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Is Man-Made Wind the Key to Wind Energy?

By Joao Peixe | Wed, 06 February 2013 23:04 | 2

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?

Downdraft Tower

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

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  • Solar on February 10 2013 said:
    If I may , I know it's just a typo, but hot air does not fall, cool dense air does, assuming the air surrounding it is warmer.

    Please don't be offended, I'm certain this was simple oversight on your part, I know what deadlines do, not to mention I'm dyslexic and had to reread it several times to make sure I read it correctly.

    "The water evaporates heating the air even further. The hot, dense air then falls"...

    This should have read: Cool, not hot.

    The water evaporates COOLING the air even further. The COOL, dense air then falls down the tower at speeds of up to 50 miles an hour,

    From the company's own website:

    "The Downdraft Tower is a hollow cylinder with a water spray system at the top. Pumps deliver water to the top of the Downdraft Tower to spray a fine mist across the entire opening. The water evaporates and cools the hot dry air at the top. The cooled air is denser and heavier than the outside warmer air and falls through the cylinder at speeds up to and in excess of 50 mph, driving the turbines located at the base of the structure. The turbines power generators to produce electricity."

    Now, with all that out of the way.
    I love alternatives, been a pioneer in the industry for more than 25 years.
    We have to quit living in a dream world where fields of dancing flowers and Unicorn farts exist, we need to go nuclear, small generators for every community.
    These generators are a sealed unit about the size of a dump truck.
    Buried underground, they are more than safe, and can be pulled out and replaced in a day, without any interruption to the grid.

    Point is, at this stage of the game, alternatives are in their infancy, they are perfect for stand alone use in remote areas, but to attach them to the grid is absurd, the cost per watt is ridiculous, unless the Govt forces utility Cos. to sell it to customers, then the utility passes the cost onto the end user.
    Costs, that the Federal Govt forced upon the utilities.

    Folks, I love science and alternative energies, it's why I entered the field, but lets be realistic, we cannot compete as a Nation if in the end, we are paying 10 times the cost for energy as our nearest competing Nations.

    Remember when Obama said, under his plan, energy prices would necessarily sky rocket?
    Well, they are and more than you realize, it's not just in the cost of electricity, but the hidden fees, the end cost of a product made here in the US, the truck that ships it.
    It all adds up and in the end we simply can't compete.

    If you think it's all about the environment, then you believed the big lie, and your children will pay the price.

    OK, I'm done ranting, I just hope I was able to get you to question the efficacy behind the so called Green energy movement, a movement that has root ties to a former Communist leader, Gorbachev.

    Think about it....
  • Turboblocke on February 09 2013 said:
    Most odd. Warm air is less dense, so would rise and spraying water that evaporates would cool the air, making it more dense. Sounds like two opposing concepts at work there.

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