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A New Concept for a Thermal Air Power Tube Used With Concentrated Solar Energy Power Generation in Open-Pit Mines and Large Natural Geo-Physical Phenomenon

[+] Author Affiliations
Francis A. Di Bella, Jonathan Gwiazda

Northeastern University, Boston, MA

Paper No. IJPGC2003-40071, pp. 881-889; 9 pages
  • International Joint Power Generation Conference collocated with TurboExpo 2003
  • 2003 International Joint Power Generation Conference
  • Atlanta, Georgia, USA, June 16–19, 2003
  • Conference Sponsors: Power Division
  • ISBN: 0-7918-3692-4 | eISBN: 0-7918-3677-0
  • Copyright © 2003 by ASME


This paper reviews a novel power generation system that improves the overall efficiency of concentrated solar energy systems while also providing for the cost effective reclamation and utilization of a man-made geo-physical phenomenon: decommissioned, open pit mines. A preliminary feasibility will be presented of an integrated system consisting of a concentrated solar energy powered Rankine Cycle system and the authors’ novel (patent pending) energy recovery system that consists of a thermally induced, pneumatic (wind turbine) power tube system (Pneumatic Power Tube) that is designed with reflective surfaces for concentrating solar energy. The proposed system is unique in the field of power generation using renewable/natural resources while also providing a solution to the reclamation and utilization of depleted open pit mines. The paper presents a parametric feasibility study of the proposed system installed for a range of “small” and “large” open-pit mines, such as the Palabora copper open pit mine located in South Africa. Using state-of-the-art specifications for power generation from concentrated solar energy systems based on D.O.E. supported research, a average size integrated installations could generate approx. 700–750 Mwe with 12–18 Mwe contributed by the new Pneumatic Power Pit Tubes. The enhancements include a unique design for a pneumatic power tube that combines the functions of solar collector/reflector with a hot air “chimney” air diffuser and wind power generation. A schematic of the proposed integrated system is also provided. The paper also presents a summary of the major technical benefits of the proposed system including the synergisms between the proposed renewable energy system and the application of DOE’s microwave power generation and transmission as well as the societal benefits of reclaiming land areas that are otherwise not suitable for habitation. Suggestions will also be made as to the application of authors’ pneumatic wind turbine power tubes to other large, naturally occurring geo-physical phenomenon.

Copyright © 2003 by ASME



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