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Directory:Floating Solar Chimney
Solar Aero-Electric Power Plants
Floating Solar Chimney Technology is an innovative, cost-effective solar technology, developed by Prof. Dr Engineer Christos Papageorgiou, using physics, Mathematics and the existing and experimentally tested Solar Chimney technology.
Contrast to conventional solar chimney technology with concrete chimneys
The solar chimney is an electricity power generating method with the warm air produced from a large solar collector up drafting through a tall concrete chimney. The electricity production units are air turbines placed on the stream of the moving updraft warm air. The energy source is the solar irradiation arriving on the earth’s surface.
The earliest description of a solar chimney power station was written in 1931. A model was built in 1982 in Manzaranas, Spain. The chimney, a steel concrete construction, had 10 m diameter, 195 m height and the maximum power output was about 50 kW. The power plant operated successfully for approximately 8 years establishing experimentally this power production technology.
The efficiency of this technology depends mainly on the chimney’s height. Height creates the main obstacle to reinforced concrete structures since they have to solve problems related to the chimney’s foundations, erection and the respective high construction costs.
It is characteristic that even if a chimney of 1000m height could be erected the annual efficiency could be less than 1% of the solar energy arriving on horizontal surface of its collector. Thus solar collectors should be very large and expensive.
In this respect the conclusion is, concerning the concrete solar chimney, that although the technology is functioning, the construction and production cost is very high while the constructional problems related to the power production efficiency remain unresolved.
Floating Solar Chimney innovation
The proposed innovation handles the obstacle of the rigid and concrete chimney by changing the logic governing the plant. Given that the power producing natural phenomenon is based on the thermal air stream moved through the internal space of the chimney, the aim is not the chimney itself but the internal channel allowing the up drafting of the thermal air produced in its lower part by the solar collector’s greenhouse effect.
Instead of trying to solve problems of ground foundation, unbending, heavy and high cost solar chimney structures, it proceeds with a light structure, made of a set of lifting balloon rings filled with a lighter than the air gas and thus balancing the structure’s weight with the buoyancy forces. Thus the structure named FSC can be higher giving to its respective Power Plant higher efficiencies (up to 5% for FSCs up to 3 Km) with a much smaller construction cost. The respective solar collectors become smaller due to the higher efficiency and thus with lower costs.
The construction materials for these light structures are already in the market. Light structure problems at this scale have been solved in a variety of other projects already constructed.
The proposed innovation constitutes the backbone of the proposed “Solar Aero-Electric Power Plants" (SAEPS) that may demonstrate construction costs ranging between 400 ÷ 700 USD/KW or even less producing at least 3000 KWh/per year per rated KW. Thus the production cost of KWh by these SAEPPs could be less than 1.5 cents of USD.
Using the example of a FSC Power Station of 100 MW of a construction cost between 30 millions € to 60 millions € and of an annual production to 300 GWh and furthermore estimating the average selling price of its renewable KWh to 0.07 € and its production cost to less than 0.02 €, the repayment period for the investment will be between 2 years to 4 years. This Floating Solar Chimney Power plant can operate easily, following the appropriate maintenance, for 30 years. 
It would be seen for miles, like wind turbines on a hilltop.
Effect on Weather Patterns
Looking for information on studies or theories about how this structure would/could affect local weather patterns:
- Disruptive effect on fronts
- Generator of local weather phenomena
- Destructive local wind patterns (wind shear)
Inventor: Prof. Christos Papageorgiou
- Efficiency of Solar Air Turbine Power Stations with Floating Solar Chimneys by C.D. Papageorgiou (Greece) (ACTA Press)
- Google > floating solar chimney
- Sea Based Solar Tower Farms (HalfBakery; Dec 18 2005)
- Matinee Energy
Prof. Christos Papageorgiou
See Discussion page