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Flower Power: 115-Foot Solar Tulip Powers 35 Homes

Israeli-based AORA has finished constructing its second tulip-shaped solar tower, utilizing an innovative design that is both efficient and environmentally friendly. Using 50 large sun-tracking mirrors located at the tower's base, the tulip harnesses the power of the sun by reflecting light into the 115-foot high tower. By concentrating the sun's rays into the center of the tulip, the air is heated to over 1800 degrees Fahrenheit.

As the air inside the tulip is heated, it gets forced through a combustion chamber where it powers a turbine generator and creates electricity. This method relies on air as the medium for transferring heat, a greener alternative to the salt or oil used in other solar tower projects. When the night comes however, the system switches over to an external fuel supply in order to continue operating.

The newer plant which opened in Spain is capable of producing a hundred kilowatts of electricity, which is enough to power 35-40 homes. Although both the Spain tower and the original Kibbutz tower are both considered prototypes, the company hopes to create scalable versions that can power a large variety of communities in need of alternative power solutions.


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