With global warming accelerating and fossil fuels expected to run out in decades, the hunt is on for alternative energy sources.
Professor Dan Zaslavsky from the Technion in Haifa has come up with a solution – the Energy Tower – which will not only reduce the costs of energy from our pockets but from our planet as well.
“It’s a radically simple idea. We could easily produce between 15 to 20 times the total electricity the world uses today,” he says.
Standing 1,000 yards tall and 400 across, Zaslavsky’s tower takes advantage of convection, the natural principle that warm air rises and cool air sinks. Placed in a hot dry place, with access to water, the tower sucks in hot air traveling above it and water lining the tower cools the hot air as it gets pulled down. (Cool air picks up speed as it goes down).
When this air reaches the bottom of the tower it is traveling at such a speed that it can power turbines at the tower’s base and create electricity. The water that comes out is cool and humid.
This design isn’t only capable of creating electricity it can do much more. With simple alterations Zaslavsky explains: “We can produce cheap desalinated water, we can irrigate the desert, we can produce bio-fuel, we can boost aquaculture.” It’s not surprising that the country, which made its deserts bloom, developed this idea.
Estimates predict that Zaslavsky’s looming tower could create electricity at 2.5 cents per kilowatt-hour, less than a third of the cost of electricity in Israel today.
We could put these towers in driest regions of the world. Sure it would mean figuring out how to get the water there, but because the process desalinates we don’t have to waste precious drinking water and the towers emit humid air instead of greenhouse gasses. In fact, it could drastically transform barren deserts to habitable places.
Cynical reports suggest that these towers are not practical because: “The technology requires a hot and arid climate, and at the same time access to large amounts of water… Most of these regions are remote and thinly populated, and would require power to be transported over long distances to where it is needed.”
They are overseeing the fact that it would make these places habitable.