In Australia there are serious plans to build something straight out of sci-fi, a solar chimney as tall as the Sears tower. The idea is that you build a multi-story tall tube that fans out at the base to cover many acres of land. It is like a greenhouse and open around the edges. The air inside is heated by the greenhouse effect and rises through the tube which is lined with turbines that generate electricity from the rising movement of the air. New air is pulled into the base around perimeter creating a constant flow of air pressure in the tube. The Energy Blog has a great update on this crazy cool technology that generates electricity without any pollutants or fuel.
But what about at night? They’ve figured that out. the base is ringed by salt ponds that store heat during the day and release it at night to power the updraft. It gets even wilder- the Chinese are planning a solar chimney a half mile tall! Can’t wait to see that sucker. I wonder if it is constantly windy around the perimeter of these things.
(Photo Credit: http://www.enviromission.com.au)