A ‘made in Germany’ project, called Synlight
On March 27th 2017, German scientists switched on the world’s largest artificial sun, a structure designed to emulate sunlight. Constructed by the German Aerospace Center (DLR), ‘Synlight’ will be used for various research projects. The three-storey electrically-powered sun lamp will concentrate its light onto a single point, vaporizing water and producing hydrogen and oxygen. The scientists will investigate the possibility that hydrogen fuel (for airplanes and cars) –whose production requires large amounts of energy, usually coming from burning fossil fuels- could be produced using sunlight. This has already been accomplished in the laboratory, but has yet to be scaled up to industrial levels.
The device -that costed a total of €3.5 million (US $3.77 million)- is located in Jülich, North Rhine-Westphalia and works like a backwards parabolic reflector. Its 149 7-kW xenon short-arc lamps are capable of delivering 11 MW/m2, and can be adjusted to focus on a single spot measuring 20 x 20 cm (8 x 8 in). Trials take place in three different test chambers, of which two are exposed to 220 kW of solar radiant power and the third to 280 kW. At maximum setting, the device can deliver 320 kW, or 10,000 times the normal solar radiation experienced on Earth's surface, and temperatures of up to 3,000° C (5,400° F).
"Synlight fills a gap in the qualification of solar thermal components and processes", says Dr Kai Wieghardt. "The scale of the new artificial Sun is between laboratory systems like DLR's high-performance lamps in Cologne and the large-scale technical facilities such as the solar tower here in Jülich."
Source: New Atlas
The Synlight artificial Sun is made of 149 7-kW arc lights(Credit: DLR)
Cross section of Synlight(Credit: DLR)