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The US has been supporting various forms of renewable energy for the past few years, and in particular it has done much to encourage the development of the wind industry, including offering a tax credit to incentivise investors.
Unfortunately wind power still suffers from two major problems that are inhibiting its wide spread deployment; it is expensive, and it is inconsistent.
One company believes that it may have the answer to solving at least one of these problems - man made wind.
Clean Wind Energy Tower Inc. has developed a system called the Downdraft Tower which creates artificial wind currents that can then be used to consistently power wind turbines.
The tower consists of a massive hollow cylindrical structure. Solar technology at the top of the tower is used to heat the air, into which a fine mist of water is sprayed. The water evaporates heating the air even further. The hot, dense air then falls down the tower at speeds of up to 50 miles an hour, where it is funnelled into two tunnels and directed towards wind turbines outside of the tower.
Related article: Has Belgium Cracked the Problem of Storing Wind Power Electricity?
The idea is that only few turbines would be needed to take advantage of the wind, and that they would produce energy in a more efficient manner, and therefore the cost would be lower. However the Downdraft Tower itself is hugely expensive to install, not to mention requiring a constant supply of water.
By. Joao Peixe of Oilprice.com
Joao is a writer for Oilprice.com