January 28, 2003
by Canadian Architect
An Australian power company has announced plans to build a solar tower in the middle of the outback that will be the world’s tallest structure. Enviromission says the tower will be over 1,000 metres (3,300 feet) tall, almost double the height of Toronto’s CN Tower which, at 553 metres, is currently the world’s tallest free-standing structure.
The Australian tower, which could provide enough electricity for 200,000 homes, is being backed by the governments of Australia and New South Wales and is expected to be completed in 2006 in the remote Buronga district of New South Wales at a cost of about $1 billion Australian dollars ($860 million Canadian). The tower could result in savings of more than 700,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases that would otherwise be emitted by coal- or oil-fired power stations to generate the same amount of power.
The structure will have a width similar in size to a football field and will stand in the centre of a huge glass roof extending seven kilometres. The design is based on the principle that the sun will heat the air under the glass roof, creating an updraft in the tower that will draw air through 32 turbines, generating power 24 hours a day. The tower will be equipped with high intensity obstacle lights to prevent aircraft from crashing into it.