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Rapid overview to understand what is all about

Quick Start:

As a matter of fact, all you need to know is that warm air goes up (lighter than air) and that cold air goes down (havier than air).

- watch this animation explaining the Solar Chimney's working principle
SWF file: open with Internet Explorer (0.1Mo)

- see the following Enviromission 3.1 min movie!
WMV file: open with BSplayer (7Mo)

- discover in this scientific article the physical laws and mathematical equations
PDF file (0.1Mo)

That's it! You have succeeded the most difficult part of the task!
You can now visit the other pages of this website, and discover the different types of meteorological reactors: solar chimneys, energy towers, vortex...
a Solar Millenium illustration  www.solarmillenium.com
a Solar Millenium illustration www.solarmillenium.com

But to which category of renewable energies does the "solar chimney" belong?


The meteorological reactors take advantage of “solar thermal energy”, or in other words utilize “heat” from the sun.
Briefly: the main applications of solar energy are the following:
• Photosynthesis: used by trees and plants to grow and which converts CO2 into O2 and biomass;
• Photovoltaics: semi-conductors which convert solar energy (light and infra-red radiation) directly into electricity
• Solar thermal energy: heat from the sun

Solar thermal collectors are defined as low-, medium-, or high-temperature collectors.
Low temperature collectors are flat plates generally used to heat swimming pools, or also thermal chimneys for passive cooling of buildings.
Medium-temperature collectors are usually flat plates but are used for creating hot water for residential and commercial use. Solar cookers are also in this category.
Large capacity giant solar greenhouses are used for updraft solar chimney power plants: this is also a medium-temperature solar thermal collector.
High temperature collectors concentrate sunlight using mirrors or lenses and are generally used for electric power production. The efficiency of heat engines increases with the temperature of the heat source. To achieve this in solar thermal energy plants, solar radiation is concentrated by mirrors or lenses to obtain higher temperatures — a technique called Concentrated Solar Power (CSP).



‘Linear Fresnel’ power plants uses long parallel lines of flat mirrors that concentrate sunlight to heat water in an overhead collector tube, producing steam to drive a conventional steam turbine-generator.
‘Parabolic trough’ power plants is constructed as a long parabolic mirror (usually coated silver or polished aluminum) with a Dewar tube running its length at the focal point. Sunlight is reflected by the mirror and concentrated on the Dewar tube. Parabolic dish/trough technology uses curved mirrors, directly heating oil rather than water (Linear Fesnel).
‘Dish Stirling’ technology combines a mirrored concentrator “the solar dish”, which is simply a parabolic mirror or set of mirrors, and a high-efficiency Stirling engine specially designed to convert sunlight to electricity.
'Central Tower' or 'Heliostat' power plants is a type of solar furnace using a tower to receive the focused sunlight. It uses an array of flat, movable mirrors (called heliostats) to focus the sun's rays upon a collector tower (sometimes called ‘solar tower’) to heat molten salts.



In the category of low temperature collectors there is the thermal chimney / a way of improving the natural ventilation of buildings by using convection of air heated by passive solar energy. A simple description of a thermal chimney is that of a vertical shaft utilizing solar energy to enhance the natural stack ventilation through a building.


Meteorological Reactors
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