Techno-Economic and Environmental Implications of Electricity Generation from Solar Updraft Chimney Power Plant in Meekatharra in Western Australia
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A decentralised diesel power plant (DDPP) provides the electricity needs to Meekatharra, a remote Western Australia community. It consumes 476,000 l of diesel per annum, resulting in environmental and economic challenges which are due to the long transportation distances. A solar chimney power plant (SCPP) has been suggested to complement the diesel power plant, thereby reducing the reliance on diesel fuel to meet the electricity demand. An SCPP is a system that utilises a combination of hot air and a central updraft chimney to generate a convective flow to drive turbines to generate electricity. The solar radiation potential in Meekatharra is high (24 MJ/m2), which allows solar energy technology to be employed for power generation. The technical design for Meekatharra SCPP has been based on the performance of Curtin’s small solar chimney. A life cycle assessment has been applied to assess the economic and environmental implications of supplementing the DDPP with the SCPP. Finally, this paper endeavours to detail the long-term sustainability benefits for Meekatharra resulting from the implementation of an SCPP
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