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
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
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.