3,280-Foot Inflatable Solar Chimney Would Power Remote Areas
Per Lindstrand, an aeronautical engineer and founder of hot air balloon manufacturer Lindstrand Balloons, has outlined plans for a 3,280-foot inflatable solar chimney that would harvest energy from the sun, and deliver power to remote locations.
Lindstrand is best known for taking a trip across the Pacific Ocean in a balloon with Richard Branson in 1991. His company, Lindstrand Technologies, produces inflatable structures, as well as lighter-than-air vehicles, such as blimps and aerostats.
When inflated, the tower would be twice the height of the Empire State Building, and more than 500 feet taller than Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building.
The chimney’s collected energy would run turbines, providing power to remote areas where more traditional sources of power are limited, Lindstrand explained to The Engineer.
The technology would be especially useful to areas prone to earthquakes, where power lines are difficult to maintain.
Similar concrete chimneys already exist, but an inflatable version would be much cheaper. Lindstrand told The Engineer that the chimney would cost about $20 million. A similarly sized concrete chimney would cost about $750 million.
However, the chimney’s development is still in its early stages. Lindstrand Technologies is working on an 11-foot test model, which can float and sit on water, while it awaits funding. The team is also planning a 65-foot test chimney, engineers told the BBC.
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