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Artist rendition of 1000 meter tower
Artist rendition of 1000 meter tower

Enviro Mission's Solar Tower Technology

Solar Towers are like an inverted funnel, with a wide skirt to collect air to then turn a turbine in the tower.

Company expects that this will be the first renewable energy source to achieve "primary provider" status, meeting the demand profile, at grid-competitive pricing.

24-7 generation possible through the patented solar storage capacity of salts, with selective release of the heat to run the turbines at the base of the tower.



Official Websites


Burronga Station

The first 200 MW Solar Tower is planned to commence construction in Australia in 2006, at Burronga Station, in the Riverland area of New South Wales. The project will be handled by publicly listed company EnviroMission Limited (ASX Code: EVM).

Solar Mission Technologies

SolarMission Technologies owns an exclusive license to the proven, demonstrated and innovative technology referred to as the Solar Tower technology. They aim to create awareness in the US that will result in Solar Tower being constructed in the South West.


  • Solucar Energia - Spanish company is building an 11-megawatt concentrated solar power tower called PS10, that will be the first tower-based solar power system to generate electricity commercially. It consists of a field of large mirrors mounted on computer-controlled pedestals (heliostats) to focus sunlight onto the top of a 330-foot tower, generating steam to turn a turbine and produce electricity.

Video / Animation

Screen grab from video.

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Image:Solar Tower Spain collage 700.jpg


  • Solar Tower > Interview: EnviroMission Solar Tower - Through the patented solar storage capacity of salts, with selective release of the heat to run the turbines at the base of the tower, this will be the first renewable energy source to achieve "primary provider" status, meeting the demand profile, at grid-competitive pricing. (PESN; Oct. 28, 2006)
    • Interview Recording (54:37 mins; 22 MB; MP3) - On Oct. 28, Sterling Allan hosted a live interview with Roger Davey, CEO of EnviroMission of Australia, which is a leading developer of the Solar Tower technology.

How it Works

The solar tower works like a giant inverted funnel, with a large gently sloping transparent outer section feeding into a steep chimney-like neck in the center. Greenhouse effects heat the air underneath, pushing it faster and faster toward the chimney where turbines converted the air flow to electricity.

Due to a large base coverage area of several square kilometers, the air flow built up over that area concentrating in the one place -- the chimney -- would produce some pretty powerful wind flows -- enough to run a number of major cities. Thermodynamic modelling has predicted that a 200MW plant is feasible in engineering terms. Recent discussions have centered around heat storage using water tubes, permitting energy generation for several hours after sunset.

There are very few moving parts -- turbines producing electricity.

David Daudrich, a German scientist, published a book titled "Der tropische Wirbelsturm und das Wirbelkraftwerk" - "Tropical Cyclones and the Cyclone Power Station" First Minute Pocket books, ISBN 978-3-932805-53-0. German language PDF

Daudrich investigates and describes in some detail the vortex mechanism of tropical storms, and how that mechanism could be copied in constructing a power station to make use of the natural mechanisms at work in those storms. He proposes a similar design as envisioned by Enviro Mission, but there are two important differences.

According to Daudrich, water vapor is an essential component of hurricanes and other tropical cyclones: the more the air can be saturated with water vapor the lighter it will be and the easier it will rise and create the necessary draft inside the chimney. He therefore proposes to locate the power plant near a coastline where sea water is abundantly available. Water is also a highly efficient heat collector and storage medium. The water should be warmed up and then be exposed to the incoming air stream in a 'counter-flow' cascade, i.e. the warm water close to the center of the collector and the cooler water towards the outer perimeter. Warm water will also solve the problem of heat storage for night-time function of the generator. The sun should do the necessary warming if an above-ground black pipeline is used for transport.

The chimney itself need not be excessively tall, according to Daudrich, and should flare out at the top, as a circulation will be established where the air released at the top sinks to the ground after expanding outwards and can then be re-cycled through the generator, mimicking the natural hurricane dynamics.

In addition to producing electricity, the Daudrich design would also produce an abundant supply of clean de-salinated water for local use as well as rain clouds that might bring precipitation in a wider circle around the power station.

A different design again, also known as a Solar Tower, has been proposed by Dan Zaslawsky (US Patent 6,647,717). This does not rely on a large solar collector, but relies on hot desert air at high altitudes. The concept involves evaporative cooling at the top of a tall chimney, producing a downdraft of cooled air, driving turbines at the bottom.


pending, Oct. 28, 2006


50kW Manzaneres, Spain Prototype

A 50kW prototype Solar Tower plant was constructed and successfully operated in Manzaneres, Spain, with involvement of the designer, Professor Jörg Schlaich, and the Spanish Government in 1982. The prototype operated for seven years and conclusively proved the technology. The data obtained from this prototype has provided the basis for a scaled up 200MW generation plant. (ref)

Image:SolarChimneyManzanaresFromAirDusk 300.jpg

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Image:Solar Chimney prototype 300.jpg

Solar Tres, Spain

  • Solar Tres Projec - The Solar Tres consortium of Spanish, French, Czech Republic and US companies is promoting the 15-MW plant project with a large solar multiple of 3. The project, which has received a subsidy of 5 million Euro from the EC, makes use of the Solar Two technology tested in Barstow (California), but will be approximately three times the size. Solar Tres will make use of several advances in the molten salt technology since Solar Two was designed and built.

Commercial Planning

Australian Solar Tower

The following is older information

There is a proposal to build a solar plant in Australia that will be nearly 400m high and cover several kilometers. At its base is a solar collector — a 25,000-acre, transparent circular skirt comprised of a bulk of conventional greenhouse plastic, polycarbonate sheting and double glass for the interior. The air under the collector is heated by the sun and funneled up the chimney by convection — hot air rises. As it rises, the air accelerates to 70km/h, driving 32 wind turbines inside the tower, which generate electricity much like conventional wind farms. Electricity prices in the hot Australian summer are driven by airconditioning demand. This technology can sell electricity to the grid at premium prices during those conditions.

May 06: The project has been delayed by the withdrawal of the construction contractor from the deal. It has now been scaled down from 200MW to 50MW, from 1km high to 400m high, and is attempting to secure an arrangement with an alternate contractor, as well as additional government funding. See the official site at for latest updates.



In the News

  • Solar > EnviroMission Tower >
    Big solar tower coming to Arizona - An ambitious solar energy project on a massive scale is about to get underway in the Arizona desert. EnviroMission is undergoing land acquisition and site-specific engineering to build its first full-scale solar tower, 800-plus meter (2625 ft) tall (2x Empire State Bldg.). Its 200-megawatt power generation capacity will reliably feed the grid with enough power for 150,000 US homes. (Changing Power and GizMag (Video); July 21, 2011)
  • Top 100: Solar > Enviromission >
    EnviroMission Plans Massive Solar Updraft Towers for Arizona - Australia-based EnviroMission Ltd plans to build two solar updraft towers in La Paz County, Arizona. Each plant would consist of a 2,400 foot chimney over a greenhouse measuring four square miles in this $750 million, 200 megawatt project." (Inhabitat; Jan. 6, 2009)
  • Huge Solar Chimney in Outback (video) - How can you generate power for thousands of Australian homes from the middle of the outback? A new project wants to use a tower filled with hot air to do just that... (; Dec. 15, 2005)


  • Solar Chimney for California? - Concept design to have solar chimney cover a large greenhouse which covers several square miles. The rising hot air would be used to generate electricity. (Alt Eng News; Nov. 18, 2004)

Overview Sites

Related Sites


The EnviroMission Limited head office and Registered office is located at:

Ground Floor
3 Raglan Street
South Melbourne, Victoria 3205

P: +61 3 9693 5666; fax: +61 3 9699 7566

Also in the U.S.
2999 N. 44th St., Suite 145
Phoenix, AZ, 85018
phone: 602-910-6740


See Discussion page

Related Technologies

  • Solar Updraft Towers: Variations and Research - Solar Updraft towers, also called solar wind or solar chimney plants, provide a very simple method for renewable electricity generation, with a constant and reliable output. (Renewable Energy World; Oct. 7, 2008)
  • Floating Solar Chimney - A variant of the concrete solar tower concept. The floating chimney is a light-weight structure made of a set of lifting balloon rings filled with a lighter than the air gas. Result is projected to be cost-competitive with grid electricity generation.
  • MSC Power - The MSC Solar Pyramid Power Plant has continuous 24/7 generation of electricity by hot air rising through a wind turbine, by a gas turbine and from solar panels. Glass walls transmit solar energy heating a solar absorber, causing warm air to rise through the turbine. An underground water reservoir is used to store daytime solar heat energy, which is extracted for night time power generation.
  • Solar Pyramids being built in India - Singapore-based MSC Power Corp is building its first "solar pyramid" in India. The structure works by drawing in air, heating it with solar energy, and then moving it through turbines to generate electricity. (TreeHugger; Mar. 17, 2006)
  • Bi-Directional Energy Tower - Passive solar collection exploiting the differences between air temperature and a large underground "heat sink". The system uses the idea of a solar tower, but causes the convection to occur in both directions depending on the ambient air temperature relative to the sub-terrain. The system generates electricity in both the heat transfer and the air convection created by the air temperature change.

See also





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