Low Humidity Powers Generators

How can a downdraft tower create clean energy?

Downdraft TowerA proposed tower in Arizona along the border of Mexico would be one of the tallest structures in the US, and consist of a mainly hollow tube that takes advantage of downdraft energy to power large generator fans at the bottom of the structure. As the structure is proposed (it would actually be 2 towers) it would pump water to the top of the building and create a contained weather phenomenon that causes intense winds. These winds would push fan blades.

In an update for 2014, the Solar Wind Energy Tower Inc. Company has obtained conditional financing for a tower project in Southern Arizona. According to news sources, this means that the project could be operational and generating electricity as early as 2018. The company is apparently buying a 600 acre stite within the city limits of San Luis which is close to Yuma. Water will be provided by the City of San Luis.

The project would need to get desalinated water from the Gulf of California and would be one of the most massive construction projects in Arizona, if not the country while it was being built. Such a tower would be 2,250 feet high, making it the second highest building in the world. Needless to say, it would deliver quite a few jobs to the US and Mexico, since the tower's water supply would come from a pipeline and the construction materials would all have to be delivered and assembled in a very sparsely populated region of the Southwest. Naturally, the region happens to be sparsely populated because it is blazing hot in the summertime, with temperatures reaching over 110 degrees farenheit on a consistent basis throughout the summertime.

Thermal Differences Create Wind

Residents of Arizona are familiar with at least part of the theory of a downdraft energy tower. A localized weather phenomenon known as a microburst is based around the same theory of weather. Essentially, humid air becomes heavy at a high altitude and falls down quickly over a small area, creating hurricane force winds that last for just a few minutes. These winds can rip roofs off buildings, knock down walls, break windows, and push trees over. A controlled and constant microburst pushing itself onto wind turbines would generate quite a bit of electricity. The proposed project for San Luis Arizona is being proposed by Clean Wind Energy Tower INC and the company claims that both towers could power up to 3.2 million homes. If the concept for energy towers becomes successful, then nations in places like West Africa, the Persian Gulf, and South America with desert climates could benefit from the inexpensive energy generation that comes from such towers, and use the electricity for industrial purposes. Additionally, if the Global Warming people are in fact correct, the potential for such towers could be even bigger.

Untested Technology?

The concept for an energy tower was developed in Israel, which shares the hot and dry climate necessary for towers to work well. It would require water to be sprayed from the top of the tower, and this humid air would fall at 50 miles an hour and power fans. Some of the concerns and questions are going to involve how to clean the water so it does not leave impurities (or corrosive salts) on the walls of the tower, which would increase weight and leave a mineral residue that has to be cleaned and taken off site. Additionally, there is a question about the local environmental impact of humid air being added to a dry area, but this effect may be negligible considering that in places like Phoenix people water their lawns and this changes humidity levels as well.