Solar updraft tower (SUT) is a simple power plant in which ventilation of heated air inside a channel drives a turbine. This system is recognised as suitable for areas with abundant solar radiation. As a result, there is no extensive research on the performance of SUTs under mild solar radiation. Studies show that strong ambient crosswinds can affect the performance of a SUT. In this paper, the efficiency of SUTs in areas which benefit from strong winds, despite low solar radiation, is investigated through numerical modelling. Comparison is made between the efficiency of a commercial-scale SUT in Manzanares (Spain) with intensive solar radiation, and one of the same size potentially located in the windy and mild climate of Orkney Islands in Scotland. The results show that ambient crosswinds can increase internal air speed and efficiency of a SUT by more than 15% and 50%, respectively. Consequently, such a SUT in Orkney can offer more than 70% of the efficiency of the one in Manzanares. The results show that, for a given power capacity, a wind turbine enclosed in a SUT can be considered as an alternative to a number of conventional wind turbines installed at height in the open air.
JAFARIFAR, N., BEHZADI, M.M. and YAGHINI, M. 2019. The effect of strong ambient winds on the efficiency of solar updraft power towers: a numerical case study for Orkney. Renewable energy [online], 136, pages 937-944. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.renene.2019.01.058