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The Future of Solar Energy

What's 3,280 feet tall, resembles a chimney, has a base of 25,000 acres of glass containment, and can power a city the size of LA? The new EnviroMission solar tower. Being constructed in Australia (to be completed in 2010), this enormous energy plant uses a revolutionary form of solar power to create electricity. As the sun warms the glass around the base, the air beneath it warms to 65 degrees Celsius. This air is then funneled up the 1-km tall tube, reaching speeds of 35 mph. This fast moving air turns 32 wind turbines that power generators to create over 200 megawatts of power: enough for 200,000 homes.

Positive traits amount without a sign of any negative ones (besides maybe the $500 million to $750 million construction costs). One plus is that, after construction, the plant will create virtually free energy. Another plus is that a power plant of the same size would create 830,000 tons of pollutants. The only emissions from this baby? Hot air. A lot of hot air.

Wondering about nighttime power? Solar cells accompanying the air beneath the glass skirt absorb energy throughout the day. At night, these cells release their heat into the air so that nearly the same amount of electricity made during the day can be created at night.

For more information, see http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,1282,66694,00.html and the EnviroMission webpage: www.enviromission.com