Eco Innovator March 2012


Solar Tower for WA

A new entrant to the Western Australian power supply industry, Hyperion Energy, is proposing to develop a Solar Updraft Tower in the states's mid west region.

The company said that having considered a number of options, it has purchased a 127,000 hectare site surrounding the township of Tuckanarra near the towns of Cue and Meekatharra. The site is next to the Great Northern Highway which gives access to Geraldton 400 kilometres away.

The site is flat, and has an average annual horizontal solar radiation of 2300 MJ per square metre. It has a low risk of a natural disaster such as earthquake, cyclone or hail storm, and is close to major mines.

A pre-feasibility study was commissioned by Perth based Hyperion Energy to assess the viability of selected sites for topography, meteorology, soil conditions and earthquake loads.

The Tower will utilize the latest solar thermal/ convection technologies.

An artistís impression of an Hyperion Energy Solar Tower.

Hyperion Energy said there are a number of large scale solar projects at various stages of construction and operation around the world, as solar towers are increasingly seen as the best large scale solution to renewable power.

The project will open up in the mid west region to new opportunities for employment, State and Federal royalties, the building of communities closer to mining sites, other green power producers, tourism, new mines and expansion of existing mines, and elimination of many onsite diesel/gas power generation units, said the company.

Solar Updraft Towers work on the simple principle that hot air rises. Air is heated by the sun under a large translucent roof and then sucked in by a central vertical cylindrical tube or chimney. The updraft drives turbines/generators and produces electricity.

Hyperion Energy says electricity from Solar Updraft Towers is the most cost-effective when compared with other solar power plants. Due to the soil under the collector working as a natural heat storage system, the Towers can operate 24/7 on pure solar energy. No cooling water is needed as for some solar thermal power plants. The towers are reliable and the turbines and generators are the plant's only moving parts.






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