Solar Updraft Tower Pilot Plant Manzanares

A Solar Updraft Tower converts solar radiation (direct and diffuse) into electricity by combining three well-known principles: the greenhouse effect, the tower and wind turbines in a novel way. Hot air is produced by the sun under a large glass roof. This flows to a tower in the middle of the roof and is drawn upwards. This updraft drives turbines installed at the base of the tower and these produce electricity.
A 50 kWel prototype was built in Manzanares. It was planned to use it for a period of three years. The prototype produced electricity for seven years, thus proving the efficiency and the reliability of this new kind of solar power generating system.
Tall Solar Updraft Towers could produce 100 or 200 MW each and power production cost may go down below 0.07 €/kWh.

Concentrating Solar Power,
Manzanares, Spain
Maurer Söhne, München; Balcke-Dürr, Ratingen; Siemens Interatom, Bergisch Gladbach
funded by: Bundesministerium für Forschung und Technologie, Bonn


Technical Data

Tower height
194 m
Tower diameter
10 m
Collector diameter
approx. 244 m
Collector area
40,000 m² membrane,
6,000 m² glass
Collector height
approx. 1.80 m
Collector weight
5.5 kg/m² (without glass)
Tower weight
125 t


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