A 2,600-foot tower planned for the Arizona desert will be the world's second tallest structure and will be able to power 100,000 homes through hot air alone.
The solar updraft tower, designed by EnviroMission, will work by collecting hot air as it rises from the heated ground surrounding it. The very tall, narrow tower increases the strength of the hot air flowing upward, where it will turn 32 turbines along the way.
The tower will be able to produce 200 MW of electricity each day and, unlike solar power technologies, will be able to produce electricity at night too since heat from the ground will still be flowing upward and it will operate without the use of water.
This technology comes at a pretty steep price -- $750 million to build -- but since hot air is free, the operating costs going forward will be very minimal and the tower should last at least 80 years.
The tower will be made of concrete, which is a very carbon-heavy material, but the clean energy produced by the tower should cancel out the carbon emissions of making it within 2.5 years.