Solar wind downdraft tower

Solar Wind Energy Tower’s patented hybrid solar-wind structure design combines the benefits of solar and wind energy to create a means of power generation with a tiny footprint. Resembling a cooling tower, the structure uses downdraft to drive the ring of turbines around its base.

Its designers claim that water injected near the top of the tower as a fine mist evaporates in the sun, creating cooler, denser air that falls down inside the structure, creating a downdraft of up to 50mph. This drives the turbines at the bottom to produce electricity.

The first test site has been chosen in the city of San Luis, Arizona, where it is hoped that the 600-acre site will produce up to 4,380,000MWh per year.

Water from the wind

Eole Water’s WMS1000 wind turbine is capable of producing up to 1,000l of safe drinking water every day. Its spinning blades produce up to 30kW of energy, some of which is used to drive a large condenser that extracts moisture from ambient humidity. This is then purified and distributed, all without requiring any connection to the electricity grid.

Designed for use in remote areas with poor access to utilities, the WMS1000 could be a boon for areas without readily available freshwater, and to which extending the electricity grid would be prohibitively expensive.

Airborne wind turbine

Designed to make use of the higher, more consistent, wind speeds at altitude, the BAT (buoyant airborne turbine) from Altaeros Energies uses a doughnut-shaped helium balloon containing a wind turbine. Soon to be installed high above the Alaskan city of Fairbanks, the Alaska Energy Authority awarded Altaeros a $1.3 million grant to test the design for 18 months.

Operating at up to 600 metres, the BAT can generate twice as much energy as a similarly sized turbine at ground level, improving its cost efficiency. This highly mobile system also saves on the costs of transportation and installation associated with conventional, tower-fixed devices, its manufacturer claims.