paper-plane envelope home office pencil quill pen image images camera play bullhorn connection mic file-text2 file-picture file-music file-play file-video copy folder folder-open folder-plus folder-minus folder-download folder-upload price-tag price-tags ticket phone envelop pushpin location compass map map2 clock alarm fax mobile bubble bubbles user users user-plus user-minus user-check quotes-left quotes-right search pie-chart stats-dots stats-bars airplane cloud-download cloud-upload earth link flag eye eye-blocked arrow-up-left arrow-up arrow-up-right arrow-right arrow-down-right arrow-down arrow-down-left arrow-left2 share amazon google-plus google-drive facebook instagram twitter rss youtube flickr dropbox linkedin file-pdf file-openoffice file-word file-excel

Mechanical Engineering Group Design Projects
UCL Mechanical Engineering


Solar Updraft Power Plant

Solar Updraft Power Plant

Solar Updraft Power Plant team

Solar Updraft Power Plant team

Team Members

  • Mohammad Dabboussi
  • Sahamat Haque
  • Ahmad Gharaibeh
  • Tanvir Ahmed
  • Adil Iqbal


Dr Paul Fromme

The Project

Have a look at the poster for the project

A Solar Updraft Power Plant (SUPP) is a renewable energy generation system which utilises solar energy to generate electricity. It consists of a collector, a power conversion unit (PCU) and a solar chimney (SC). The underlying working principle relies on the air beneath the greenhouse-like glass collector heating up from the thermal energy provided by the sun. Due to the buoyancy effect, hot air under the collector flows towards the centre and up the solar chimney through the PCU turbines, generating electricity.

This project explores the potential to improve the performance and associated cost efficiency of SUPP technology. A laboratory scale prototype was designed, built, and tested. Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and mathematical modelling were validated from experimental results. The potential for scaling up of the technology for commercial use was investigated from financial and power output predictions.

The Design

The developed prototype has a solar collector to trap heat like a greenhouse and a chimney for the heated air to rise through. Heating panels were used to simulate the heat provided by the sun. Realistic temperature increase under the collector and air velocity through the chimney were achieved. Improvements to the design based on simulation results (optimisation methods) showed an increased air velocity and hence power output of the system.

Back to top