Researchers from Al Hussein Technical University in Jordan and Qatar University have unveiled a groundbreaking design for a “twin technology solar system” (TTSS) that could revolutionize clean energy production. The TTSS combines two tower-style technologies, a solar updraft tower, and a cooling downdraft tower, into a single, integrated structure.

The solar updraft tower utilizes the principle of hot air rising to generate energy. The air is heated at ground level under a large roof made from greenhouse-type material, creating an updraft that turns turbines in a tall tower. The cooling downdraft tower, on the other hand, forces air downwards by spraying a fine mist of water into the ambient air at the top of the tower, making it cooler and heavier.

The TTSS design ingeniously places an updraft tower in the middle, surrounded by 10 downdraft towers running around the outside. This allows the system to operate in both updraft and downdraft modes simultaneously, promising more than twice the energy production of standard solar updraft towers.

In simulation testing of a 200-meter-tall TTSS tower with a 13.6-meter diameter, the research team estimated an annual energy generation of approximately 753 megawatt-hours. The external downdraft towers could deliver about 400 megawatt-hours continuously, while the updraft tower, operating more efficiently under the hot sun, contributes around 350 megawatt-hours.

The potential of the twin technology solar system (TTSS) extends far beyond its current experimental stage, particularly in shaping the energy landscape of cities in the future. As urban areas strive for sustainability and a reduced reliance on conventional energy sources, the TTSS stands out as a versatile solution that could seamlessly integrate into the cityscape. 

The TTSS’s ability to operate in both updraft and downdraft modes makes it adaptable to various environmental conditions, making it a promising candidate for hot, dry desert cities. While challenges such as water availability need to be addressed, the TTSS represents a significant stride toward a greener and more sustainable urban future, where cities can meet their energy needs with efficiency and environmental responsibility.