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China's first solar chimney plant starts operating in desert
(source: Xinhua)
Updated: 2010-12-28
- A water-tower-like chimney is eye catching in the desolate desert, where under the chimney is a glass-made house sitting above the ground.
This is a solar chimney plant system in Jinshawan, Wuhai city of North China's Inner Mongolia autonomous region, which is the country's first power plant that combines solar and wind power into power generation.
Starting operation on Dec 10, the 200-kilowatt power generating unit can supply 400,000 kWh of electricity per year, saving the equivalent of 100 tons of coal and 900 tons of water, compared with thermal power generation.
China has been making efforts in emission control to fulfill its commitment of reducing carbon dioxide emissions per unit of gross domestic product (GDP) by 40 to 50 percent by 2020.
Based on the proposal for the country's twelfth "Five-Year Program", which was released by the Communist Party of China Central Committee in late October, China should make the reduction of energy consumption intensity and carbon dioxide emission "binding goals" during the 2011-15 period.
Supported by the Ministry of Science and Technology and the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Regional Government, the project was co-designed and -developed by Inner Mongolia University of Science and Technology (IMUST) and the Technical University of Madrid, Spain.
"It took us three years to solve the technical bottlenecks," said Professor Wei Yili with the IMUST, who is a team member on the project.
The facility, composed of three parts -- solar collectors, a chimney and a turbine generator -- absorbs heat from the hot sand under the glass cover using the greenhouse effect, transmitting the hot air flows to the chimney and generating power by turning the turbine inside of it.
The energy stored in the sand, heated by the sunshine during the day, will discharge heat at night and continue to run the turbine, according to Wei.
"A feat of this facility is that an air door has been added to integrate wind power into the power supply, which enables the system to operate in winter when there is minimal sunshine. In this way, the system can operate 365 days of a year around the clock," he said.
Funded by a local company in Inner Mongolia with 1.38 billion yuan ($208 million), the project construction started in May 2009. It will consist of three phases covering a combined area of 277 hectares and its total generation capacity will reach 27.5 MW after the final phase is completed by 2013.
The power generated by the plant will then be transferred to the grid of Inner Mongolia and Hebei Province that provides electricity to Beijing, along with Hebei and Inner Mongolia.
Wei also noted that the most important substance in the technology was sand, which absorbs heat and accumulated energy. Therefore, the vast desert of west Inner Mongolia becomes the perfect site for locating such a plant.
More solar chimney plants of the kind will be built, taking the advantage of China's 2.6-million-square-kilometer desert as "resources", Wei said.
This project does only occupy the desert and wasteland. The operation and maintenance is also very simple and will produce no pollution, so it displays excellent performance in environmental protection. As the collector of the greenhouse covers vast areas of desert, it can effectively remove dust storms, which is important.
"Energy saving, plus restraining sandstorms by covering the moving sand, the solar chimney plant is of great importance in improving climate," he noted.

OFFICIAL CHINESE SOURCES ( is The Chinese Central Government's Official Web)

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Once the construction is completed in In 2013, the Chinese solar updraft tower SUP will be similar to that of the solar chimney power plant SCPP project of company Ingeneria-Campo3 for Ciudad Real, Fuente el Fresno (40 MW) in Spain, but ten times less powerful than the projects from society Enviromission at Buronga in Australia (200 MW) or in Arizona in the USA (2 x 200 MW).
With its 200kW, the prototype of the solar tower opened the 10/12/2010 at Jinshawan, Wuhai Mongolia (China), is four times more powerful than the previous prototype built by the German company Schlaich - Bergermann und Partners SBP in years 1982-1989 in Manzanares, Spain.


2nd International Conference on Solar Chimney Power Technology, held on Bochum – Germany, 28-30 september 2010
Event Details
2nd International Conference on “Solar Chimney Power Technology”
28 - 30 September 2010
Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany
Organizer: Ruhr-Universität Bochum

Aerodynamik und Strömungsmechanik im Bauwesen
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Rüdiger Höffer
Universitätsstraße 150 44801 Bochum
Contact Address:

Homepage URL:

Conference Proceedings
If you were not able to attend the conference but would like to order the conference proceedings, please send an email to A limited number is still available for the price of 40 € (plus S&H).

Solar Chimney Power Plants – SCPPs – produce electric power from solar radiation. The working principle is simple: A huge chimney in an arid area with sufficiently high solar irradiation is surrounded by a large glass roof, the collector. The warm air collected under the roof flows towards the chimney. There, on its way, it drives turbines connected to generators which create electric power. The natural fuel of SCPPs – solar irradiation – is carbon-free, inexhaustible, sustainable, costfree and practically unlimited. It is able to satisfy the power demand of mankind at present and in future.
The solar chimney power technology is simple, robust, long lasting and economic. A SCPP will provide electric power over many decades, up to 100 years. The feasibility of the SCPP technology has been demonstrated successfully by the famous 1982 Manzanares-Prototype and – more recently – by a number of project studies.
The aim of the conference is to bring together experts from all of the different fields involved to identify the state of the art in thermodynamics, fluid-mechanics, structural design, as well as in construction techniques, and in power-harvesting of the SCPP technology, in order to identify possibilities for further economic optimization.

Conference Topics
• Thermodynamic theory and simulation results
• Fluid dynamics of SCPPs, internally and externally
• Wind loading of SCPPs
• Structural Problems of the solar chimney
• Radiation optimization of the collector glass
• Structural problems of the collector roof
• Construction problems
• Energy cost estimates
• Maintenance
• Risk analysis and service life
• Social consequences

International Scientific Advisory Board
Prof. John Abel, Ph.D., Cornell University, USA
Prof. Theo W. von Backström, Ph.D., University of Stellenbosch, South Africa
Dr.-Ing. Rudolf Bergermann, Schlaich Bergermann Partner, Germany
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Rolf Breitenbücher, Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany
Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Breuer, RWTH Aachen, Germany
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Dr.-Ing. E.h. Claudio Borri, Università degli Studi di Firenze, Italy
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Manfred Curbach, TU Dresden, Germany
Prof. Dr. Manfred Fischedick, Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy, Germany
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Michael Hirschfeld, Hochtief Construction AG, Germany
Prof. Detlev G. Kröger, Ph.D., University of Stellenbosch, South Africa
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Ludger Lohaus, Leibniz University Hannover, Germany
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Francesco Martelli, Universita degli Studi di Firenze, Italy
Prof. René Motro, Université de Montpellier, France
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Piotr Noakowski, FaAA, Düsseldorf, Germany
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Dr. h.c. mult. Jörg Schlaich, Schlaich Bergermann Partner, Germany
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Dr.-Ing. E.h. Gerhart I. Schuëller, University of Innsbruck, Austria
M. Sc. Phys. Wolf-Walter Stinnes, GreenTower Ltd., Pretoria, South Africa
Dr.-Ing. Jürgen Strauss, Heitkamp Ingenieur- und Kraftwerksbau, Germany
R. Sundaram, Sundaram Architects PVT. LTD., India
Prof. Dr. Yukio Tamura, Tokyo Polytechnic University, Japan
Prof. Xinping Zhou, Huazhong University of Science and Technology Wuhan, China
Prof. Gideon P.A.G. van Zijl, Ph.D., Delft University of Technology, Netherlands, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa
Local Organisation Commitee
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Dr.-Ing. E.h. Wilfried B. Krätzig, Chairman, Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany
Dr. Hermann Bottenbruch, Former President of CICIND, Germany
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Reinhard Harte, Berg. University Wuppertal, Germany
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Rüdiger Höffer, Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Peter Mark, Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Hans-Jürgen Niemann, Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany

Invited Lectures
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Dr. h.c. mult. J. Schlaich, SBP Berlin:
Concept and motivation of solar updraft power technology

Prof. Dr. M. Fischedick, Dr. P. Viebahn, S. Samadi, Wuppertal Institut:
Solar updraft technology and global energy scenarios

Thermodynamics and Machinery
Prof. Dr. D.G. Kröger, U. Stellenbosch, Dr. J. Pretorius, ESCOM; Cape Town:
Basic theory and numerical simulation of solar updraft power plants

Dr. T. P. Fluri, Prof. Dr. T.W. von Backström, U. Stellenbosch:
Solar chimney turbine layout and design considerations

Dr.-Ing. H. Pastohr, Astrium, München:
Thermo-dynamical model of solar updraft power plants

Prof. Dr. Ch. D. Pagageorgiou, NTU Athens:
Solar chimney technology without solar collectors

Dr. R. O. Manyala, Maseno University, Kenya:
The effect of collector temperatures on power output of solar updraft plant

Prof. Dr. S. Larbi, A. Bouhdjar, T. Chergui, National Polytec, Algier:
Thermo-fluid aspect analysis in solar chimney power plants

Prof. Dr.-Ing. M. A. dos Santos Bernardes, CEFET/MG, Belo Horizonte, Brasil:
Thermal semicondutors as a power control strategy for SCPTs

M. Kuhn, Prof. Dr. T. W. von Backström, U. Stellenbosch:
The influence of tip clearance on the performance of solar chimney turbines

Wind exposure
Prof. Dr.-Ing. R. Höffer, Dipl.phys. V. Görnandt, RUB, Prof. Dr.-Ing. H.-J. Niemann,
Dr.-Ing. N. Hölscher, N&P:
Wind loading patterns for the collector glass roof

Prof. Dr.-Ing. H.-J. Niemann, Dr.-Ing. N. Hölscher, Dipl.-Ing. W. Hubert, N&P:
Static, quasi.static and resonant wind effects on GIGA –Towers

Prof. Dr.-Ir. H. van Koten, TU Delft, Dipl.-Ing. J. Sahlmen, RUB, Dipl.-Ing. W. Hubert, N&P:
Vortex excitation at very high Reynolds numbers

Prof. Dr. X. Zhou, F. Wang, Huazhong, U. Wuhan:
Pressure distribution on solar thermal power plant chimneys in thunderstorms

Alternative energy concepts
Dipl.-Ing. F. Henseler, Corporate Engineering, Essen:
Is nuclear power a bridging technology for Europe?

Dr. Gerd Dibowski, DLR, Köln:
How cost-effective are solar-thermal power plants?

Dr.-Ing. H. Gladen, Dipl.-Ing. L. Schnatbaum-Laumann, SM AG, Erlangen:
The parabola trough power plants Andasol

Prof. Dr. P. Moncarz, Exponent Corporation, Menlo Park, USA:
Geo-thermical electricity generation using the Hot Dry Rock concept

Green Tower
Prof. Dr. A. Thomashausen, Pretoria:
GreenTower in world politics

M. Hummel, GreenTower Ltd., München:
Why Solar Updraft Power presently competes with classical power technologies

W. Ademes, Entwicklungs-Consult, Mülheim:
GreenTower with energy storage – Optimum base and peak load power station

W.-W. Stinnes, GreenTower (GT) Ltd., Pretoria:
Humus as backbone of GT revenues – Green revolution and C02-sequestration

Equipment, glass collector
Dr.rer.nat. V. Wittwer, ISE; Dr.rer.nat. L. Herlitze, Interpane:
High-transparent glass panes with multi-functional coatings

Prof. Dr.-Ing. R. Höffer, Dipl.-Ing. C. Wevers, RUB:
Investigations of transport and deposition of dust on the collector surface

Dr.-Ing. J. Kuck, Dr.-Ing. C. Ziller, F&W, Aachen, Dipl.-Ing. L. Schnatbaum-Laumann,
Dr.-Ing. H. Gladen, SM AG, Erlangen:
Methodical approach to design the solar collector of a solar chimney power plant

Financial aspects
Dr.-Ing. R. Bergermann, SBP, Stuttgart:
Realization and costs of solar updraft power plants

Dr. D. Bonnelle, ENS, Lyon:
An economically realistic growth path towards kilometric chimneys

O. Petersen, OP Software, Kreuzlingen:
Step-wise construction and financing of SCPPs with light-weight steel towers

Prof. Dr. W. Breuer, RWTH Aachen
Solar Chimney Power Technology - An Economist's Point of View

Optimization and durability
Dr. Hermann Bottenbruch:
Complete solar energy supply system for Africa and Europe with solar updraft
power plants during the present century

Dr. H. Bottenbruch, Prof. Dr. W. B. Krätzig, K&P:
Optimum design of solar chimneys

Dr. H. Bottenbruch, Prof. Dr.-Ing. P. Noakowski, Exponent, Düsseldorf:
Optimum design of the hot air injection into the solar chimney

Dr. R. de Richter, Tour Solaire, Montpellier, Dr. Sylvain Caillol, ICG Montpellier:
Can airflow and radiation under the collector glass contribute to SUPPs’

Dr.-Ing. J. Strauss, Heitkamp, Herne, Alexander Kreiner, Gleitbau Salzburg:
Optimized erection technology of GIGA towers

Prof. Dr. J. Schneider, TU Darmstadt
Optimization of the Structural Capacity and Thermal Behaviour of a SCPP Glass Roof

Structural aspects
Prof. Dr h.c. C. Borri, F. Lupi, E. Marino, U. Florence:
Optimum shell design of solar updraft towers

Prof. Dr.-Ing. W.B. Krätzig, K&P, Prof. Dr. G. I. Schuëller, U. Innsbruck:
Safety, reliability and durability concepts for solar updraft power components

Prof. Dr.-Ing. R. Harte, U. Wuppertal; Dipl.-Ing. M. Graffmann, Dr.-Ing. R. Wörmann, K&P:
Progress in the structural design of solar chimneys

Prof. Dr.-Ing. R. Harte, U. Wuppertal, K. Stopp, Dr.-Ing. M. Andres, K&P:
Soil-structure-interaction of large concrete shells

Prof. Dr.-Ing. L. Lohaus, U. Hannover:
Concrete concepts for solar chimneys

Prof. Dr.-Ing. P. Mark, Dipl.-Ing. A. Ahrens, RUB, Dr.-Ing. D. Lehnen, Dr.-Ing. T. Pfister,Zerna Engineers:
Life-cycle-management and design of large shell structures

Dr.-Ing. Ch. Lang, Dr.-Ing. F. Altmeier, Dipl.-Ing. J. Weigl, LAW Engineers:
Earthquake behaviour of solar updraft power plant chimneys

Prof. Dr.-Ing. M. Helmus, N. Warkus, U. Wuppertal, M. Lorek, BICON, Windhoek:
Solar chimneys in Southern Africa –Materials and methods


june 18, 2009

A prototype Energy Tower is currently under construction in the Israeli desert.

Malvern Spraytec plays key role in revolutionary ‘Energy Towers’ technology

Accurate spray measurement crucial to major energy project

A Malvern Instruments Spraytec system is to be used in an ambitious alternative energy project - ‘Energy Towers’ - currently under development by the Israeli and Indian Governments. Energy Towers is the name of a technology developed at the Technion Israel Institute of Technology to use the hot, dry air that is abundant in arid countries for cost-effective electricity production.

The technology harnesses the power generated by the downdraft phenomenon caused by sprayed water droplets: consistent droplet size is crucial and will be monitored by the Malvern Spraytec.

Energy Towers is an impressive concept. The tower itself comprises a hollow shaft, over 400m tall and 100m wide, into which water (usually brackish or sea water) is sprayed at the top opening. The water partially evaporates and cools the surrounding air which then sinks and produces a downdraught capable of moving a system of turbines and electricity generators placed at the bottom of the shaft. The tower would generate energy 24 hours a day, with minimal environmental impact. Unlike wind energy, hydropower and biomass, Energy Towers requires no collection device to capture solar radiation.

Tests have shown that a variation in sprayed droplet size can dramatically affect output: consistency is vital in order to achieve optimal performance, and as a result a Malvern Spraytec has been specified to play a key role in the spray system.

The Spraytec delivers real time, high-speed measurements of high-concentration sprayed liquid droplets. It combines laser diffraction particle characterization with patented high concentration data inversion routines, ideal for the analysis of sprays with high or rapidly changing concentrations.

Spraytec’s robust and efficiently sealed construction makes it ideal for highly demanding applications, such as the Energy Tower, where accuracy is essential. A large clearance between transmitter and receiver modules is designed to accommodate sprays with large cone angles with minimal contamination of the optical system. Both modules can be easily mounted on a custom rig. Real-time spray measurement can be taken at speeds of up to 2500Hz giving a time resolution of one measurement every 400 microseconds, a measurement speed which is software configurable. Spraytec software provides a variety of statistical displays, accessed through a user-friendly interface, to enable quick data analysis and comprehension without the need to export data to additional analysis programs.

A prototype Energy Tower is currently under construction in the Israeli desert.

this page of the website is still under construction.


Published: Monday, July 13 2009

Companies set up Sahara concentrated solar initiative

A group of solar, engineering and financial companies signed a memorandum of understanding to set up the Desertec Industrial Initiative (DII), aimed at promoting concentrated solar power (CSP) generation from the deserts of North Africa.
A group of solar, engineering and financial companies signed a memorandum of understanding to set up the Desertec Industrial Initiative (DII), which is aimed at promoting concentrated solar power (CSP) generation from the deserts of North Africa.
The 12 founder companies include solar companies Solar Millennium, Abengoa and Schott, engineering companies Siemens and ABB, utilities RWE and E.ON and financial companies Deutsche Bank, HSH Nordbank, and MunichRe.
Randibo, un projet Margotweb
In a statement, Desertec says the companies will establish a planning entity set up as German limited liability company, which will be owned by the Desertec Foundation and shareholders from a variety of different countries.
DII says its main goals are “the drafting of concrete business plans and associated financing concepts, and the initiating of industrial preparations for building a large number of networked solar thermal power plants distributed throughout the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region.”
It adds that it aims to produce sufficient power to meet around 15% of Europe’s electricity requirements and a substantial portion of the power needs of the producer countries. DII says it aims to develop viable investment plans within three years of its establishment.
The initiative says it will provide greater energy security for both EU and MENA countries; growth and investment for the MENA region as a result of substantial private investment; safeguard future water supply in MENA countries by utilising excess energy in desalination plants; and make a “significant contribution” to achieving the EU and Germany’s emission reduction targets.
E.ON Climate and Renewables managing director Hervé Touati says: “We share the DESERTEC vision of exploiting the sun’s energy on a grand scale to supply power to Europe and the African countries.” He added “E.ON is constantly expanding its involvement in solar power, especially in the field of solar thermal power plants – as envisaged for supplying power in the Desertec Initiative.”
Abengoa Solar chief executive and chairman Santiago Seage says: “Today we are building North Africa's first private integrated solar combined cycle plant in Algeria and the region’s largest utility-owned integrated solar combined cycle plant in Morocco. Tomorrow Abengoa’s experience in transmission, desalination and solar projects in North Africa will make a significant contribution to the success of the Desertec objectives.”
Abengoa is best known for its solar tower technology, but is also involved in large scale projects using parabolic troughs. Fellow solar company Solar Millennium has developed several large scale CSP plants using parabolic troughs in Spain and the US.
Utilities E.ON and RWE have both recently bought into solar ventures. Siemens is the market leader for steam turbines for solar thermal power plants, while both ABB and Siemens have expertise in the High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) transmission technology that will be needed to connect power plants in North Africa to Europe.
Ben Backwell

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