A power company plans to build a 1,000m-high (3,280ft) solar tower in the outback of Australia that would dwarf the world's tallest structures. The tower, as wide as a football pitch and set in the centre of a glass dish 4 miles across, would cost A$1bn (£350m) to build as part of a global drive to use more renewable energy.
If completed as planned in 2006, the tower in New South Wales would be more than twice the height of the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, which stand at 452m. Currently, the tallest free-standing structure is the Canadian National Tower in Toronto, at 553m.
The project is backed by the government. The company behind it, EnviroMission, hopes the 200MW solar tower will provide enough power to supply 200,000 homes a year.
The sun heats air under the glass and as the hot air rises an updraft is created in the tower that allows air to be sucked through 32 turbines, which generate power. Roger Davey, chief executive officer of EnviroMission, said: "Initially people told me 'you're a dreamer'. But now we have got to the point where it's not if it can be built, but when."
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