If we heat air along a pipe that's tilted at 30° to the horizontal using parabolic troughs, the air should rise upwards (I'm not sure how fast or powerfully) and then connect the outlet at the top into a Tesla turbine, shouldn't it generate power?

Please explain the heat engine concepts here, because in my understanding, there SHOULDN'T be a need for an air pump (to pump air in the CSP piping) as the hot air rising up will inevitably create low pressure and cooler air will replace it from under. And there SHOULDN'T be a need for a cooling fluid as the hot air should just exit from the Tesla turbine, giving up (if not 90% efficiently) it's kinetic energy to the turbine?

Is there something I misunderstand? Also correct me about such: as write this, I am starting to believe the air will not exit from the turbine at all and a "suck back" effect will happen at the bottom, i.e. the hot air will build up pressure and exit from the bottom, destroying my whole idea.


1 Answer 1


You are proposing a turbine powered by the kinetic energy content of air being acted on by buoyant forces. Because air is not very dense, buoyant forces caused by temperature differences are quite small and the kinetic energy content of a column of rising hot air is quite small as well. The amount of that actually captured by a turbine would be smaller still- probably not enough to spin the turbine disc against the friction in its bearings.


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