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06. Safe fragrances
05. DNA mass information store
04. Garden mounds for permaculture
03. Silver as high-tech material
02. Micro needle transmits medications and light
01. Electricity storage in gravity systems

12. An eye on space hazards
11. Water purification through freezing
10. Solar shingles
09. Trinary code
08. Vegetation-based battery materials
07. Indoor position location
06. The interface industry
05. Hypersonic aircraft
04. Re-usable glass packaging
03. Vein patterns as personal ID
02. Magnet making bacteria
01. Ultra-light solids

12. Ultrasound in water
11. Projected touchscreen
10. Electric airplane
08. Glass hard disc
04. Nuclear hazard
03. Clearing “sewer soap”
02. Water harvesting
01. Tea bag size personal water filter

12. Human powered water transport
11. The Technium
08. Bio-remediation of oil spills
07. Cleaner coal
05. Oil spill remediation
04. Solar towers
03. Brain-computer
02. Biodiesel producing bacteria
01. Hydrogen producing bacteria

12. Levitating living organisms
11. A new blue
10. Polymer magnets
09. Electric vehicle batteries
08. Implantable cancer monitors
07. Algal biofuel
06. Geo-Thermal Heat Pump
05. Battery powered roadster
04. Fenestration
03. Text to voice
02. Implantable ID chips
01. Air cleansing building material

12. ebooks
11. Energy Harvesting
10. Private space-flights
09. Virus identification chip
08. Bio-fuels
07. Electronic financial trading
06. Bio-remediation
05. New tech agriculture
04. Manufactured Hotels
03. Magnetic Induction
02. Genetic Vaults
01. Solid-state lighting

12 Bacteria in agriculture and industry
11. Blue revolution
10. Electronic nose
09. Nuclear sarcophagus
08. Shape shifting technology
07. Thought activated technology
06. Green is cool - make me look green
05. Electronic 'drugs'
04. Super-canals and super-ships
03. Environmentally friendly technology: greens versus grays
02. Agriculture: food,fiber and fuel
01. FPGA floating-point performance surpasses microprocessor

08. Energy sources for electricity compete
07. Universal interface (UI)
06. Magnetic levitation
05. Light pipes
04. Storage of electricity
03. Automotive engines
02. Molecular assembly
01. Introducing Technoscan Newsbriefs

Vol. 5, No. 4. April 30, 2010
ISSN 1932-3018

Solar towers
Positioning this technology in the
Functionality Grid
Reformatted from: Van Wyk, Rias J: Technology - A Unifying Code, 2004, SMG, Cape Town, p.34. Based on: Ropohl, Gunter: Eine Systemtheorie der Technik, 1979, Carl Hanser Verlag, Munich and Vienna, p.178.
This Newsbrief deals with renewable energy sources in the generation of electricity. More particularly it focuses on the use of solar towers using concentrated solar power (CSP). In terms of the Atlas of Technological Megatrends it is concerned with the functionality of energy processing.
There are at least three kinds of solar tower. Those working with:
  • Generators driven by sun-heated steam
  • Turbines driven by super heated compressed air
  • Turbines driven by air updraft
This Newsbrief is concerned with the first category. This technology was brought to commercialization in Europe. The world’s largest facility, in Spain close to Seville, was opened in 2009. Named the P20 it is located right next to its forerunner the P10. The P20 generates 20 megawatts and powers 10,000 homes. The tower was built and is operated by Abengoa Solar.
The year 2009 also saw the first commercial solar tower in the USA. On August 5, 2009, the company ePower cut the ribbon on the Sierra Sun Tower. It has a capacity of 5 megawatts and powers 4000 homes. It is said to produce electricity at a cost of $0.10 per Kwh. This is said to be the lowest solar powered cost on earth.
In February 2010 the company Brightsource Energy announced that it had received a $1.3 billion loan guarantee from the US Administration to build a 400 megawatts power plant in the Mojave desert. The scale of the venture is important, it is said to surpass the output of all the photo-voltaic cells installed in the US in 2009. ("Growing pains", The Economist, April 17, 2010, pp. 69-70).
Technology explorers should anticipate the development of the other two kinds of towers mentioned above.

© Rias J. van Wyk, 2013. Editor.