Frequently Asked Questions
The following questions and their answers can clarify adequatly the benefits and the primary characteristics of the “FSC Technology” and their respective power plants (“SAEPPs”).
1. Do the proper materials for the construction of the Floating Solar Chimney (FSC) exist in the market?
The necessary materials for the FSC’s construction are already in use in various applications as follows:
- The fabrics for the FSC’s lifting tubes are already used in airship, balloon or outdoor tent industry. Very strong fabrics, reinforced with composite fibbers, for the FSC’s supporting tubes are already used in the construction of many inflated structures with higher overpressures, in sailing etc.
- The attaching or connecting very strong ropes for the FSC’s structure, made of aramid yarn is in use for many years in many applications.
- Hence the necessary materials for the FSCs are in the market, at reasonable prices, and can be properly combined by experienced manufacturers or contractors in similar works.
2. Are the “SAEPs” endangered by earthquakes or strong winds?
- Seismic activity has no effect on the FSC that by design is a lighter than air free standing in upright position structure due to its buoyancy, with the ability to float in the air following the external winds.
- External very strong winds can not harm the structure because of its patented ability to deflect and to incline remaining attached to its special base, receiving the appropriate angle of equilibrium on the wind’s direction.
- The structure made of a plurality of successive and dynamically independent parts, attached separately on its inclining base, can accommodate also the wind’s variation with altitude.
- Hence the integrity of the FSCs is secured under any adverse conditions.
3. Are the “SAEPs” easily maintained?
- Repair and maintenance (replacement of tubes for example) can be carried out locally by the skilled personnel, lowering the structure by partial deflation. In this case the lifting gas should be stored temporarily in appropriate existing storage vessels, in order to be used for the re-inflation of the structure.
- The maintenance of the transparent roof of the solar collector and of the rest equipment of the SAEPPs, is easy due to their proximity to the ground.
- Thus the maintenance or repair of the SAEPs is a relative easy procedure. The appropriate maintenance specifications should be defined during the first model construction.
4. Can one or more “SAEPs” replace the conventional fuel consuming power plans for electricity production?
- The optimum range of Power rating for the”SAEPs” under the current status of material technology is 1 MW÷4MW.
- For the appropriate places of installation these “SAEPs” can produce annually electrical energy 4.0GWh÷16GWh i.e. ~4000 MWh per their rated MW.
- Due to ground thermal storage and possible support by artificial thermal storage the “SAEPs” can operate 24 h/ per day 365days/per year following the daily average solar irradiation. Their daily power production profile is very close to the usual demand profile.
- The only renewable Power Plant, having similar behaviour to FSC Power Plant, is the Hydro Electric Power Plant. Their similarity is far deeper. That is why FSC Power Plants were named Solar Aero Electric Power Plants (“SAEPs”).
- By this description it is evident that “SAEPs” are large electricity generating units, producing a guaranteed Electric Power profile year round, thus they can replace the conventional Power Plants (using coal, oil, gas or nuclear fuels).
5.What is the direct production cost per KWh from the "SAEPs" ?
- A SAEP with a Power rating of 3 MW should have, according to rough estimations, a construction cost of 5 millions USD , depending on the labour and material prices at the place of its installation. This SAEP will produce ~12 GWh/year.
- The SAEP’s operating and maintenance cost will be ranging 1.5-2.0 cents/ produced Kwh.
- The direct production cost calculations are not including any grants on the investment, or any other form of income arising by the greenhouse agriculture inside the solar collector etc.
- Estimating the SAEP’s depreciation period to 30 years and for reasonable financial assumptions (land lease, interest rate etc.) the direct production cost of MWh will be 60-70 USD.
6. Where are the appropriate places where the “SAEPs” perform efficiently?
The appropriate places for FSC’s Technology Power Stations installation should have the following characteristics:
- High annual solar irradiation on horizontal surface (>1650 KWh/m2)
- Low average annual winds (<5 m/sec)
- Limited strong winds (<25m/sec)
- No snow, hail or sand storms.
Between the geographical latitudes 20o÷45o (in north and south hemispheres) can be found plenty of appropriate places for large scale “FSC Technology” application.
With the 3% of existing desert areas on Earth and 1% efficient SAEPPs we can produce 50% of the world electricity demand up to 2050.
7. What are the major advantages of the “FSC technology” in comparison to the rest electricity generating technologies?
The major advantages of this technology in comparison to conventional base load fuel consuming electricity Power Plants (coal, gas, nuclear) are:
- Zero fuel cost and zero CO2 emissions
- Almost the same direct production cost of KWh
- However the FSC technology is superior to conventional base load fuel consuming electricity generating technologies due to the fact that is a renewable technology demanding no water.
The major advantages of this technology in comparison to wind Turbines are:
- Almost the same construction and maintenance cost per produced KWh
- Almost the same direct production cost per produced KWh
- However the FSC technology is superior to wind turbine technology due to its uninterrupted 24 hours/day operation with an almost guaranteed power production profile for all the year
The major advantages of this technology in comparison to other solar electricity Power Plants (Photo-Voltaic, Solar concentrating) are:
- Much lower construction cost per produced KWh
- Much lower direct production cost per produced KWh
- No water demand
- 24 h/day operation with a guaranteed power production profile year round
- Thus FSC technology is far superior of the rest solar technologies