a few more... never rely on a single source of power.

Re:Good idea... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2681368)

I wonder this when I'm at the gym. Why don't they hook up the rowing machines to some sort of generator. Hell, they'd be paying me to work out ;)

Re:Good idea... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2681512)

Lord knows, most of us need it, *looks at belly*

WTF? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2681285)

I submitted this story weeks ago and it was rejected.

Re:WTF? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2681300)

Its who posts that counts not how newsworthy it is. This has happened to me too, twice.

Why the height? (1)

mberman (93546) | more than 12 years ago | (#2681288)

So can someone explain why this needs to be 1km tall? The windmills are at 40m, so what's the remaining 960m doing? is it just to stabilize the column up to colder air, or what?

Re:Why the height? (5, Informative)

waimate (147056) | more than 12 years ago | (#2681307)

It needs the height because there is a 1 C temperature differential for every 100m of altitude, so 1000m = 10 C, which is what creates the 'draw' and makes the whole thing go.

It's like saying "why have hydro-electric generators at the bottom of a long fall of water.

Re: 1000m != 10 C (1)

shenki (215721) | more than 12 years ago | (#2681433)

um, wtf?! i just finished year 12 geography studies, in australia btw (because the air is different up there in america hey? :) and i was taught that for every 1000m in altitude, there is a 6C change in tempature. go figure

Re:Why the height? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2681310)

The article explains that in order to get a 10 degree difference between the base and top it needs to be 1km tall. Good old thermodynamics: the bigger the difference in temperature, the more power you can get.

Re:Why the height? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2681321)

Read: "convection" = chimney effect.
It is simply an area covered with a transparent roof. In the center there is the chimney which needs that height to get the effect.

Re:Why the height? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2681547)

Look, as aussies, we're always trying to be bigger and better (almost always going up against america) and we want to have a big building...

Now, let us do it in peace :P

The world tallest construction... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2681302)

... how long until some crazy bearded muslim will knock it down. Anybody wanna start a pool?

Re:The world tallest construction... (1)

alpha_omicron (446500) | more than 12 years ago | (#2681452)

Nah... Australia is hardly on the terrorist hit list... and nothing like that could ever be built here in America (at least, not for quite a while) with all the congressmen that are owned by the fossil fuel industry.

Re:The world tallest construction... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2681497)

> Nah... Australia is hardly on the terrorist hit

> list


Australian troops are on the ground with American troops.

Re:The world tallest construction... (-1)

Sarcasm_Orgasm (535390) | more than 12 years ago | (#2681463)

you take a crazy bearded muslim, I got 3 scratched lotto tickets, & half of a six pack of billy beer that a wild pack of baby eating dingo's knock it over.

Re:The world tallest construction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2681552)

Did you just say lottery tickets [snopes2.com] ?

Wonderful! (3, Informative)

Pete (big-pete) (253496) | more than 12 years ago | (#2681304)


This sounds very impressive. It's great to hear that there is still plenty of active development in seeking out new power-sources. The tower sounds absolutely incredible:

The lightweight concrete tower will be the diameter of the Melbourne Cricket Ground's playing surface at its base, and will reach a kilometre towards the sky. A vast, gently sloping greenhouse will extend from its base to a radius of 2.5km, funnelling a rising column of hot air through 32 wind turbines about 40m above ground, generating power day and night.

If it's built it will surely be a wonder of the modern world - I'd certainly love to see it! A prime example of the better elements of what mankind is capable of...

Also there is always an environmental issue, even in solar power it is common for there to be MORE damage to the environment at first - in this case they expect to have countered that, and be "in the black" environmentally after only 2 1/2 years!

-- Pete.

Re:Wonderful! (2)

Trepidity (597) | more than 12 years ago | (#2681350)

Except, of course, for the permanent existence of a 1 km tall concrete tower occupying 20 sq km of land...

Re:Wonderful! (3, Insightful)

sql*kitten (1359) | more than 12 years ago | (#2681395)

Except, of course, for the permanent existence of a 1 km tall concrete tower occupying 20 sq km of land...

That bit of Australia is kinda flat anyway. I'm sure the top could be used for other stuff, like comms or even stellar observation, which should work really well with little ambient light pollution, and relatively clean air. It would also be a massive tourist attraction, especially if the greenhouses could be cultivated.

Plus, you'd be able to see airliners coming from a long way off. Sadly, you gotta think about that whenever you talk about tall structures these days.

Re:Wonderful! (1)

cmclean (230069) | more than 12 years ago | (#2681416)

I'm sure the top could be used for other stuff

Ooohh! Base Jumping!!!!
a 1Km high jump site, I am sooooooo there

cmclean

Re:Wonderful! (3, Informative)

zmooc (33175) | more than 12 years ago | (#2681521)

Well I don't think it would be very usefull for stellar observation. Probably the air that comes out of the chimney is relatively hot and will distort the light above the tower. But I might be wrong:)

Re:Wonderful! (1)

Marc Boucher (235490) | more than 12 years ago | (#2681603)

You're absolutely right.
I was about to write the same comment. You beat me on this. :)

Re:Wonderful! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2681623)

Well then let's ask the moderators to mod you up anyway:) Mods: Mod up parent!:)

That is a really good point, and... (-1)

Linux_Fag (538327) | more than 12 years ago | (#2681369)

Over at Yahoo! [yahoo.com] , there is a detailed breakdown of the effects/causes of pollutions, for alternative power sources. Interesting read.

Re:Wonderful! (1)

PetaK (542662) | more than 12 years ago | (#2681387)

One problem, the local people DO NOT WANT Them it 1/ spoils the view 2/ might hurt the cows 3/ can'nt remember what that was. A protest has already taken place, so laid back Gippsland is already at war, forget the rest of the world.

Good technical idea but.. (0)

boltar (263391) | more than 12 years ago | (#2681306)

... you couldn't really build a bigger magnet for future terrorist in the Osama mould. Granted
Australia isn't exactly top of the fanatics hit list at the moment but if that changes in the
future I can see this tower becoming literally the biggest security headache in the world.

Re:Good technical idea but.. (2, Insightful)

Hektor_Troy (262592) | more than 12 years ago | (#2681372)

Actually it wouldn't - here's why:
1) While the towers would look quite impressive, I doubt there would be many people actually working on the site at any given moment.
2) To terrorize people, you have to give them the impression, that you can kill them at your own convinience.

Blowing up at 1 km tower and killing three people won't do that. Sending two planes into two towers where roughly 50.000 people work WILL terrorize people.

You can rebuild a 1 km. tower, but you can't rebuild the sense of security lost, when someone blows up a work place of 50.000 people and kills 4.000 people in the process.

Re:Good technical idea but.. [OT] (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2681378)

Australia isn't exactly top of the fanatics hit list at the moment

I don't normally post OT stuff but try reading some international news [news.com.au] sometimes.

To quote from that URL:

Melbourne a target for hijack terror
By RAHUL BEDI in New Delhi, MARK DUNN and IAN McPHEDRAN
07dec01

MELBOURNE'S landmark Rialto Towers were the target of a suicide hijack plot by a terror suspect linked to the September 11 attacks.

The man, with confessed links to Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda terrorist network, trained as a pilot at a Moorabbin flying school in 1997 and 1998.
It has been revealed the man and associates plotted to crash hijacked jets into targets, including the 55-storey Rialto, London's Houses of Parliament and Tower Bridge, and New Delhi's parliament.

About 10,000 work in the Rialto - the tallest office building in the southern hemisphere and headquarters of some of Australia's leading financial, legal and IT companies.

Just like that credit card ad... (2, Funny)

tRoll with Butter (542444) | more than 12 years ago | (#2681308)

Projected output per tower: 200MW. Cost to build: A$670m. Footprint of tower: 20sq km. Look on the face of Trolls when they see "erect" in a /. headline: Priceless.

Heheheeh! (-1)

Linux_Fag (538327) | more than 12 years ago | (#2681363)

There is a similiar, but also humorous, story at Yahoo! [yahoo.com] about the problems with trolls. It seems even CNN/NYTimes/etc, are all having problems on their forums!

at last!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2681309)

A giant penis bigger than the big donger!!!

http://www.geocities.com/topaussieguide/Page2.ht m

[BPA]Kane

More info (4, Insightful)

Max von H. (19283) | more than 12 years ago | (#2681322)

EnviroMission's site [enviromission.com.au] has more information regarding the technology employed, as well as some nice flash animations.

Considering Australia's size and geography, I'm surprise solar power isn't implemented on a wider scale. If only the polititians would get their heads out of their arse, they would realize solar and wind power are the only intelligent, long-term choice. They may bitch about the price, but once these things get to be built in large quantities the price will go down accordingly.

/max

Re:More info (5, Informative)

Goonie (8651) | more than 12 years ago | (#2681334)

This is why not:
  1. The Liberal and National parties, which currently form a coalition federal government, receive much of their funding from mining companies.
  2. The Labor Party, which is the major opposition party and controls most of the state governments around the nation right now, is an offshoot of the union movement. Guess in which industries the union movement is strong, and thus which unions exert considerable clout in the ALP? Yep, that's right, mining and electricity.

Re:More info (1)

chicoy (305673) | more than 12 years ago | (#2681365)

I agree, the guys in Canberra need to pull the finger out.

I think another problem that needs to be identified is how to get the power to the masses since it's 1km high and it's gonna be an eye sore.

I think if power can be delivered efficiently to the people that use it, then we can make the red outback look like a porcupine and have enuf power for everyone (since there's only 20 million aussies).

Re:More info (1, Funny)

BadDoggie (145310) | more than 12 years ago | (#2681370)

There is NO SUCH THING as a "nice Flash animation"!

woof.

Or is that, "The only good Flashimation is a dead Flashimation." I have trouble remembering.

Re:More info (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2681374)

"Some projects of significance are:

Munich Olympics Stadium
Ting Kau Bridge in Hong Kong
Montreal Olympic Stadium"


Oh...my...god. These are the same guys that designed the Montreal Olympic Stadium? The thing that's been dropping large chunks of concrete on the heads of innocent spectators for 30 years? Sweet merciful crap...

Re:More info (1, Informative)

TeraCo (410407) | more than 12 years ago | (#2681473)

Actually Nuclear is much cleaner [environmentally], efficient and safer then any other power source out there.

Of course, you will always have people parroting the tripe that the greens sprout about it being 'dangerous.'.

More information at:http://www.nei.org/doc.asp?catnum=2&catid=118&U pFront=true

While this site is a bit more US centric then I would like, it does provide a wealth of information on nuclear energy.

Re:More info (1, Informative)

Max von H. (19283) | more than 12 years ago | (#2681549)

You, sir, are an idiot. You miserably fail to envision the nuclear waste problem, which is probably the biggest and shittiest kind of waste you'd ever want to deal with.

The site you mention is nothing else than pro-nuke propaganda, since it's the Nuclear Energy Institute itself (shudder). What else would you expect?

And, just for the fun of it, please tell me *how* "...nuclear is much cleaner [environmentally], efficient and safer then any other power source"? Come_on, either you're trolling or genuinely are a brain-dead idiot. This power generation system (the tower) has ZERO emissions, needs low maintenance and furthermore, the ecological impact (emissions) of its building will be recouped in 2-1/2 years.

pfffff.

/max

Re:More info (0)

thogard (43403) | more than 12 years ago | (#2681594)

The waste problem is 100% the result of old reactor designs and idiots at greenpeace and the like. If anyone could leagly seperate it (which you can't do thanks to the greenies) you get two parts, one is fuel you dump back into the reactor and the other is less radioactive than bannanas.

Besides Oz has some of the most radioactive soil in the world and some of its been that way for a very, very long time.

Re:More info (2)

TeraCo (410407) | more than 12 years ago | (#2681624)

And, just for the fun of it, please tell me *how* "...nuclear is much cleaner [environmentally], efficient and safer then any other power source"? Come_on, either you're trolling or genuinely are a brain-dead idiot. This power generation system (the tower) has ZERO emissions, needs low maintenance and furthermore, the ecological impact (emissions) of its building will be recouped in 2-1/2 years.

Notice that I specified THREE criteria. Which is more efficient, building one nuclear power station that can supply a large city with extra power left over OR several of these 1KM high things?

Nuclear power has come a long way since the 'old days', and as for the site I quoted: It all comes down to whether you would rather believe the atomic energy commission or greenpeace. Luckily in this case, the atomic energy commission is correct, so I'll stick with their facts thanks.

Is this the time for renwable energy (4, Interesting)

slashnik (181800) | more than 12 years ago | (#2681323)

In a similar vein this report on the bbc

http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/uk/scotland/new si d_1699000/1699665.stm/

says that wind energy in Scotland with the help of wave and tidal resources could provide 60GW / 75% of the UK's energy requirements.

slashnik

Re:Is this the time for renwable energy (5, Informative)

Richard Kirk (535523) | more than 12 years ago | (#2681406)

The solar chimney is a really neat idea for reasons that do not transfer to wind power.

All the moving bits are at the bottom (well - within 40M of the bottom). This means that you can get to service them without having to scale the chimney. You can swap out the generators for more efficient ones when they are developed without having to redesign the rest of the scheme.

There are windmill designs (the Savonius rotor) that have the generator at the bottom, and don't need pointing into the wind, but these are a design compromise between efficieny and servicability. The wind farms in Scotland have a dynamo with a windmill on top of a big stick. I remember the 'Tomorrows World' presenter going up it, and going rather green: the really big ones are pretty scary places to work.

The chimney can also generate power when it is half-built. It won't be as efficient, but this may allow the building loan to be spread out. Once you have built the chimney, it may then make finiancial sense to expand the greenhouse area. A windmill is either there or it isn't.

Don't get me wrong - I like windmills, and a solar chimney in the Orkneys simply isn't on. However, the Orkneys windmill is paying because regular electricity was over 4 times the cost on the mainland. However, IMHO, the solar chimney is in a different league to windmills and tidal stations. I do hope it gets built.

Um... what about... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2681324)

Some questions that need to be considered:

  • Maintenance costs? I mean, you don't just whack a great big building in the middle of nowhere and expect it to just work for the rest of its life, do you?
  • Expected life span? If it only is good for ten years, it's a bloody expensive way to generate electricity.
  • Effect on the surrounding area? A one kilometer tower is going to cast a pretty damn big shadow.
  • Expected average output? 200 MW peak output is what the article says... that's not the same as 200 MW average.
Don't get me wrong -- I reckon it's a rather neat idea. But the article doesn't give the whole story by any means.

Re:Um... what about... (3, Insightful)

Dr. Spork (142693) | more than 12 years ago | (#2681403)

You're right about the maintenance costs. This thing will have many turbines that will eventually need replacing. Probably not off-the-shelf parts, either.

In California, where we put up hundreds of wind generators, a very large fraction of them are idle because they broke and are very expensive to fix. I expect the same problem for this thing. I only wish there were a practical system for generating solar power without moving parts, something you pay for once and use forever. Sigh...

Re:Um... what about... (2, Interesting)

maaaaanis (180232) | more than 12 years ago | (#2681499)

The way I see it, the turbines in this plant are likely to be as reliable as a hydro-electric turbine.
Hydro plants need dams, dams are big, destructive and (hopefully) very permanent.
Hopefully, instead of making new hydro plants, we'll make these things (need a cool acronym)instead.

Abundant Free Energy at No Cost To You (1)

sweatyboatman (457800) | more than 12 years ago | (#2681608)

Act now on this exclusive offer from IveGotEnergy.com!

Haven't you ever wondered why energy, which is so small it can travel through the tiniest wire, is created in huge, expensive power-plants? The power companies would like you to believe that it's because it requires expensive equipment and long years of training. But they're WRONG!

Working together, scientists in Holland and Bulgaria have come up with an enormous breakthrough in energy production. Using things you can find around the house you too can have your own 1000MW Power Plant! That's enough power to light all of Manhatten. Think of how envious your neighbors will be.

The best part is, once you've set up the device, you never have to think about it again. It'll work forever and ever without any maintenance at all.

And, if that's not appealing to you...

Me and my friends at IveGotEnergy.com are having a slumber party and YOU'RE INVITED! So come see hot chicks naked

Re:Um... what about... (2, Interesting)

smack_attack (171144) | more than 12 years ago | (#2681408)

Effect on the surrounding area? A one kilometer tower is going to cast a pretty damn big shadow.

Solar power... solar clock. Can you say tourism? I wonder how many people would want to stand in the shadow at 4:20?

Lets put this into perspective.. (3, Insightful)

whanau (315267) | more than 12 years ago | (#2681325)

$670 million australian isn't that much money.

Currently its $348 million US, which is about the TOC of a nuclear reactor of the same capacity
Throw in credits from carbon trading, valuable research into the technology, bragging rights and the ability
to wean australia's fossil fuel dependant economy off foreign oil (australia is the world's worst polluter per captia) this is a very very good deal. Go Aussie!

Re:Lets put this into perspective.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2681479)

sure carbon credits WOULD have been useful if the US didnt shoot down the kyoto protocol.

Pretty useful in near-tropical regions (5, Insightful)

hashinclude (192717) | more than 12 years ago | (#2681326)

This stuff could be VERY useful in near-tropical regions. like India for example, the temperature difference (in the more extreme parts ~25N) goes from 40deg C (in the daytime) to something like 10-15 at night. So this could also possibly be used to churn out far more power than the aussie counterpart, IF used correctly. This is specifically for regions that have a high temperature during day/night times, and a nice dry climate. Coastal regions wouldnt be of so much use for the simple reason that the temp. gradient obtained is not so large.

Re:Pretty useful in near-tropical regions (4, Informative)

maaaaanis (180232) | more than 12 years ago | (#2681558)

Check a map of autralia...
http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/averages/
Notice the climate, it's got more tropical, near tropical, desert, savanna etc etc than any other country. Better still, it's bigger than india and has less than 1/50th of the population, more available space, if native title issues ever get sorted.
In central australia there is an average of 11hrs sunlight a day all year which is the most important factor when using a greenhouse.

The good, the bad and the ugly (2, Insightful)

waimate (147056) | more than 12 years ago | (#2681331)

A few points here:
  • On the plus side, a smaller version of this thing was built in spain, and worked.
  • On the minus side, I don't believe it's at all clear how this thing scales.
  • On the really minus side, Australia is no longer a country that has the sort of boldness it took to build the Snowy Mountain Irrigation Scheme in the 1950s, where rivers were reversed; nor the audaciousness to build the Sydney Opera House in the 1960s. It's unlikely this construction will ever happen, more's the pity.
    I think we've lost our nerve for risk, an affliction in which we are probably not alone.

Re:The good, the bad and the ugly (1)

kawaichan (527006) | more than 12 years ago | (#2681347)

the sad thing is, it doesn't, it cost way too much money and land to power any small cities. What about Geo-thermo? Wouldn't that solve everything?.

agricultural tie-in (3, Interesting)

Barbarian (9467) | more than 12 years ago | (#2681332)

Could you use the large "greenhouse" below to grow something that would not normally be sustainable? I guess it would take a small amount of the energy out, but it might be worth it.

If not, at least plant a forest, so that you have more heat capacity to work with over night when the sun is down.

Re:agricultural tie-in (2, Funny)

mxf8bv (118038) | more than 12 years ago | (#2681356)

Nice idea, but since the whole structure is nothing but a chimney you'll need some very storm-resistant tomatoes for that greenhouse ;)

Re:agricultural tie-in (1)

ZigMonty (524212) | more than 12 years ago | (#2681402)

That would make sense. One of the pictures in the article showing the greenhouse under the tower shows what looks like farm land.

Then again, it is an artist's impression and you know how accurate those are when a plan is still in its early stages.

This is a REALLY cool idea though. I hope we (I'm an Aussie) build it but we seem to have a nack for missing opportunities. Sad really.

Not a perfect solution (1, Insightful)

countach (534280) | more than 12 years ago | (#2681333)

Yep sure this is better than nukes or coal. But it will probably destroy the natural environment of whatever used to sit underneath the thing. And you need a heck of a lot of them to replace all the coal. A bit like Hydro - it's free electricity, but
you have to dam up and destroy the environment to build the thing.

Can't we just use less electricity? We really don't need anywhere near as much as we use. Street lights? A waste. Neon? Waste. Heating? Need solar passive houses. The list goes on.

It won't solve the CO2 problem (2, Insightful)

boltar (263391) | more than 12 years ago | (#2681353)

Why? Because all these enviromental generating schemes do is prevent the building of NEW fossil
fuel stations. What never happens is the replacement of a fossil fuel power station with
a renewable energy one. We need to reduce our overall power consumption. How many of you leave
your PC switched on for no reason other than you can't be bothered to wait 1 min for it to boot
when you want to use it again in 3 hours time?
UNtil peoples free for all attitude to energy consumption changes all we'll be doing is buying
ourselves a little bit more time but the end result of massive climate change will still occur.
Building more nuclear plants would help but the liberal right-on lobby would have a apoplectic fit
if anyone suggested that because in their not-too-bright minds they do a simplistic link between nuclear power and nuclear war so hence its verbotten.

Re:It won't solve the CO2 problem (0)

TeraCo (410407) | more than 12 years ago | (#2681490)

Which part of this post was trolling?

Was it the opinion that we use to much power and should cut down? [which I disagree with, but that's irrelevant]

Or was it the pro-nuclear stance? [It is a fact that nuclear power is one of the cleanest, safest, most efficient energy sources out there]

Remember moderators, just because you disagree with someone doesn't make them a troll.

Re:It won't solve the CO2 problem (-1, Troll)

boltar (263391) | more than 12 years ago | (#2681516)

Why a troll for gods sake?? Its a serioud point I was trying to make or is it the 13 year olds
doing the moderating today who can't even spell "issues" never mind understand what they are??

Just my luck... (1)

tunah (530328) | more than 12 years ago | (#2681359)

So I go and buy a nice little house in victoria.

It's not huge, the real estate agent said, but it's a great location. You'll love the view, he said.

Guess who moved next door a week later?

Resistance from vested interests (3, Insightful)

hwilker (225377) | more than 12 years ago | (#2681392)

It looks like the initiators of this project already thought about vested interests. These, rather than technical issues, are most often the biggest obstacles to overcome when trying to establish a totally new technology.

The quote by an energy industry manager, "It won't work", is typical of the process:

  • At first, technical issues are put forward: "It won't work. If it would work, we would have done it before."
  • Then come economic issues. "It will be too expensive. Nobody will buy it."
  • If that doesn't work, and the project in question looks like it might succeed, political lobby work is started. "If it goes forward, we will fire so-and-so many workers. It must be forbidden."

Usually, that is the end of things for revolutionary technologies... I hope it won't be in this case.

intersting.. but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2681404)

i'll neva understand why people use /. as an anonymous place to put their rants.
find a forum dammit.
keep the offtopic comments to yourself.

the environmental damage of a 1km high, football ground wide shadow would be enormous, even in the most desolate of places.

especially with cold blooded animals etc, which there are plenty of in this area.

the question is, are a few snakes and lizards worth the technological advances and power created by such a device. Such a difficult moral question.

And people have suggested building solar power up higher in the sky, where there is greater raditation from the sun. Imagine the size of the shadow of a basketball if placed on the rim of earths inner atmosphere.

Re:intersting.. but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2681468)

It's not like we can eat those cold blooded animals you fool.

Your question is easily answered .. YES

If you'd only stop wasting space and resources yourself the rest of us can get on with it.

Take your shit to some planet that deserves the disrespect you spout you arrogant prick.

Re:intersting.. but... (1)

alpha_omicron (446500) | more than 12 years ago | (#2681481)

I can hardly see how this would be damaging at all to its local enviornment. The interior of the greenhouse could easily, if irrigated, support plant and animal life, new and existing, and would create an even greater heat differential thus producing more energy.

I think the minimal enviornmental damage this would cuase pales in comparison to the existing damage our fossil fuel plants have done.

Listerine Helps Fight Troll-Breath (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2681407)

Trolling slashdot may be fun, but your oral health should still come first. Bad breath can lead to serious health problems, not to mention monitor damage. Thankfully, you can take use the 20 second formkeys delay to your benefit! Next time you're going for frost pist, take a swig of Listerine and swish it in your mouth... When the stinging becomes unbearable, spit (in a bowl or bucket, not on your computer) and click post - works everytime! You'll get frost pist and have minty fresh breath! Horay for Listerine and the formkeys delay!

Stupid windows users! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2681410)

bouma% telnet 213.99.xxx.167
Trying 213.99.xxx.167...
Connected to 213-99-xxx-167.uc.nombres.ttd.es.
Escape character is '^]'.
WinGate>213.99.xxx.205
Connecting to host 213.99.xxx.205...Connected
WinGate>xxx.sgo.es 7005
Connecting to host xxx.sgo.es...Connected
/usr/bsd/finger;
No one logged on

heh heh... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2681455)

"erected".....

Doing the math... (2)

jcr (53032) | more than 12 years ago | (#2681487)

So, 200MWatts(peak)/$670M AU = $3.35/Watt.

Converting that to USD, I get $1.72US per Watt of generating capacity.

Of course, that's the *peak* figure, and the article didn't say much about what the expected *average* power would be.

Anyhow, add to that the benefit of a 1Km platform for an antenna platform, plus the tourist draw of an observation deck, and it sure sounds like a winner to me.

Now, if they would just start building these all over the Mojave...

-jcr

Sounds great to me (2, Informative)

musicmaster (237156) | more than 12 years ago | (#2681491)

Just for those who didn't read the text:

They had a similar thing in Spain (150 km south of Madrid) between 1982 and 1989. It had had some funding problems and for that reason was built on the cheap. As a consequence it collapsed in 1989 in a storm. It had a capacity of 50KW.

The idea is that:
- you have a big greenhouse that collects the sun and generates hot air.
- you send that air into a very high chimney because the air at a high altitude is colder so you can get more energy
- closed water basins in the greenhouses store the heat for the night so that you can generate electricity at night too

The biggest problem seems to me that the technology has not been tested very much. Scaling from 50KW to 200MW is quite a big step. And the quoted prices seem to have a lot of variation depending on the article that you read.

Carnot Efficiency? (2, Informative)

mrright (301778) | more than 12 years ago | (#2681505)

This is a really nice project. But it only makes sense if it is combined with agriculture or other forms of solar power generation.

The carnot efficiency is defined as e=(T1-T0)/T1. If we assume T1=20C=293K, T0=0C=273K, the maximum thermodynamic efficiency is 20/293=0.068=7%. And this is the theoretical maximum. So it would be more reasonable to expect something like 4% for the total efficiency.

On the plus side, this design comes with built-in energy storage for the night, it can be used for agriculture, and it might be possible to increase its efficiency by placing photovoltaic cells in the collector area.

If you consider that this thing will be a huge tourist attraction, building it will definitely be worth it.

ZZZ (2, Interesting)

Organism (457220) | more than 12 years ago | (#2681545)

Reminds me of This article [zzz.com.ru] I read a while ago.

Why not build it on water ? (1)

selderrr (523988) | more than 12 years ago | (#2681566)

why on land ? Just make it a drifter. Then you have all the water you need, and you don't have to pump up the lost H2O that gets damped out...

Re:Why not build it on water ? (1)

thogard (43403) | more than 12 years ago | (#2681618)

Ocean temps tend to be about the same as air at 3000ft (aka 1km) altitude if not much cooler.

Better idea (5, Funny)

glowingspleen (180814) | more than 12 years ago | (#2681583)

It would be easier to build a machine that collects and processes the sweat of the nervous investors on this project...

great idea but - and other random thoughts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2681590)

*Remember the broome tidal power station (north WA), it was probably also economically viable but the state gov seemed against it, even though federal gov seemed to support it (both libs)

*Having said that, wouldn't the outback SA, NT or WA be a better location (if you can co-exist with native title or find some free hold). Vic is kinda expensive real estate compared to central australia.

*We've got enough empty desert for a ton of these.

*I wonder how a cost camparison would compare if this was augmented with geothermal energy, while we're not NZ, areas like MT Isa have a steep geo thermal gradient. I think natural rock temperature about 1.5 km deep at Mt Isa is about 50 to 60 degrees celcius

*hey a chimmney taller than Mt Isa

*finally - i guess photocells would end up more economicly practical anyway.

Lightning? (1)

Two99Point80 (542678) | more than 12 years ago | (#2681593)

This thing would seem to be a grand-scale lightning rod. It'd be nice to see some analysis on how well it'd stand up to being hit by some serious energy...

Weather Patterns (3, Interesting)

Detritus (11846) | more than 12 years ago | (#2681610)

Has anyone looked at the possible effects this would have on local weather patterns?

Tower of Babyl (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2681613)

Does this remind anyone of the tower of babyl?

Weather impact (2, Interesting)

Nonac (132029) | more than 12 years ago | (#2681615)

The article says nothing about the possible impact this will have on rain patterns in the area.

I've read that airliner jet streams appear to change weather patterns in the US, but jet streams seem minor compaired to 20 square kilometers worth of heat creating a permanent cloud in one location.

Won't this draw humidity that would otherwise fall in other nearby areas?
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