The solar updraft tower system being utilised by Hyperion Energy is proven technology.
In the 1980s, a prototype solar updraft tower was built and operated for eight years in Manzanares, 150km south of the Spanish capital of Madrid.
Built to a smaller scale as an experimental model, the chimney had a height of 195 metres and a diameter of 10 metres. The collection area (or greenhouse) measured 46,000 square metres , with a diameter of 244 metres. This enabled the project to deliver a maximum power output of approximately 50 kW.
The solar tower was built under the direction of a German engineer, Jörg Schlaich, who – along with his partner Rudolf Bergermann – jointly founded Schlaich Bergermann, the German engineering firm which has developed the technology being utilised by Hyperion Energy.
Following the Spanish trial, Stellenbosch University in South Africa undertook an independent assessment of the prototype to verify the potential of the technology when applied on a larger scale.