Scientists in Germany are turning on what is being described as ‘the world’s largest artificial sun.’
The massive honeycomb-like structure, known as the ‘Synlight’, uses 149 large spotlights typically employed in cinemas, to simulate sunlight.
The scientists will focus the enormous array of xenon short-arc lamps on a single 8/8 inch spot.
The scientists from the German Aerospace Centre hope that by doing so, they will be able to reproduce the equivalent of 10,000 times the solar radiation that would normally shine on a surface the same size.
“If you went in the room when it was switched on, you would burn directly,” said Professor Bernard Hoffschmidt, a research director at the DLR, where the experiment is sheltered in a protective radiation chamber.
The experiment consumes as much electricity in four hours as a four-person household would in a year.
The furnace-like conditions that will be created by this energy will reach up to 5,432 Fahrenheit (3,000 degrees Celsius.)
The German government is one of the world’s biggest investors in renewable energy.
The scientists will attempt to find ways of tapping the vast amount of energy that hits the earth in the form of light from the sun.
One of the primary areas of research will be on how to produce hydrogen efficiently. This will be the first step towards creating artificial fuel for airplanes.
According to Professor Hoffschimdt, billions of tons of hydrogen would be needed to drive airplanes and cars on CO2-free fuel.
Hydrogen is considered a promising future source of fuel. This is because it does not produce carbon emissions, therefore not contributing to global warming.