Alternative Energy

Alternative Energy

Alternative energy news, and information about renewable energy technologies.

Oct 20

The Solar Flower Tower

Posted in Energy Industry | Future Technology | Solar Power

Solar Flower Tower On the odd chance that you were traveling through South Israel in late June, you may have had to do a double take thinking that your eyes had deceived you. In the distance, it may have appeared as though a giant flower had sprouted right out of the desert floor. That was no dessert mirage, but it was the future of solar power. The Solar Flower Tower is one of the latest inventions in our never ending search to make alternative energy sources more viable.

The Solar Flower Tower is a product of AORA Solar and was designed by a very forward thinking architect named Haim Dotan. Companies continue to look for ways to make solar energy more efficient and his Solar Flower Tower is the latest in innovative designs that maximizes the solar energy captured at a solar station. As the world continues its quest to integrate renewable energy into our daily energy usage, you can expect to see a lot more of these solar powered flower fields.

The Solar Flower Tower is currently placed in a field of 30 solar tracking mirrors and gathers the sunlight that is reflected directly off of them to the top of this 30 foot structure. What appears to be the bulb of the Solar Flower Tower is actually a solar receiver that has a 100kw gas turbine inside of it. As the suns energy is captured by the receiver, it raises the temperature of the internal air to over 1,000 degrees Celsius and powers the gas turbine. The turbine then generates electricity that is immediately transported to the local power grid for use.

While the Solar Flower Tower is colorful and unique, it is proving to be a huge step forward in making solar power readily available and cost efficient. This monstrous flower is constructed of recycled materials (green energy created from green materials) and can be constructed in just a few days. The idea is to expand the station and gradually add a variety of Solar Flower Towers that are different colors. Instead of having an eyesore in the middle of the dessert, we will have what will appear to be a colorful field of flowers from afar. Instead of pollen, these flowers are creating electricity!

  • Phillip Greene

    It would be interesting to have a little more information as to precisely how the “Flower Tower” works. Is the solar heat simply providing the ignition source for the gas turbine? A little more info please.

  • yo no se

    Good question Phillip, agree with you.

  • Derrick Windsor

    The Solar Tower makes use of the difference in Air temperature at ground level and at a height of 0.5km to 1km above ground. The air at ground level is further heated by a glass hothouse surrounding the base of the tower with a diameter of 3 – 5 kms. The hot air rushes to go up the tower and turns turbines located at the bottom of the tower. Salt on the ground soaks up additional heat which is released after sunset to extend the working period of the heat source.

    Works best in a country like Australia with a huge desert area not too far out of the cities, but the one project on trial has been canned by the government chickening out on the funding – as usual with politicians, all talk, no action!

  • Jos Conil

    Yes I second Mr. Phillip’s request. More info is needed. The info from the website is also very sketchy. We have read about many heliostat based concentrated solar power towers generating power by heated air, steam, gas etc.

    What is unique about this system? How is it cost effective and how can it be constructed so fast as they claim? More details please.

  • Elliot Harkavy

    This is very cool! Any idea how this compares to other Concentrated Solar Power technologies? What is the efficiency? It appears to take a lot of land for just 100kw. I was expecting 1-2 MW for that type of setup, if it were getting the same 30% as some of the other technologies.

  • Andres Morrison

    I agree with Elliot there; it’s cool and all, but comparatively it falls short of other similar technologies. It also talks about a gas turbine… so which is it – solar or natural gas?

  • LaFee Verte

    I love these new innovations that maximize the output of solar panels, so much energy and heat is wasted using just panels alone.

  • Adrian Louw

    Concentrating solar power with a sterling engine seems way to go. Sterling Energy Systems CA, is about to go commercial I think. Combine this with wind energy generation and you cover the nights!

  • Jamal Demnati

    All these alternatives are good, but simplicity and flexibility are the keys for future alternative energy… so I prefer that each house to use solar panels or wind turbine for his home. No need for high coast big projects, then huge cost for distribution, let people be Energy Independent and free…

  • Sonia Lynch

    I agree with Jamal but solar panels are very expensive for most people and requires a back up generator and batteries etc.

  • Thomas De Buck

    Why don’t people see the benefits of geo-thermal power, I simply do not understand.

  • Annette Boulanger

    I saw solar powered street lights in St. Louis!

  • Marian Yordanov

    Hello Phillipe,

    This one works as the solar heat from the mirrors is focused in one point, where the temperature is getting few hundred degrees(there are also another examples like in France where the T in the gathering point is few thousands for material endurance test etc.) according to the plant needs, which is heating water until it becomes a dry steam, that makes the generator turn. This model works in every power plant in use today no mater of the technique that heats the water(natural gas, coal/fuel oil, nuclear fuel). Here is something that displays the process – . You can always ask google about it and search info in Those guys are doing great thing there. I would donate to them if I had some spare money and time.

  • John

    If you do a search, they have a brochure on the site that provides a bit more detail. Basically, they have a hybrid system that uses solar to super-heat air, which runs a micro-turbine. This micro-turbine powers a generator, which provides electricity to the grid. When solar is unavailable, there is the option to use other fuels to power the same gas-turbine, which again runs the generator for electricity.

    In addition to the solar, they have waste heat that isn’t used up in making electricity, which is available as a heat-source for the location where it is installed.

    They say the system is modular, and occupies only about 1/2 an acre, enabling direct connection to a grid.

    I wouldn’t want this in a residential area as I think the micro-turbine would be pretty loud.

    It looks like the ‘flower bulb’ at the top of the tower is nothing more than a housing for the micro-turbine and place to do maintenance. They show a picture of a guy beside it in the tower in their brochure.

    Wonder if it would be beneficial to have the solar arrays pointing to a refocusing beam and then down to a ground-station instead of having the pod up in the sky? I think it might reduce some of the construction costs.

  • James

    Israel has been a pioneer in the solar thermal field – it was the first country to produce a solar thermal building code. In Europe, Germany currently leads the way but there is enormous potential for a country like the UK to catch up. SolarUK and other solar thermal installers are experiencing ever increasing levels of interest from homeowners who see solar hot water as a cost effective alternative in the face of rising oil and electricity prices.

  • Brian

    This is similar to some of the concepts that are being developed in the US. Most likely the heat is being used to power a stirling generator. Look it up! Heat expands the gas ( helium or hydrogen ) and causes the piston to move. There is a company in the US that has a similar concept but it is with a big dish concentrating the heat from the sun to the stirling generator set in the middle at total concentration.

  • Subject X

    it is a gas turbine with eternal heat source. instead of adding heat to the air inside the combustion space the heat is CONDUCTED to the pressurized air before the turbine/expander. to increase process efficiency the air may be cooled BEFORE the compressor.

  • John

    One might hope it is an ‘eternal’ heat source, but I think you rather meant to say ‘external’. Regardless, for all practical purposes it will be there awhile, and we should indeed take advantage of it. Also, yes, it is a turbine, and not a stirling engine (brochure seems to say so if I recall correctly).

  • Perah

    I think it’s unique and very original rather than strange technology. Kudos to the people behind that one of a kind technology

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