Solar Wind Energy Tower, Inc. (SWET) Shatters Expectations for Wind Energy with Hybrid Solar-Thermal Tower SystemFriday, May 17th, 2013
Solar Wind Energy Tower is an ingenious little company with some key patent applications on their tech, including an improved wind energy power transmission system using multi-stage variable hydraulic drives that can achieve high efficiencies across a wide range of speeds, and an energy tower having external wind capturing capacity that dovetails exceptionally well with their flagship Solar Wind Downdraft Tower concept.
Effectively, this is a solar/wind concept which can also be constructed with large, vertical vanes that help to capture additional prevailing winds, but which primarily operates on very simple downdraft physics. Basically you have a huge hollow cylinder structure with wind tunnels at the base that have turbines in them. The design functions exceptionally well in hot environments and represents a large-scale passive capture strategy using water which is misted out across the opening and evaporates in the hot, dry air, forcing the outside warmer air to downdraft through the cylinder at speeds in excess of 50mph.
The Solar Wind Energy Tower is remarkably efficient, generating electricity at a cost per kilowatt similar to typical coal or gas-fired plants. The company moved to further improve this efficiency back in April, partnering strategically with Commonwealth Dynamics, who have developed (in conjunction with the Whiting Turner Contracting Company) an adaptation of a hyperbolic, thin-walled concrete structure. This key breakthrough in the Solar Wind Energy Tower’s design offers multiple advantages, from drastically reduced cost, complexity, and time for the building of the structure, to elimination of onsite assembly/fabrication requirements when using steel. The company’s goal has always been to offer the most cost effective and efficient clean energy system available, confident that to truly be successful, an alternative energy producer must be able to survive and thrive without subsidies.
President and CEO of SWET, Ronald Pickett, a 40-year veteran in the construction, development, and technology arena, who has nurtured three highly-innovative startups from inception through to public ownership, noted that steel was still a valid design choice in regions that called for even taller structures to be built, but that this new thin-walled hyperbolic concrete implementation was ideal for the towers. While they certainly won’t be ruling it out, the price/performance metrics on the new Commonwealth Dynamics implementation has already made it the de facto standard in tower design for SWET.
Utilizing new software which can calculate and predict energy production for a Solar Wind Downdraft Tower based on empirical, local weather data, SWET has managed to shave a whopping 750 feet off the basic tower height (down to 2,250 in the specs). This software allows for dynamically configuring tower height/diameter before building, as well as the amount of water appropriate to be used as fuel. We are talking roughly 500 megawatt hours net (1.25k gross potential at maximum capacity) on the specs for the first San Luis Tower at just 60% capacity (435 Mwh average across an entire year when factoring in the winter season). This global energy generation calculator software is indispensible as an analytical tool moving forward for SWET and represents a year or more of development time by the company, as well as the ideal means of positioning the Solar Wind Downdraft Tower concept before global markets. SWET can go to an interested party with accurate specs and potential output data with data-driven analytics to show the client, making commercialization, especially in the EU and other green energy hungry markets, an easy sell.
Selling clean energy to the grid also opens up the carbon credit angle and SWET has wasted no time moving to take advantage of this strategic play, scoping out the potential of a planned project in Mexico to produce international, highly-marketable carbon credits, as well as the aforementioned location in San Luis, Arizona, which should generate some $250M in investment tax credits (based on IRS guideline projections). The cachet value alone in global markets for the design, when fully commercialized, is profound enough to grab the market’s attention and SWET is well aware of this fact. They have a robust, highly passive, and extremely efficient green energy production model on their hands here and are looking to push the envelope in hybridized wind/solar generation technology.
The running idea of building large compounds, consisting of many such towers, deployed in optimal locales and design-scaled using the company’s software to further tweak the yields, introduces even greater efficiency into this model, as associated construction, labor, water sourcing, and the like can be localized/streamlined. It is almost like sinking wells in a grid pattern to optimize hydrocarbon extraction on a piece of given acreage, only here we are building up, sky-drilling for premium thermal vectors and creating the downdraft towers. The most efficient turbines at the base, the new thin-walled hyperbolic concrete for the structure, and highly efficient water distribution systems all combine in this tower design, taking full advantage of the underlying physics in a truly ingenious way.
For more info visit www.CleanWindEnergyTower.com
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