Improving the Power Generation Performance of a Solar Tower Using Thermal Updraft Wind


The purpose of this study is to improve the efficiency of the power generation system of a solar tower using fluid dynamics. The power generation system of a solar tower can be designed and constructed at relatively low cost. However, the energy output tends to be low for its physical size compared with other renewable energy production systems. The technical and scientific improvement of these types of generation systems has lost its momentum since the shutdown of the wellknown Spanish pilot plant “Manzanares Solar Chimney” in 1989, although it still has the potential to play a role in renewable energy in the future. We have focused on the tower component of the system to seek possible enhancements of the power output of the internal turbine. As a result of our fluid dynamic shape optimization, a diffuser-shaped tower was employed to increase the internal flow speed of a scaled model. The results show a remarkable improvement in the power output of the internal wind turbine.

Share and Cite:

Motoyama, M. , Sugitani, K. , Ohya, Y. , Karasudani, T. , Nagai, T. and Okada, S. (2014) Improving the Power Generation Performance of a Solar Tower Using Thermal Updraft Wind. Energy and Power Engineering, 6, 362-370. doi: 10.4236/epe.2014.611031.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] Schlaich, J. (1996) The Solar Chimney. Axel Menges, Germany.
[2] Haaf, W., Friedrich, K., Mayr, G. and Schlaich, J. (1983) Solar Chimneys—Part I: Principle and Construction of the Pilot Plant in Manzanares. International Journal of Solar Energy, 2, 3-20.
[3] Haaf, W. (1984) Solar Chimneys—Part II: Preliminary Test Results from the Manzanares Pilot Plant. International Journal of Solar Energy, 2, 141-161.
[4] Schlaich, J., Bergermann, R., Schiel, W. and Weinrebe, G. (2005) Design of Commercial Solar Updraft Tower Systems—Utilization of Solar Induced Convective Flows for Power Generation. Journal of Solar Energy Engineering, 127, 117-124.
[5] Altman, T., Carmel, Y., Guetta, R., Zaslavsky, D. and Doytsher, Y. (2005) Assessment of an “Energy Tower” Potential in Australia Using a Mathematical Model and GIS. Solar Energy, 78, 799-808.
[6] Omer, E., Guetta, R., Ioslovich, I. and Gutman, P.O. (2008) Optimal Design of an “Energy Tower” Power Plant. IEEE Transactions on Energy Conversion, 23, 215-225.
[7] Gannon, A.J. and von Backström, T.W. (2000) Solar Chimney Cycle Analysis with System Loss and Solar Collector Performance. Journal of Solar Energy Engineering, 122, 133-137.
[8] Koonsrisuk, A. and Chitsomboon, T. (2007) Dynamic Similarity in Solar Chimney Modeling. Solar Energy, 81, 1439-1446.
[9] Okada, S., Ohya, Y., Uchida, T. and Karasudani, T. (2006) Wind Convergence Performance Evaluation of VTWCONVS. Proceedings of 19th Wind Engineering Symposium, Tokyo, 29 November 2006, 145-150. (in Japanese)
[10] Okada, S., Ohya, Y., Uchida, T. and Karasudani, T. (2006) Convergence of Wind Using VT-WCONVS (Vertical Type Wind Convergence Structure). Proceedings of Renewable Energy, Yokohama, 2006.
[11] Ohya, Y. and Uchida, T. (2008) Laboratory and Numerical Studies of the Atmospheric Stable Boundary Layers. Journal of Wind Engineering and Industrial Aerodynamics, 96, 2150-2160.
[12] Kim, J. and Moin, P. (1985) Application of a Fractional-Step Method to Incompressible Navier-Stokes Equations. Journal of Computational Physics, 59, 308-323.
[13] Kawamura, T., Takami, H. and Kuwahara, K. (1986) Computation of High Reynolds Number Flow around a Circular Cylinder with Surface Roughness. Fluid Dynamics Research, 1, 145-162.
[14] Kajishima, T. (1994) Upstream-Shifted Interpolation Method for Numerical Simulation of Incompressible Flows. Transactions of the Japan Society of Mechanical Engineers B, 60, 3319-3326. (in Japanese)
[15] Manwell, J., Mcgowan, J. and Rogers, A. (2009) Wind Energy Explained. Wiley, New York.

Copyright © 2023 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.