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Global Warming Could Power the Future

Updated on September 2, 2011

Solar Tower Technology

The Tower

Power for the future could rest with the invention of Solar Towers.

A solar tower is basically a large greenhouse surrounding the base of a tower. The air in the greenhouse heats up. As hot air rises, the hotter air is funneled into the chimney. As the air enters the chimney, it turns turbines generating power.

It combines solar energy and wind turbines, meaning it needs no fuel to produce the power. During daylight hours it provides power to a grid and also charges huge batteries that supply the grid during the night.

This solar tower technology would require minimal maintenance and a tower could last for decades.

Solar Tower

The Size

In order for these towers to produce usable amounts of electricity they will have to be big.

A size that is being considered is a greenhouse 7 km in diameter. As the effectiveness of the system is increased with the height of the tower, a height of 1000 m is being considered.

For better efficiency, hot climates are preferable for the building of the towers. Due to their size, low cost land is also preferable. This has led to several countries proposing to build these towers in desert areas.

Planned Towers

For Australia
For Australia
For Arizona
For Arizona


Spain built the first solar tower in 1982. As it was built for experimental purposes it was not very large. It did however operate until the tower was blown over in 1989.

The experimental tower supposedly blew down because metal guy ropes were used on the tower. These ropes, with time, rusted and eventually snapped.

Towers of various sizes are now either under construction or in the planning stages, in several countries: Spain, Mongolia, Botswana, Australia, Namibia, Turkey and the United States.

Possibly the most ambitious of these is the one in Namibia, which is to be 1.5 km high. The greenhouse would cover an area of 37 sq km, inside which cash crops can be grown.


Although these solar towers may be expensive to build, one estimate being $750 million, at current electricity prices it is considered that a tower would pay for itself within a few short years.

The idea for solar towers was first put forward in 1903, by Isidoro Cabanyes of the Spanish Army. Again in 1931 by a German author Hanns Gunther. Yet it was 1975 before the idea was taken seriously.

Is it co-incidental that as global warming increases, so does the efficiency of solar towers.


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    • profile image

      mib56789 6 years ago

      Hi rafken! This is out of my league. I'll leave global warming up to people who know and can do! Glad you published it though. I'll link back to it from one of my HUBs.

    • rafken profile image

      rafken 6 years ago from The worlds my oyster

      tsadjatko - I know global warming can happen naturally but I don't know if we are encouraging it or not. What I do know though is: we cannot continue to use up earths natural resources at these ever increasing rates. That would certainly lead to problems at some time in our future. Best we limit their uses as soon as possible, regardless of the effects on global warming, if any.

      Thanks for dropping by.

    • tsadjatko profile image

      TSAD 6 years ago from maybe (the guy or girl) next door

      Very informative hub my man!

      You mention global warming in your piece but no mention of the cause of global warming and skimming over your hubs I didn't notice a reference to cause - I hope you aren't one of those who despite "climategate" still hang onto the notion that global warming is a man made event. Evidence suggests Global warming and cooling has been going on since before man ever appeared on earth, but there is absolutely NO direct scientific evidence that global warming is a manmade event.

      On the other hand there is direct scientific evidence provided by CERN scientists (that's right the guys who built the Hadron Collider) not hack "climategate" types which just came out this week indicating that the sun and it's cosmic radiation causes global warming and cooling.

      However the scientific community has already moved to GAG the Cern scientists!

    • profile image

      Howard Schneider 6 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey

      We need many more of these solutions for our energy future. This is a great idea and I wish our government would fund it. Very informative Rafken.

    • PETER LUMETTA profile image

      PETER LUMETTA 6 years ago from KENAI, ALAKSA

      An excellent solution to nagging energy problem.