Australia-based EnviroMission Ltd recently announced plans to build two solar updraft towers that span hundreds of acres in La Paz County, Arizona. Solar updraft technology sounds promising enough: generate hot air with a giant greenhouse, channel the air into a chimney-like device, and let the warm wind turn a wind turbine to produce energy. The idea isn’t new — it’s been around since the mid 1980’s — but it’s only now starting to take off.

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EnviroMission Ltd’s new initiative is not a small project by any means. The towers will each have 2,400 foot chimneys over a greenhouse measuring four square miles. For some perspective, that’s nearly as tall as the recently-completed Burj Dubaistructure.

There’s still plenty of work to be done before the $750 million, 200 megawatt project can begin. The Southern California Public Power Authority recently approved EnviroMission as a provider, but solar updraft hasn’t yet been proven to be commercially viable. That means EnviroMission might have trouble raising enough cash to get started. Still, we’re excited at the prospect of a new tool in our alternative energy arsenal — the more options we have, the better.

+ EnviroMission

Via Green Inc