A new type of solar plant is set to be built in the Arizona desert, with Australian entrepreneur and CEO of EnviroMission Roger Davey detailing its design. It will be made up of a tower 2,600-feet tall, which will make it the second tallest building in the world, that will use the updraft of heated air to power turbines, generating the electricity. The air itself is heated by the sun itself, with the air trapped underneath a translucent covering. This works in an improved manner to standard solar plants, as due to ground heat retention, there will still be warm air generated throughout parts of the night.
The structure itself will be built with cement, with no support wires, making it a simple design. This helps keep the costs relatively low, at around $750 million. This is about 3 times more than the for example, the Nevada Solar One plant, which costs $250 million to build. However, the expected generated electricity of this plant is 200MW per day, compared with the Nevada Solar One’s mere 64MW. On top of this, the new Arizona plant is expected to last around 80 years, far longer than the usual life of a solar power facility.
A prototype of the tower has already been built in Spain, generating 50kw. This proof of concept has emboldened EnviroMission to push for construction of this new plant.