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History of the SCT Concept

Descriptions of the precursor to the SCT:

The Updraft concept was originally proposed by Leonardo da Vinci in 1452 with the creation of "The Smoke Jack" (see Image 1). Leonardo proposed the idea in a sketch to minimise smoke caused by cooking. The rising smoke would move a centralised fan attached to a shaft, causing a gear and plate to rotate.

Solar Updraft Towers can be found as early as in 1903 in Spain. Isidoro Cabanyes proposed a solar chimney power plant in the magazine La energía eléctrica (see Image 2).

A Prototype Solar Updraft Tower operated in Manzanares, Spain, provided significant useful information in the design of SCTs. Funded by the German and Spanish governments in 1982 and built under the direction of German architect and engineer Jorg Schlaich in Manzanares, Spain (see image 3). It operated for eight years approximately until 1989, when the plant was decommissioned. This demonstration facility had a 50 kW capacity test generator. Its structure consisted on a 195-meters-high tower and a diameter of 10 metres with a collection area (greenhouse) of 46,000 m². This is about 0.5% as big as our SCT.

Overall, the Manzanares facility provided numerous sensitivity analysis for reliable predictive modelling of the SCT performance.

In 2000, Roger Davey acquired important technical data and a License Agreement for 16 countries including Australia, India, the USA and the middle East from Schlaich and his partner Bergermann and by 2017, the ‘Updraft’ had reconfigured to a ‘Cyclone’ allowing the extraction of water and an increased power generation capacity; these developments are wholly owned by Enviromission

The design has evolved to the shape we see now (see image 4), and the team has strengthened with contributions from London’s Imperial College, and numerous partners in the USA, Middle East and London.

Image 1. The Smoke Jack.

Image 2. Isidoro Cabanyes Solar Chimney concept. 


Image 3. Solar Updraft Tower prototype.

Image 4. EnviroMissions Solar Cyclone Tower conceptualisation.