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Wind and sun combined for alternative energy

fpa-wind1.jpgA German engineer has come up with innovative technology that combines solar and wind power generation in a single unit.
/~Alternative Energy SA represents the technology in Africa and plans to build a demonstration Hemisphere Power Generation unit by mid-2009 on the west coast of South Africa, and a manufacturing unit in Gauteng province.
The technology consists of a wind generator of concave hemispheres, made of a composite material to give them a crystal transparency. The transparency allows for the coating of the inside of the hemisphere with a thin solar film. The technology is applicable to small-scale supply in case of power outages as well as to large-scale windfarms.
”Home” power stations have battery blocks to store electricity in case of wind-calm, overcast days. The stations work noiselessly, even at extreme wind velocities. The units are compact, ready for installation and transportable.
The units can be built in 64 variants as foundation, rooftop or mobile systems, with capacities from 12kWh/day to 650kWh/day.
The smallest home power station would cost around $24,000, says Peter Grossman, general manager of Alternative Energy.
Large-scale power generation is achieved from hemisphere tower plants. Towers can be up to 250 metres high, thus harnessing the higher and more constant wind velocities  at greater heights. Tower hemispheres are coated on both sides with solar film, increasing the output by a further 3.5MW per hemisphere.
A 18MW tower plant can replace at least 60 typical rotor plants of 1.5MW, at equal power output, according to Grossman. The hemisphere plant needs about 4ha of land, compared to the 750ha that 60 rotors would need, he claims.
The investment needed to install one hemisphere tower is a fifth of that required for the 60 rotors, and the same ratio applies to the power production costs.
The ultimate in grid-independence is a wind-sun tower with attached hydrogen-storage and fuel cell plant.
The energy created by the hemisphere tower is utilised to split water into oxygen and hydrogen with electrolyte acid. The hydrogen is stored in pressure tanks and from there it is supplied to fuel cells to generate power in periods of wind-calm.
The hemisphere technology has been subjected to extensive tests on numerous different models over a six-year period in Spain, and it has been patented, according to Grossman.
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