Design of a Small – Scale Solar Chimney for Sustainable Power

EPA Grant Number: SU833917
Title: Design of a Small – Scale Solar Chimney for Sustainable Power
Investigators: Tebbe, Patrick
Current Investigators: Tebbe, Patrick , Moaveni, Saeed
Institution: Minnesota State University - Mankato
EPA Project Officer: Nolt-Helms, Cynthia
Phase: I
Project Period: August 21, 2008 through April 30, 2009
Project Amount: $10,000
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet (2008) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development , P3 Challenge Area - Energy , P3 Awards , Sustainability


Access to energy sources is a major limitation in many areas of the world. This is particularly true for developing economies which have limited resources to devote to traditional power generation. This project proposes to design and test a small-scale solar chimney for use as a renewable energy source. The project seeks to minimize the initial cost through better design while creating a system with little to no long term cost (i.e. the power source is free, renewable, and maintenance is minimal).


Traditionally designed for large-scale power production, this project will examine various manufacturing and component alternatives to produce a smaller, cheaper, version of a solar chimney which can be employed for low power applications with potential for large quality of life impacts. The technical challenge can be described as creating a balance between manufacturing method, power output, cost, and application of the generated power. The engineering design will focus on use of cheap readily available materials and locally feasible manufacturing methods. Collaborations will be undertaken between the local students and students in Ghana. A collaborative design process will be used. Evaluation of local feasibility in Ghana will be facilitated by input from the Ghana students and faculty advisor in Ghana. Overall evaluation will also include cost and energy conversion studies. Design of the solar chimney will be undertaken locally as the student’s undergraduate senior projects.

Expected Results:

The project will provide a modest but very useful power source which could supply power to low wattage lights, charge electronics such as laptops, or power refrigerators for preserving medicines and vaccines.

Supplemental Keywords:

solar energy, renewable energy,

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final Report