Solar Updraft Towers

The Sand Buildings Are Coming 

I have been dreaming about solar updraft towers 3D printed from sand in the desert for a while and I am very excited to see the concept progress, see Sand Babel at the bottom of this page.

A Quick Intro To Solar Updraft Towers 

A solar updraft tower is chimney with a greenhouse skirt and a central turbine. As the sun heats the air under the skirt it rises up the chimney and turns the turbine. This process will happen as long as there is a temperature difference between ground level and the top of the chimney. The taller the chimney the better it works. see the image below taken from Wikipedia


Solar updraft towers are being taken very seriously with some major projects under way One of the most promising and ambitious being Enviromission’s 1km high tower concept. Its also worth checking out the videos below of a large scale test and Enviromission’s concept tower.


 3D Printing In Construction 

There are already a number of excellent examples of 3D printing in construction with the likes of Contour Crafting and WinSun making excellent progress with concrete. The 3D print canal house is gathering momentum as FDM machines are getting bigger and quicker like at Sanya Industrial Innovation Design Center. I also have my own concepts for working with larger scale versions of the 3Doodler like Material and you can see that in my post 3Doodler but bigger.

Any of these 3D printing methods, or even conventional construction techniques could ultimately be used to build a solar updraft tower but all require additional materials to be brought to the construction site. If the best place to have a solar updraft tower is in the desert then wouldn’t it be great if we could build these towers mainly from sand. Take a look at Markus Kayser’s Solar Sinter machine and then think bigger… Perhaps use a small solar panel farm to power a lazer rather than a lens…

I envisage large, automated, solar powered machines left in the desert to churn away. A variety of specialised machines to process the sand, build the structure and cover with glass.

Evolo 2014 Skyscraper Competition Winners

I am not the only person dreaming about building with sand, the Sand Bable concept is truly amazing and very well envisaged. Sand Babel is a solar-powered 3D printed skyscraper built from desert sand by Chinese designers Qiu Song, Kang Pengfei, Bai Ying, Ren Nuoya, Guo Shen. Its well worth a look at their concept in detail Go to Evolo and see SAND BABEL

Sand Babel

Please follow me on twitter @MattBisHere For this and other stuff

I have a little more on solar updraft tower concepts on my Original Page MattBdreaming that I have yet to bring into my WordPress site.




2 thoughts on “Solar Updraft Towers

  1. Pingback: 3Doodler Dog | MattBdreaming

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