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The Solar Mountain Tower by Raphael Menard from Elioth

Solar Mountain

this page of the website is still under construction, translation is not good enough, help is welcome!

The solar mountain is a new system of production of electricity derived from the concept of solar chimney, developed by the Elioth research department.
A chimney resting on the mountain relief reduces the forces on the chimney, roughly one kilometer high. So it's less expensive if the chimney rests on the cliff or dug.

Solar insolation is produced and stored in the form of hot air in a greeenhouse type collector and directed towards turbines under the effect of the thermal pulling of a chimney. The solar mountain concept was the subject to international patent in 2005.
illustration of the Mountain Chimney concept: the solar chimney is supported by the mountain side
illustration of the Mountain Chimney concept: the solar chimney is supported by the mountain side
Solar tower with the solar mountain
Recall of the principle of operation of the solar updraft tower
The solar chimneys exploit two natural phenomena: the Greenhouse effect and the Convection. They create finally a solar wind of which manufacture and the exploitation break up in the form:
• Of a collector, associated with a greenhouse located near the ground which collects the solar, direct and diffuse radiation, and imprisons this radiant energy flux by a transparent envelope; the volume of air thus warms up.
• the chimney which creates a Gradient Pressure (buoyancy of the air) between the air located in bottom hotter and thus less dense than the air located at the exit of the chimney. Air resulting collector is thus subjected to the Archimedes' thrust and tends to create an artificial wind at the base of the chimney. In this zone, one places turbines charged to transform the kinetic power of the air into electricity.
The power of the installation is proportional to the height of the chimney, the surface of the collector and the solar potential of the site.

Evolution towards the solar mountain
The Solar Mountain is an evolution of the concept of the solar chimney.
The disadvantages inherent in the solar towers lie mainly in:
• the technical difficulty and constructive of a tower of very great dimensions (in particular in the zones of the sphere subjected to the seisms and/or strong winds)
• impact on the landscape of a tower
• the capital cost of such a structural exploit
The original idea of the project results from a commonplace: the surface of the sphere provides natural supports thanks to the relief and in particular thanks to the mountains! Consequently to go up to 200, 1000 or 3000 meters does not represent any more one major technical exploit insofar as the conduit of the chimney marries the relief and regularly takes support on the ground.

Description of the system

Axes of development

The axes of development of the concept were the following:
• To provide a modular system being able to grow or decrease according to the energy needs: the length of the Conduit of chimney can be increased as the surface of the collector.
• To limit to the maximum the print on the landscape and the ecology of the site.
• To propose a light device whose installation does not create any building site: the solar mountain is only made up of elements inflated or tended, the Fondations are water ballasts.
• To propose an adaptable project Low tech in all the zones of the sphere and not requiring a very qualified labor. The assembly is simple and is done starting from ready-made units by industry (inflatable posts, ballasts of anchoring, membrane external precut with its parts of anchoring…)
• To create a system of production of energy ensuring a minimal electric production any hour and any date. The thermal ballast makes it possible to ensure the continuity of the energy production during the night.
• To return maintenance and easy maintenance and to reduce the costs of Investment by using not very expensive materials and little dirtying like the external membrane in ETFE, so as to allow microphone-power stations to be profitable in difficult zones of access.

The Solar Mountain is a modular system. Starting from a minimal constitutive base, it is possible to increase or decrease the size of the chimney as the surface of the collectors according to the energy needs.

Objective of lightness and transparency
The solar mountain tends to reduce the gray energy. The matter used for the project functions primarily in Traction and is thus not subjected to instabilities of the compressed matter. The compressed parts are air or water. The other favors this constructive philosophy lies in the very weak weight and obstruction of the matter to be transferred onto site. The building site itself will be thus limited to the equipment of electricity of power - turbines, electric transformers. Lastly, each module of 12 m X 12 m has a system independent of recovery of rain water in the form of water ballast.

Structure of the collector
The collector consists of three elements:
• a transparent Membrane which lets pass the Lumière but not the Chaleur
• of the inflated posts stabilized by shrouds or stay cables which hold the membrane
• water ballasts which play the part of foundations by anchoring the stays and the membrane
The anchoring ensured by the inflated water ballast carries out triple function:
• To ballast the collector with respect to the efforts of rising due to the wind and to ensure side stability by solid friction.
• To store the heat of the day to restore it the night thanks to the thermal Inertia of water.
• To recover rainwater of the site.

Related articles
Renewable energy
Solar energy
Wind energy

this page of the website is still under construction, some links don't work yet!
External Links
• the official site of Elioth
• an article on the solar mountain in actu-environment
• an article on the solar mountain in Le Monde

Meteorological Reactors