No Such Thing as a Free Reactor

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A kilometer-high Solar Tower lurched a little closer to reality:

The quest for a new form of green energy has taken a significant step with the purchase of a 25,000-acre sheep farm in the Australian outback. The huge alternative energy project isn't driven by manure, but by a 1-kilometer-high thermal power station called the Solar Tower.

I've only read a bit about these things, but it sounds pretty interesting, massive engineering and construction challenge aside. (What might not be possible with Frank Lloyd Wright's Mile High Skyscraper might be possible for, basically, a turbine-factory that produces energy on a level with some reactors.)

Seems to me this suffers from some of the same issues as wind farms. Namely, the amount of space they take up isn't conducive to having a bunch of them in every town. That said, the video by EnviroMission seems to envision new, 25000-acre spreads cropping up over Australia in a fashion not unlike the rabbit population.

Just one howler in the article, though:

Although expensive to build, solar towers "essentially produce energy for free," said Sherif [a University of Florida professor of mechanial and aerospace engineering].

Free, you say? That's setting aside, I'm assuming, the opportunity costs of using 25000 square acres for each one of these things that get built. Maybe that's not much in the Oz outback, but you try finding that much space around NYC or Chicago that developers won't scream bloody murder over losing access to...

1 Comment

Although expensive to buy, the steaks in my refrigerator essentially feed me for free.


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This page contains a single entry by published on February 24, 2005 11:52 AM.

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